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Nadine Dorries has sacrificed herself The Plot will destroy what remains of her reputation

(Photo by Ben Birchall/AFP/Getty)

(Photo by Ben Birchall/AFP/Getty)


November 10, 2023   4 mins

Nadine Dorries is a romance novelist, and The Plot is a romantic novel though it pretends it isn’t. Her novels specialise in the miseries of working-class Liverpudlians, among whom she grew up, and she is more wracked than any of them because she has discovered a plot against Boris Johnson. Sometimes her heroines die for love: she throws herself on a pyre for him.

Dorries was MP for Mid Bedfordshire for 18 years, rising to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under Johnson. She was the ultimate loyalist and when he fell, her grief was real.

She presents herself as an ingénue — Tinkerbell with a Range Rover at the age of 66. When invited to the Wolseley restaurant, she frets that she will not understand the menu. Perhaps she thinks this makes her sound relatable. But nothing could. While she simpers and flirts with older politicians, there’s another perhaps truer side to Dorries: a raging one. When a journalist enquired about employing her daughter during the expenses scandal, she threatened to nail his balls to the floor using his own front teeth.

The Plot reads like a Facebook conspiracy theory: the Tory Party has a parasite within. It is called “the Movement” and it consists of Dominic Cummings, Michael Gove, Lee Cain, Dougie Smith from Central Office and someone called “Dr No” that a lawyer wouldn’t let her name. The movement is connected to CCHQ and the Spectator magazine: some of them came from the Confederation of Conservative Students and wanted to kill Nelson Mandela; some of them went to Fever sex parties. They destroyed Boris Johnson by surrounding him with traitors and leaking against him. The Movement wanted to keep us in the EU by taking us out of the EU. I don’t follow either, but she insists it is true.

Dorries’s prose is deranged for a former Secretary of State. She says the Movement is like an elephant, but it is also like a mouse. They eat rats. (I think this is a metaphor.) She believes in “small state, big people” and talks to portraits of dead politicians: “Was it different in your day, Walpole?” He doesn’t reply. Croissants smile up at her and villains step out of fantasy fiction. Dominic Cummings is the Dark Lord, but he is also Sauron. Both have eyes, she notes carefully, in what may be the oddest paragraph. Even Cummings would admit to that.

One part is heartfelt, though: her portrait of Boris Johnson. She is so clearly in love with him, there is almost nothing left to say, except it’s piteous. She visits him, marvels at him, flatters him, and she wrote this junk to place at his feet. She is awed by him: or, rather, by her invention of him — she paints him as credulous, sweet-natured, a saint. She says Johnson’s flaw is thinking too well of people. Perhaps that is true. If he thinks well of them, they might think well of him. If he forgives them, they might forgive him.

He is the hero, a man just out of reach. “Never be bitter,” is his advice to her, “no good will ever come from it.” Since they cannot make love, she admires his bookshelf (some ancient Greek, a Robert Harris novel) and repeats rumours about Michael Gove to him. She is attracted, above all, by his gilded class: Dorries loves private clubs and servants; cucumber water and roaring fires. She interviews Iain Duncan Smith, who calls Gove: “The poor boy on a wet night in the cold outside looking through the brightly lit window into an opulent room with shining tableware and a roaring fire at this exotic, privileged life.” Gove, c’est moi. No wonder she loathes him.

When Gove and Johnson were at Oxford, Gove hung around, “like a love-sick school-boy just waiting to be in the company of Boris”.  She tells Johnson, “He was hanging around for you. That he was bedazzled by you because you were what he could never be, as he was with Cameron, only you were first.” To his credit, Johnson merely says, as anyone would: “Really?”

There is no politics in this book because Dorries is, at heart, a bad artist, all (self) sensibility and no skill: I think that is why she is drawn to Johnson, who is the same. She lost the whip in 2013 for appearing in I’m a Celebrity, the house of masochism. Her most intense political position is: the No. 10 coffee was poor.

Her constituents knew it. She left parliament after Johnson’s attempt to give her a peerage was ruined: for a time, Mid Beds had no functioning MP. When I went there to cover the by-election, I heard no good word about her. She didn’t live in the constituency; she employed family members. Mid Beds must have disappointed her, and it was mutual: it went Labour.

But now she has this, a glutinous piece of self-deception that tells a kind of truth: the Tory Party is riven with dreams, hatred, and, above all, thwarted sex. She is like the protagonist in The Little Stranger, who, seeking the murderer in the mirror, fails to recognise her own reflection. She doesn’t accept that Johnson had no judgment; that he isn’t an epoch-defining genius (Robert Harris novels?); that she is as addicted to intrigue as anyone; that they are both symptoms of that same decay. “He had zero remorse or self-awareness. Zero regret,” she says of Cummings. It’s projection.

