It’s hard being reasonable. I have no idea what I would do to prevent the spread of Covid-19, to quell the rioters, to deal with the EU’s increasing threats over Brexit, to quiet the voices of dissent and to bring the nation together. In fact, as an Englishman first, I’m not even all that sure I want the nation brought together at all; the vociferousness of the Scots Nats anti-English sentiment disinclines me to engage with them. But here’s the easy thing; I am, thankfully, not tasked with doing any of that.
Thursday, 11 June 2020
What do you want from me?
In a fully functioning society under the rule of entirely reasonable and non-politicised laws with good productivity and plenty of resources freely given, being the Prime Minister would be a doddle. It would be one long round of observing parades, visiting joyful, happy children being given the very best of care, education and safeguarding. It would be giving speeches to the police federation, the BMA, the teachers union, the industrial unions and the House of Commons and being received with standing ovations.
Of course, the constant glad handing, the opening of new hospitals, schools, world beating infrastructure and so on would get a bit tiring and no doubt one would develop a handshake callous and the asymmetrical grip strength of a tennis player or an obsessive masturbator. Constantly being the focus of adulation would tax the generosity of spirit of even the most gregarious, but it would be far more bearable than constantly being in the firing line.
I’m pretty sure that even the greatest leader has always had to delegate. And it might just be me but I would rather that those who scrutinise the fine detail of any issue, be it defence, health, education, law & order, commerce, foreign relations or whatever, are people charged with that and that alone. I could never trust a Prime Minister who claimed expertise in every area over which he has ultimate control; that would be ridiculous.
My point? Well, that although Boris Johnson is the focus of so much hatred from some parts of the country, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt because as far as I can see he isn’t playing the autocrat. He is taking advice – and some of it must be disparate – and acting in what I have to believe he thinks is the best interests of the country. And of course whatever he does he will be condemned from some quarters.
For what it’s worth – and it is worth little, I know – I think Boris Johnson comes over as a clumsy oaf, a blunt blade and a vainglorious headline seeker. But I’ve never met him and can’t attest to the charisma he undoubtedly possesses. And right now he does seem to be rather absent from the arena when people are crying out for strong leadership, but I am a bit sick of people telling me what I must think.
Just because you see the heavy hand of conspiracy and corruption hiding in every corner of every event, it doesn’t mean I have to agree with you. Yes there are forces afoot with malicious intent, but mostly they are opportunists rather than grand strategists. There may be generals and lieutenants directing tactics on the ground and there may be idealistic funders facilitating the frenzy. But sowing the seeds of chaos looks to me more like frustration and the ever-present primate glee over causing mischief. But where is the grand plan?
Boris Johnson is far from flawless but why does everybody think they could do better? If I had to take sides – and until the next general election it makes no difference anyway - I’d rather stand by Boris and his gang of faintly right of centre cronies than allow Mr Personality Starmer and his mad dervishes of the left to get anywhere near the controls… although the clock is now ticking for Boris.