The novel “The Plot” by Nadine Dorries is a shocking defense of Boris Johnson, according to a review.
Shortly after Boris Johnson’s landslide victory, his aides began planning to remove him from office. This is not a conspiracy theory, but a documented fact. In 2021, Dominic Cummings revealed in an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that he had started discussing ways to replace Johnson within days of the election. The recent Covid inquiry has revealed Cummings’ disrespectful WhatsApp messages and Nadine Dorries’ belief that he saw himself as the one in charge. It also uncovered instances of Cummings secretly texting colleagues during meetings, expressing frustration with Johnson’s actions. All of these details make it quite believable.
The author’s statement that Rishi Sunak’s carefully planned leadership campaign did not suddenly fall into place overnight is accurate. It is also true that there are individuals in Westminster who are sociopathic and enjoy manipulating others, and that some politicians become so engrossed in the game of politics that they forget it affects real people. The author’s disturbing account of how women who were raped by MPs were allegedly mistreated by Conservative whips aligns with other accounts of sexual assaults being covered up or used for political gain, which have already been made public. However, one hopes that these victims were warned before their stories were published without their names. Overall, the overall assessment seems to be correct. The author also makes astute observations about small details, such as newly-elected MPs being constantly anxious about Twitter or colleagues being more irritable post-Brexit. So why does this incredibly shocking book fail to feel authentic?
Perhaps it is the choice to name characters after infamous figures from the James Bond franchise – an unknown, non-elected Conservative strategist, who the author has gathered scandalous and defamatory tales about, is referred to as “Dr No”. Or it could be how Dorries, a woman who is much more astute than her critics give her credit for, portrays herself as a political novice in order to fit the narrative, wandering through Westminster asking naive questions as she tries to uncover the culprit behind Boris Johnson’s downfall. In the end, our amateur detective discovers it’s… Rebekah Vardy’s involvement! Just kidding – apparently it’s a clandestine group known as “the movement” made up of Cummings, Michael Gove, former spin doctor turned BBC executive Robbie Gibb, and other lesser-known party members who have been plotting to control the Conservative party’s fate for the past 25 years. However, this is where the story starts to lose credibility.
Although Iain Duncan Smith tells Dorries that some of these individuals were involved in his previous removal in the 00s, this was also true for half of the Conservative parliamentary party. To suggest that this group, which lacks a clear ideology, has been secretly controlling and manipulating Tory leaders without any specific reason or methods is akin to a conspiracy theory. It is attempting to impose structure on chaos. Furthermore, by continuously adding up numbers and coming to a false conclusion, Dorries risks reinforcing ideas of powerful, secretive elites controlling everything, alongside the belief that voting is pointless because the system is rigged. When someone then claims that the true plan was for Rishi Sunak to become leader, lose the election, allow Labour to reverse Brexit, and then win again, it becomes clear that everyone involved needs a break.
Although she is correct in recognizing the undemocratic nature of Cameron, May, Johnson, and Truss leaving their positions without input from voters, Dorries fails to acknowledge Johnson’s involvement in hindering the first two. Is the movement manipulating him as well? Is he possibly Dr No? This raises questions.
The book includes intriguing interviews with Johnson himself, interspersed with dramatic conversations between Dorries and unnamed sources who support her thesis. These sources often speak in a manner reminiscent of characters in a poorly written spy novel. One source, codenamed Moneypenny, particularly captivated my interest as Dorries implies that they may be a spy. While I have only met a few MI5 or MI6 agents over the years, none of them spoke in the manner described by Moneypenny. It is curious how Johnson managed to hire individuals who disliked him, and it would be interesting to know why they held such animosity towards him, if he truly was the person portrayed by Dorries. However, instead of a thorough explanation, we are given Moneypenny’s analysis that Johnson was too focused on fulfilling his manifesto promises to realize the plot against him. This suggests that Moneypenny may not have a successful career in intelligence.
Occasionally, there is a fleeting suggestion of what could have been: an intimate narrative, shared by someone who has never forgotten the experience of being an outsider. “You all believe it’s acceptable, that your own small realm holds more significance than any other world that others may be a part of, and then you question why the public despises MPs,” one informant rages against the deceitful tactics, and you realize; that’s the essence of the tale. But then it fades away into obscurity, disappearing without a trace.