BADGER is unwell.
Readers, Badger is sick.

To be sure, Badger has had a stinking cold that has now migrated to his chest and ended up as the sort of lurgi needing treatment with strong antibiotics.
But that is what it is.

No, readers, Badger feels sick for another reason.

The sickness has two causes: Badger’s belief that Simon Hart is a fundamentally decent man whose values have been eroded by his exposure to a ministerial salary has been confirmed. Secondly, Badger is sick at himself for supposing that the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire is more than a political cushion who bears the impression of the last arse who sat on him.

Simon Hart, or as he shall henceforth be known in this column, “shart”, has a jellyfish’s political spine. His fate is to expire stranded on a beach when the blue political water which buoys him recedes, as it must. At the mercy of the wind and tide, shart gets blown hither, thither, and yon without ever becoming fixed to anything.

During shart’s ministerial career, Badger has often supposed him to be Labour’s best recruiting sergeant in Wales. Indeed, there are times when Badger believed shart was a sleeper agent placed in the Conservative Party by Ernst Stavros Drakeford.

That might still be the case, but recent comments by one half of Pembrokeshire’s Conservative Party version of Pete’ n’ Dud revealed something deeply revolting – nay, sickening – about him.

When the Prime Minister repeatedly, and at length, denied any involvement in Downing Street parties, shart gave the PM his support. He looked forward – in turn – to Sue Gray’s report and the subsequent Metropolitan Police investigation.

Of course, shart opined, the fuss was all “froth”. What ordinary people were concerned about were bread and butter issues:

“levelling up”
The cost of living
Energy prices
Exciting new international trade deals with the People’s Republic of Rockall
And he was sure the PM remained as committed to tackling these problems as he was that the PM would stand by December 2019’s manifesto commitment to lowering taxes, building 40 new hospitals, and retaining the existing energy cap. Put briefly; shart chose to believe all the lies that wouldn’t fit on the side of a bus.

Readers, that’s politics. It’s not nice politics. It’s not Jeremy Corbyn promising jam today, jam tomorrow, and jam for the foreseeable future as long as we follow the politics of yesterday.
But all government is a compromise; ask Adam Price how much an individual will trade for even the illusion of power.

Shart, however, is a different case. Indeed, rather like his newly-minted name, he’s neither one thing nor the other.

Here is what shameless shart had to say about the PM and Chancellor’s fine for breaking lockdown rules:

“Having struggled to see family in hospital as the virus spread, I know how hard this period has been. That said, the breaches have now been appropriately dealt with and I will continue to give the PM & Chancellor my full support to deal with the extraordinary challenges we face.”

Note three things, please, readers. He appeals to your sympathies by telling you he knows how hard lockdown proved.

Poor shart! He’s one of us! He knows our pain!

He then continues that the PM & Chancellor have his “full support” despite lying to Parliament and the nation. Here, then, is a man without honour serving the dishonourable.
Badger will return to the scale of that line’s offensiveness with an illustration from shart’s subsequent words on the subject.

Finally, shart refers to “the extraordinary challenges we face.” Let’s start with Putin’s War in Ukraine as one of those challenges: Britain is not at war. The direction of Britain’s support for Ukraine would remain the same – or even expand – after a leadership contest. Moreover, the appeal to history’s authority is not definitive. Britain changed its PM during the Great War and Second World War.

The Conservative Party has been in power since 2010. That’s twelve years, in case shart’s forgotten. The economic choices and policies that litter the last decade are entirely Conservative policies and choices. Shart supported them no matter who led his party and how contradictory they’ve been.

The above leads us to shart’s justification for being a shart.
On Twitter, where shart prefers to twatter, someone challenged him on his position.
From the remarks’ content, it’s someone who knew shart when he was still Simon Hart, a human being.

They said: “One after the other, you debase yourselves and the parliament you serve.”
Shart’s reply couldn’t have been worse-expressed.

The skidmark on history’s white y-fronts replied: “Thanks [], but team loyalty matters. I learnt that from you….”

Now, readers, Badger contends there’s a measure of precisely the sort of person shart is and it’s underlined by the reply.

“Simon, this is not a sport. It’s not a game.”
Loyalty to the team trumps right and wrong, readers. Remember that. It’s the excuse of drug gang members and film Mafiosi who maintain the code of omerta no matter how vile and degraded the crime.

In terms, shart says, “Don’t blame the playa, playa, blame the game.”
Right, wrong; up, down; moral, immoral; truth, lies: none of them matter.
What matters is loyalty to the team.

It’s like having a “home” umpire cheat for you because of “team loyalty”. Badger knows Cresselly Cricket Club wouldn’t bear that behaviour by one of its members.
But Badger wants to draw attention to something else about shart’s reply to his Twitter correspondent.

It’s not his fault, readers. Shart was, he claims, taught all about team loyalty by the person who pulls him up. He insults the person who dares to contradict him and emphasises it with an ellipsis (i.e. …) to highlight his sarcasm.

The casual reader can reasonably infer that shart tries to tar his interlocutor with the same big brush he’s applied to himself.

It doesn’t work.

It makes matters even worse.

Shart’s words trivialise something fundamental: it was one rule for them and one rule for us during the pandemic. That’s the definition of “privilege”, readers.

His words also do something worse: they normalise lying and criminality in government.
“Never mind if Boris rampages through Whitehall with a machete. He’s on our team. He’s a sound chap.”

Such is his belief in Conservative values that shart may as well have curled one out on Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square.

It was the right honourable, dishonourable thing to do for the team.
And shart is the ultimate team player.