In the recent British government crisis, one of the clearest ‘rumors’ about the singular anomaly of the political situation of the now former Prime Minister Boris Johnson came from a staff member who still works today at 10 Downing Street, London.
An “insider” with a very clear identity, who spared no criticism and vitriolic jokes against the former head of the British government from inside his residence. It is true, there have been many conservative party personalities who have openly sided against Johnson, yet this commentator has received great respect from the media as he is considered “independent” by the entire parliamentary arc given his function as a public servant, or employee government that guaranteed him a sort of freedom of thought with respect to the convulsive and sometimes even painful events that marked the end of Boris Johnson at the helm of Great Britain.
But who is, then, this leading figure who has strongly influenced public opinion in the United Kingdom like few others? Mr. Larry (he has no surname) is followed by over 630,000 people and his words are weighted like boulders when on July 7 he offered on Twitter to become a caretaker prime minister or something similar to the function of Prime Minister pro tempore in anticipation that the Tories would choose Boris Johnson’s successor.
Apparently nothing strange: other politicians have offered the same availability as the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, however, arousing less surprise and uproar than Larry’s announcement. The point is that this contender at the helm of the government is a long-haired white and gray cat and his public function is that of “rat-catching chief” of the prime minister’s residence. When someone suggested that Larry “belonged” to Boris Johnson, his social staff immediately made it clear that the famous feline was not “Boris Johnson’s cat” and that while Johnson was just a “temporary” tenant on Downing Street, he it was permanent and that – yes indeed – it was a very “embarrassing” situation for him.
In short, on Twitter we discover that the Downing Street cat (moreover immortalized in many pigeon hunting activities outside the famous door of number 10) was critical of the government to the point that his famous tweet on the Minister showing the middle finger to the audience obtained over 30,000 likes and thousands of retweets thanks to the caption, or the explanatory sentence of the image “you have already seen this photo of Minister Andrea Jenkyns who used his middle finger showing it to the public. I can reveal that she was not insulting her detractors, but only confirming the number of weeks that will eventually see her in power ”.
In short, an intelligent, wise and humorous cat that many fans would like to see form their own government, given that when the 11 contenders for prime minister expressed their program, Larry immediately illustrated his shared political agenda in a bipartisan manner. by all the felines residing in the British Isles and – probably – in what remains of the entire Commonwealth, clamoring for clarity on issues such as “how many treats a cat is entitled to in an hour; serve another meal between breakfast and brunch; the minimum number of scratches on the tummy “.
Someone, however, has noticed that the “outstretched paw” intervention in the political arena is not so disinterested on the part of Larry, as one of the candidates, the one favored by bookmakers who, when you read this article, may have already settled in Downing Street, Penny Mordaunt, owns four Burmese cats (relatives of the best known and most popular Siamese cats) that could give the working class cat without pedigree a hard time. Larry seems not to have been “impressed” and gave Twitter a very concise statement: “Tabby cat who has already seen three prime ministers, awaits the fourth downing Street tenant”.
In short, if a respectable and reliable news agency like France Press spreads an entire dispatch on the possible relationship crisis between four purebred cats and a proletarian cat who has entered the ganglia of British power, it means that Larry has not only become famous and loved. , but he is one of the most respected personalities of the 21st century political entourage in London. After all, Larry is not the first cat to power in Great Britain: Smokey, for example, Churchill’s beloved feline, was the only living being (two or four-legged) who was allowed to spend time with the Prime Minister in the government bunker under the Nazi bombing of V2.
Larry, however, is the first to use Social Media to establish his own reputation and his own ironic and dry look towards the British political circus of the beginning of the twenty-first century. More seriously, it is not known who is behind Larry’s account, a really existing cat, for which his Social Media Manager has created a personality, a political vision and even an existential dimension, yet – and this is the element to be recorded – a real character has been turned into a kind of media legend by a keen observer of politics.
Larry’s is not the only fantasy account linked to world politics and – always – humanity has used the weapon of irony and satire to make fun of current situations. The entire Greek tragedy, as well as comedies such as Aristophanes’ Clouds constitute food for thought and a constant democratic critique of the life of the polis. In short, the tradition that precedes Larry is long and noble, the difference is made by Social Media who love the idea of a wise cat inside a building full of insane and unscrupulous swindlers.
A four-legged celebrity who has become a reference figure for cat lovers, for political commentators, for nerds in general, but who at the same time we know to be a fictional character and yet thrills us with his intelligent comments and his shrewd remarks. In this sense it is interesting to note how the world of Social Media does not only have connotations of realism, on the contrary. Often, and it is perhaps this element that attracts us as and more than others, it offers possibilities for remote fantasies of all kinds aided by the algorithm that – profiling us – leads us to meet the stories and accounts that interest us most.
And then there is a demographic element to be taken into account and which makes an account linked to an animal more interesting than one linked to others. Because? 13 million households (45% of UK households) own a pet: 5 million households own a cat, 6.6 million households own a dog. It is therefore evident that a political cat already has a possible reference audience. Of course, it is evident that the cat lived on his behalf and that it was someone who chose him as a possible character by virtue of an evident spontaneous sympathy, yet it is not just that.
In the political game not only in Great Britain there is a need for satire and humor as well as in Italy on Twitter we find parody accounts of all the main politicians active on the scene. While it is easy for them to understand that they are also ideologically ‘addressed’ parodies, the real personality and the concrete function of the cat give it an extra gear to amuse the public, but also to offer pearls of wisdom that do not come from elsewhere.
It is only to be hoped that Larry will maintain his role as a rat catcher for a long time and not be swept away by scandals. This era puts us all to a severe test, but please don’t ask us to put up with a corrupt cat with cans and scratchers and let us believe, at least a little longer, in his independence of views and his sympathetic foresight.