We are – what? – two days and counting into the General Election campaign and all I have seen and read leads me to the conclusion that ‘The Nightmare’ [the three year crisis over Brexit which has now extended into a general existential crisis over our political elite, the constitution and how we conduct ourselves] is not going to end anytime soon and in fact is going to get worse before it gets better.
One of the reasons for this is Boris Johnson the Prime Minister. Others have remarked that, worryingly, how he presents himself and acts does actually appear to be exactly how he is.
I really think it probably is as bad as that.
In interviews since the General Election was called – and in his visit to an NHS hospital for which he donned a white coat – Boris has come across like an overgrown 18 year-old public school boy who’s just about mastered how to conduct himself at a Sixth Form moot/debate. Or perhaps as a member of the Bullingdon Club who, egged on by his mates, has just decided in the middle of a boozy evening wrecking an Oxford city pub to stand for President of the Union.
Yesterday, under interview examination by editor of BBC News Laura Kuenssberg, confronted by the fact that this was the day after he’d promised that he’d rather die in a ditch than not take the UK out of the EU by Halloween, he blustered unconvincingly about it all before going on to say that he just wanted “to get Brexit done” and then move on to more important things like increasing funds for the NHS, pumping billions into education and ‘making Britain great again’ (as President Trump would have put it).
Why didn’t he just tell the truth?
In other words, acknowledge that he’d promised to deliver Brexit by 31st October – and apologise for failing to do so despite doing his level best – but he had been thwarted by the Supreme Court (which defied the unwritten constitution and Parliamentary conventions to create new law), Jeremy Corbyn (the witless Leader of the Opposition who was terminally confused and didn’t know what he wanted), 400-plus MPs in the Commons who were Remainers and though they knew better than the electorate and lastly the departing Speaker John Bercow, who had spent the past two years aiding and abetting Remain in defiance of both integrity and his role’s brief.
Next, to counter what appears to be Labour’s strategy as revealed by Mr Corbyn is his opening Election rally – attacking the Tories for being toffs whose whole purposes in life were (1) to make life shit for anyone that didn’t have the good fortune to go to Eton or Harrow and (2) revel in imposing blanket austerity upon the working class – why did Boris not simply point out the state of the UK economy as bequeathed to the Tories by Labour in 2010, the fact that the economy was now returned to something approaching good health and that (above all) austerity – which sadly we’d all had to endure for a decade – was happily in the past and now the Government (if elected on 12th December) was going to lavish taxpayers’ money on every sacred public service cow in the good old British Isles?
Instead – in keeping with my earlier statement – Boris simply trotted out unconvincingly Grade B auto-politico-speak by the proverbial yard, rather in the manner of an Etonian sixth form debater who’d been given a script to read and either hadn’t done his homework by flicking through it before doing the interview and/or was having trouble reading from the autocue screen with the words scrolling down it behind Laura Kuenssberg’s left ear.
In either event, he performed as if the interview was a piffling bit of business to be busked through on a wing and a prayer before he – together with Jonty, Biffo and Harry – got on to the more important business of the day, i.e. catching the Number 11 bus along the Strand, picking up a couple of popsies on the way, popping along to Gordon’s Bar by the Embankment for a few afternoon sherberts and then ending up at Boodles for dinner at 8.00pm or thereabouts.
I can see some stormy waters ahead before the 2020 domestic cricket season starts …