The Plot has one real aim, I think, and it is cynical and daring: it makes Boris Johnson look serious enough to be prime minister again. Placed beside Dorries, who wouldn’t? Perhaps that was the plot all along: the redemption of Boris with Dorries as ecstatic suicide in his service. She knows this book will destroy the remains of her reputation. I suspect she revels in it. Romance fiction has triumphed over reality: Gotterdammerung.


Tanya Gold is a freelance journalist.

TanyaGold1

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Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
5 months ago

Like all the other posters here I haven’t read the book. However, Mrs U is halfway through it. She says it is well-written (and Mrs U should know, as an English teacher), although a bit novelistic in style.
I’ve always found Tanya Gold’s pieces rather snide and this is no exception. Could she be jealous that Nad’s has sold far more books than she has?
Whatever. Although Boris made it easy for them, it’s undeniable there was a slow-running coup against him. He was not the choice of the majority of the parliamentary party (as with Truss) and they got him in the end (as with Truss, who could have survived the mini-budget had her MPs wanted her to). The first Partygate photo of him with Carrie and Cummings on the No 10 terrace was taken from No 11. The Ready4Rishi web domain was registered many months before there was any sniff of a leadership election. It’s just a coincidence that the reporter who seemed to get almost all of the long, steady trickle of Partygate leaks, ITV’s Paul Brand, is married to a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office.
After yesterday’s Today appearance, Nick Robinson had to admit that his story about the gold wallpaper in No 11 had come from Jeremy Hunt … but there never was any gold wallpaper in No 11. Rt Hon Nadine Dorries on X:
Is Rishi enjoying life I wonder? I’m surprised he hasn’t already called an election so he can swan off to California with Akshata and resume his normal life. The Tory Party is currently ungovernable and Rishi has shown no sign he’s capable of governing the country either.

Tyler Durden
TD
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

Nadine has cashed in on the feeling amongst UK conservatives (or ‘real Tories’) that:
-there is a uniparty in the UK parliament that wants state borrowing, taxation and spending to align with European requirements to join the euro
-a liberal social orthodoxy reigns in the Conservative Party as much as in the civil service, the law, media and education sector
-the British constitution is woefully inadequate to cope with governance nowadays, the recent patterns of Tory national leadership being a case in point.

Tom K
Tom K
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

The Uniparty bit may be largely true – this is about as un-conservative a bunch of pretend Conservatives as we’ve ever had – but Dorres the Dimwit is an unlikely champion.
After all she supported Fataturk, king of the fake Tories, who was in office for three years and had almost nothing conservative to show for it.
Instead, he gave us a shed-load of lefty nonsense, including bucketloads of green cr*p, record taxes, record immigration, the war on the motorist, etc etc – oh and having ‘won’ Brexit by lying that he had ‘fixed’ the issues with Northern Ireland, which he hadn’t of course, he did his best to do precisely nothing with it, disappointing all of us wh voted for it.
Dorres is a symptom of the very malaise she moans about – ineffectual, flouncy, talentless, all mouth and no trousers.

steve hughes
steve hughes
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

Spot on

jasper pike
jasper pike
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

all fur and no knickers please

j watson
JW
j watson
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Cashed in on ‘woe is me’, ‘we’re not to blame for making such a hash of things’, ‘there must be someone we can find to blame-ism’ – total ‘snowflake’ stuff in any other contact.
The ‘Born to Rules’…’Born to Whinge’ more like.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

What? Delusional. And the requirements to join the Euro are quite conservative. They’re just very weakly enforced. No idea what this means. Britain is a liberal country. We have a good claim to have invented it.Yes but the rest of what you’re saying makes me worried about what your solution would be. An illiberal constitution? A conservative constitution? Constitutions are usually designed to impose a liberal orthodoxy!

Last edited 5 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Neil Ross
Neil Ross
5 months ago

Interesting that the writer fails to mention that there clearly was a campaign to remove Boris Johnson with the Partygate allegations carefully prepared for drip-feed release over many months. Who leaked the photos and stories? This was followed by the coordinated resignations of Government Ministers after the leadership confidence vote failed to remove him. Like every storyteller Dorries has exaggerated reality, but built upon a firm foundation. Did Johnson really believe the hairdryer up the nose theory or did Cummings give a vague enough version for the media to leap on and exaggerate in turn? There are many storytellers in today’s media.
It is all turning out so well for those who removed him!

Jonathan Nash
JN
Jonathan Nash
5 months ago

I do wish Tanya Gold would get off the fence and tell us what she really thinks about Dorries and her book.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
5 months ago

Didnt the Times review her claims and find there was truth in all of them? The reporter was obviously surprised.

Cris Porper
CP
Cris Porper
5 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Allow yourself to relax by relieving your worries with the help of pay for research paper service at https://paperwriter.com/pay-for-research-paper. The service has affordable prices and also they are very fast in their work. You will come across only original texts that will be free from any plagiarism. Enjoy this excellent service, which will help you in your studies many more times! The high ratings of the service and many positive reviews will give you confidence in what you are doing!

