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    Wanted: PR folk to help with fallout from cake ambushes and online erotica

    Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

    First of all, huge congratulations to Dutch politician Tiny Kox, who has been elected president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe despite turning down my kind offer to be his campaign manager and run with the slogan “The rise of Tiny Kox!”

    There is, of course, no shortage of campaign managers and PR folk, and also a surfeit of politicians who really need them. Take Boris Johnson and his cronies, who have continued to put the party in Tory Party and have to deal with almost daily reports of lockdown-breaking bashes.

    Things reached a ludicrous peak when Johnson ally Conor Burns was wheeled out/forced at gunpoint to defend the prime minister on Channel 4 News and said that a 2020 birthday gathering for Johnson while the country was in lockdown wasn’t a party at all and the PM was instead “ambushed with a cake.” Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on someone smashing a Black Forest gâteau into Burns’ visage within the week.

    Another Johnson acolyte, Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries, said the whole thing was blown out of proportion and people simply stopped working “for ten minutes to sing happy birthday.” Remember when we were told to wash our hands for as long as it takes to sing the happy birthday song twice to ward off coronavirus? Imagine how many times you could sing that song in 10 minutes (or how clean your hands would be!)?

    Things are so bad that the police are now investigating whether lockdown-busting bashes were held in No. 10 Downing Street in breach of COVID-19 rules. That’s the Metropolitan Police led by Cressida Dick, of course.

    Yes, that’s Tiny Kox, Johnson and Dick, all slang expressions for male genitalia — or the world’s most ridiculed law firm.

    And for those hoping that the tone of this article can only improve from here on in, bad news. That’s thanks to the Italian Senate, which held an online discussion that was briefly interrupted by animated pornography in what may have been the most embarrassing sex-based online meeting since New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin decided to, er, knock out a column during a work Zoom call.

    An unidentified person was able to log into a meeting of the upper house of the Italian parliament — which rather awkwardly featured Nobel Prize-winning physicist Giorgio Parisi as a guest — and started playing an erotic game featuring the characters of the popular video-game series “Final Fantasy”.

    I know what you’re thinking but no, Silvio Berlusconi is not a serving member of the Senate.

    CAPTION COMPETITION

    “5, 4, 3. 2. 1…”

    Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

    Last week we gave you this photo:

    Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).

    “Seriously guys! We were 25 minutes in before anyone realized Putin sent us a freaking wax figure?” by Guus Evers.

    Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.



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