Having long followed UK politics from a one-stage-removed and bemused standpoint I reckon I passed my “You couldn’t make it up” moment watershed in about 1980 so nothing that has occurred since should really have surprised me.
In one sense it hasn’t simply because, the more bizarre each development becomes, the more it has tended to reinforce my prejudices and cynicism.
At some point this morning we will receive confirmation that Boris Johnson has beaten Jeremy Hunt to to be elected as leader of the Tory party and therefore our new Prime Minister.
All the norms of two centuries’ worth of political custom and practice, convention and principle have seemingly been parked to one side and the law of the jungle has taken over.
In a 21st Century dominated by instant and unfiltered subjective publicity and promotion of everything from our toilet and sexual habits and other minutae of our personal lives to matters of state and even humanity’s continued existence, the gloves are off.
Going back into history, our politicians have risen to high office by every means under the sun so those currently complaining that Mr Johnson has been chosen by but a tiny fraction of the electorate to be our Prime Minister – and therefore something should be done about it – should frankly get a life.
Whether he’s an unprincipled, undisciplined buffoon – a nailed-on walking disaster who is positively dangerous to everything this country holds dear and stands for – or at least ought to be given a ‘winner’s chance’ to show what he can do, some of elected politicians in his own party have decided to take whatever steps come to hand or are necessary – presumably on the basis that they know better than everyone else (especially the public) which, of course, gives them an absolute right – in order to destroy Mr Johnson’s premiership before it even begins.
Well, we’ll see.
From my viewpoint, the mere fact of being right – or believing you’re right with a conviction strong enough to prompt you to take matters into your own hands “for the general good” – is about a step and a half from either fascism or state communism of the most extreme and oppressive kind.
I can say that because, of course, all the way down through history those two ‘opposites’ have been uncannily similar when it comes to operating in practice.
This week we are being treated to two new Party leaders, a new Prime Minister and the spectacle of no clear idea at all as to which way things are going to go in terms of democratic voting, backstage plotting in Parliament, or (dare I mention it) Brexit.
And all the while every national politician in the country capable of waffling on until they either get tripped up or run out of gas is queuing up to appear on the airwaves to spew speculation and intrigue – covered by the poor journalists and pundits who have made it their trade to either report upon the same or speculate about it.
Simultaneously we – the poor, put-upon, public – would simply like to find and press the button marked ‘pause’ … or even (preferably) “eject”.