Peter Hall
Peter Hall
5 months ago

A typically snide and sneery article from TG. Project Squash is well underway. I have read the book and it presents evidence of very serious consequences political crimes which are worthy of serious investigation rather than dismissal. Unherd’s position as an independent auditor of our society is in doubt.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago

I’m sure it’s a rubbish book. But it surely can’t be as bad as one of Tanya’s achingly pretentious restaurant reviews. Can it?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

She’s obviously ‘got the hump’ to use a technical term, because the multi talented CHARLOTTE OWEN squeezed in to the House of Lords and she didn’t.
What a mockery of the self-styled ‘ mother of Parliaments’.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago

I wonder what her talents were. Did it involve knee-pads?

Tom K
Tom K
5 months ago

Dorres was fine as the comedy turn but the mistake was giving her a proper job and expecting anything to come of it. This also gave her notions of grandeur, which are what did for her in the end. All in all, a bit pathetic.

JR Stoker
JS
JR Stoker
5 months ago

How on earth did she get selected for her parliamentary seat in the first place?

j watson
j watson
5 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Yet another example of the wisdom and good judgment of the Tory grass roots membership I think you’ll find.

JR Stoker
JS
JR Stoker
5 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Well, that’s the appealingly simple explanation but usually local associations are not bad at choosing good candidates. It would be genuinely interesting to know what went wrong here; it was some 20 years ago of course, so she has probably “changed”.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
5 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Bwa, bwa, bwa. Government really ought to be left to the people who know best, doncha know, auld chep?

Peter B
PB
Peter B
5 months ago

Thanks to the author for reading this and giving us advance warning so we don’t have to !

j watson
j watson
5 months ago

She’s pitiful. As was the apple of her eye, Bojo. They deserve one another.
But what she knows is some fools will lap up the conspiratorial nonsense. Ker-ching!

David Kerr
David Kerr
5 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The alt-right nuts who frequent the comments pages of The Spectator website will certainly be lapping it up…

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
5 months ago

.

Last edited 5 months ago by Graeme Archer
0 0
0 0
5 months ago

She loves him for what he does for her, not for who he is, without him she is irrelevant, thus she is nothing, everything she had came from him. She has no identity as a result. It’s all about psychological projection, Typical narcissistic behavior. Modern politicians and activists build their identities around causes, organizations and movements because they themselves have no sense of self-esteem or identity. Without those things their life becomes unbearable and too painful to exist.

Last edited 5 months ago by 0 0
mike otter
MO
mike otter
5 months ago

I massively admire Nad in a “joan of arc” sense but talk about taking a knife to a gun fight. She kept schtum when Bedford’s Muslims waved ” Go Nad!” banners oblivious to the Anglo meaning or the garry bushell link (Thanks Nadine, we love the Scouse sense of humor). Sure the UK civil service and public school nepo clowns need laid low, but reason and thoughtfulness are not the correct process for this. The IDF are showing the way and Nad & Co are a side show.The solution to a criminal state is either a Military one or mere anarchy. Looking at the current crop of Labor/Hamas/Trans /Queer nut jobs i think we (net UK taxpayers) don’t need to worry. These gilipollas have a very tiny blue line of overpaid over weight pigs as their muscle. They can hurt the young/old/frail but not those of us of fighting age. By my local estimates in the wealthy South these “pork product meatball” cops are outgunned by a massive margin: Slamfire 12 & 20 bores from the London postcode traphouses, printed .45s and M14s, for the more successful gangs and Valtions and KovRovs for the wealthy. Big joke here is the cops claimed they killed Mark Duggan because he was a ” Columbian Drug Dealer” or on the way to murder the same lol. These cowards need to pray to their heathen gods that they steer from humanity’s instincts and i can understand why they pick on the weak to assuage their guilt. Each of them should be forced to read Arendts’ “Eichmann in Jeruslem” before the trapdoor opens.

Last edited 5 months ago by mike otter
mike otter
MO
mike otter
5 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

Yeh unturd.. guilt corrected as “gilt” – says all you want to know. Hussain.

Naren Savani
NS
Naren Savani
5 months ago

The real Plot is that the people who did not want Johnson to ever return to power thought the best way to achieve this was to encourage Mad Nad to write this book. They have succeeded. With friends like these he doesn’t need enemies to undermine him.

David Kerr
David Kerr
5 months ago

Hilariously brilliant analysis of a deluded damsel.

William Edward Henry Appleby
WE
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago

An utter t*rd of an MP, finally flushed away. There are a few like her still clogging up the pipe. One of the last in a line of Johnson’s useful idiots.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
5 months ago

It’s one of the blackest marks against Johnson that he tolerated and promoted this maniac.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Worse than Cummings?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
5 months ago

Cummings has a brain. No evidence of that with Dorries

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Therefore ‘we’ must NOT mock the afflicted.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago

Interesting question (which I just happened to be pondering myself). I almost see a similarity between them – is that perverse?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

No.