‘The head of an experiment that appeared to show subatomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light has resigned from his post’.
Are we surprised that Professor Antonio Ereditato has fallen on his collider on this issue? Not really. He has single-handedly set back the plan by Mario Monti to persuade sovereign debt investors that Italians know WTF they’re doing. In another age, he would’ve been hung upside down from a Milanese garage forecourt, and all his mistresses shot.
But resignations are rare things these days. Ever since Nixon resisted it until the very last chance he had to bag immunity in the early 1970s, it has become increasingly difficult to get proven pillocks to resign. Let me illustrate by example.
George Osborne continues to reside at No 11 Downing Street. He set out as UK Chancellor to reduce the UK’s debt by the end of this Parliament, and wipe out the annual deficit along the way. Nobody forced him to suggest he would achieve such an unlikely outcome: on the contrary, throughout the May 2010 General Election, he so often freely volunteered the promise to do so, the Shadow Chancellor resembled a Speak Your Weight machine – a Dalek determined to insist that his will would prevail: “I will exterminate the debt I will exterminate the debt exterminate exterminate exterminate”.
Last week, Little Osborne delivered a Budget whose opening admission (given the content) was that he would not achieve those ends. But not only did the Draper not resign, he didn’t even have the common decency to admit that he’d failed. Well, I ask you: wasn’t that, once upon a time in Blighty, a situation demanding a service revolver pointed squarely at the temple?
During the New Labour era, a standard not-resignation speech developed. It always began, “While it would be my instinct to resign, I feel that, as this [global pandemic/slaughter of the firstborn/avoidable train disaster/declaration of war on China] happened on my watch, it is my duty to see it through”. Note that this bollocks never closed with the phrase “and then I shall resign”. Which was incrediby truthful really, because they never ever did. Over the years, I watched in amazement as Patricia Hewitt squandered 20% of the NHS budget, Gordon Brown presided over the first major runs on banks for over 150 years, Peter Mandelson sat atop a disgraceful influence scandal at Business, and Tessa Jowell mislaid both the Olympic Budget and her husband. Every last one of the buggers had to be eased out or voted out: none of them did the decent thing.
Before he made his entirely disreputable promise to deliver the UK from its millstone of debt, George Osborne had brokered a meeting between David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch, encouraged Dave’s relationship with Rebekah Brooks, and firmly recommended Andy Coulson for the job as the Leader’s press secretary. Yet Ozzie is still there next door to the Prime Minister he landed in the mire. Very few ordinary electors understand the profundity of George’s incompetent guilt…but George does. Do we see any sign of Osborne putting the asp to his own throat? We do not.
I was comprehensively tickled to read the utter bollocks put out by Tory Treasurer Peter Cruddas last weekend: “I blustered a bit, but having given the wrong impression, I must do the decent thing and sign this resignation letter I’ve just been handed.” But really, the bloke’s double-thickness brass neck sums up what all these gargoyles are about: an addiction to Gravy Now, and a fervent desire that it should never end.
Il professore Antonio Ereditato himself managed to wait two weeks before leaving the sinecure that had allowed him to claim a spurious superiority over the great Albert Einstein. So I suppose the only thing left for me to wonder about is, what might God resign about?
He (or She) – if such should exist – is far from blameless. The Black Death. Tetra packs. The Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Al Q’eida. Lawyers. George W Bush. Hitler. Belgium. Simon Cowell. Krakatoa and Vesuvius. Zips. We could spend 1,001 Arabian Nights going down the list.
Part of me thinks God resigned after the Holocaust – albeit under the duress of public opinion. But most of me thinks there is no God. There is, however, a cold intelligence watching everything we do: of that, I am certain. And I think that intelligence has marked the cards of all those who refuse to resign.