OPINION - Big-Dog Bozza lets underlings take the fall — who’d have thought?

·4-min read
 (Natasha Pszenicki)
(Natasha Pszenicki)

So, what I want to know is, is “Big Dog” a long-standing nickname, or is this its inaugural outing? I refer to Operation Save Big Dog, aka the planned sacrifice of Downing Street officials implicated in “partygate” in the name of saving their boss, Boris Johnson, who is — oh yes, that is where this sentence is going — the aforementioned “Big Dog”. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a kennel we can send him to.

Who would have guessed that Boz would be the kind of boss who makes his underlings take the fall for him? Sorry, that was a rhetorical question. Anyone who’s ever heard of the Prime Minister in passing would be able to make an educated guess he would not preside over a hierarchy that preaches fairness and strong leadership — unless by strong leadership you mean “a strong sense that one should not be held accountable for anything”. It’s pretty hard to feel sorry for the partygate posse, although the only person it’s harder to feel less sorry for is Big Dog himself.

Undoubtedly, Boris is a rubbish boss. Sure, he’ll let you throw a party round his gaff but the first problem is he may attend it, the second, that you’ll probably get the sack later. He won’t be the type of boss whose “door is always open” — or if it is, it’s only because he’s left it open on his way out — and he doesn’t seem like someone very invested in your “personal development”, unless that means personally developing a story about how you could take the flack for something he should go down for.

I also doubt he’s there with a pep talk when it’s needed, nor will he go in to fight for someone — let’s face it, he’s no Monica Aldama — although on second thoughts, let’s not think about Boris and cheerleaders in the same sentence.

Anyway, I presume there’s a Slack chat about Big Dog, or at the very least, an email chain. After all, solidarity is all you’ve got when life hands you one of the archetypal “bad bosses”. (See, the tyrant, the over-friendly one, the one who is having a slow-mo emotional crisis, the hyper-critic, for whom nothing is right, the one who collapses the boundaries of hierarchy until hierarchy suits them again, and you’re put right back in your place.)

Kinship with your fellow underling also helps when you are beholden to someone who is unqualified for their role, and exchanged glances will get you through painful conversations with that boss who speaks to you with the grace and volume of a TV presenter at the helm of some sort of Noughties “yoof programming” (“HI GUYS WHAT’S THE HAPS PUB LATER OK COOL YEAH OK COOL YEAH”).

Sadly, it’s a Big-Dog-eat-dog world out there — Boz and his fellow bad bosses live to bark another day. Still, a word of caution to the managing class: beware the former confidant who goes rogue.

Many bosses have a hardline sidekick who knows where the bodies are buried — but if they end up in the cold, revenge can be swift. Just ask Dominic Cummings.

In other news...

Vicky McClure goes make-up free but I’m afraid I won’t be joining her

Arise, Vicky McClure: the actress has forsaken both mascara and a bra for her latest role in the new Jed Mercurio, Trigger Point, a drama about a bomb disposal unit.

“I wore a crop top instead of an actual bra,” she told the Radio Times, adding that she’d also been make-up free for the whole shoot. “I would like to put some kind of message out there, showing people that you don’t really need make-up.” Presumably, if you’re disposing of bombs it isn’t necessary — but make-up isn’t necessary for my job writing words, and I still wear it. It’s almost like women have internalised beauty standards or something?

Some critics have pointed out that McClure’s make-up in her role as DI Kate Foster in Line of Duty was rather noticeable. I’m sure there won’t be anyone who passes judgement about her make-up-free approach this time. Oh wait.

What do you think about Operation Save Big Dog? Let us know in the comments below.

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