In Dublin during the early eighties, a man subsequently convicted of murder, who had been on the run from the police, was apprehended in a property belonging to the Attorney-General. Charles Haughey was then the Taoiseach. There was always a whiff of sulphur about him. To try to distance himself from the whole affair, he inadvertently added to the political lexicon by describing it as “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented.” Conor Cruise O’brien shortened that to “Gubu” recalling the play Ubu Roi, the beginning of the theatre of the absurd.

Boris Johnson does not resemble the principal character in Ubu Roi. But he has brought the theatre of the absurd into Downing St. Gubu rules.