I’ll stick to surnames, thanks.This clown’s no mate of mine.
Posted on July 23, 2019
So that’s the plan then? Just close your eyes, grin daftly, hope for the best and tell anyone who asks for even a modicum of detail that they’re lacking in ambition and optimism?
Theresa May (she was once Prime Minister, you know) bungled a whole election by thinking that if she just placidly kept repeating ‘strong and stable’ like some daft tantric chant, then we’d all fall for it and slouch, zombie- like, to the polling booths. On this morning’s Radio 4 Today programme, Johnson supporter – please stop calling him Boris, he’s not our mate – Michael Fallon (Craigflower prep school, Epsom College, University of St Andrews) berated his interviewer because on the sunniest day of the year he was being so gloomy and pessimistic. Ambition and optimism. We’ll be fine. Enough with detail: obsessing over that stuff just got us where we are now.
Along with this breezy optimism, it’ll be Johnson’s strength of character that will bring clean fresh air when it comes to talking to Johnny Foreigner. Those dullards over there in Brussels will experience the political equivalent of being laughed into bed by this confident, charismatic embodiment of British upper-class charm. He’ll have them eating out if his hand. Just look at how he handled that Zaghari-Ratcliffe business with such assurance and aplomb. Stop wringing your hands and fretting.
He’ll bring the same ambition and optimism to our relationship with our bestest of besties, President Donald Trump, who is definitely not a racist, by the way. For those of you not aware of it, we have a ‘special relationship’ with the United States. It’s true that this could involve us, from time to time, in dumbly and slavishly sending some of our own working class boys and girls to get killed for oil somewhere on the map that we can’t locate, but it’s a very special relationship. Those of you who are thinking that one of the world’s most unscrupulous, amoral and narcissistic leaders is just waiting for the UK to be so desperate for any sort of trade deal that he can fob us with any old garbage that we’ll be forced to buy are just lacking ambition. You need to be more optimistic.
Picture this; it’s sure to cheer you up. Johnson, already courted by Trump, addressing some fawning Washington gathering flanked by the President himself, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, all nodding sagely in agreement – with Ambassador Farage gurning on the sidelines. Don’t kid yourself it couldn’t happen; we’re way beyond that kind of hope these days.
So let’s console ourselves with the fact that a Johnson government may not last long. No-one can confidently predict what is going to happen one way or another – that much we do know. Where do we look for alternatives? On the day of Johnson’s anointment, there were stories from two other political parties. Let’s start with the Lib Dems.
They’re very optimistic and ambitious this morning too. They’ve got a new leader. They’re breaking the mould of going for ageing white men and have gone for a relatively young woman who……..voted with the Tory whip in 2010 to 2015 more often that Michael Gove. Who voted for the bedroom tax, reneged on the promise to scrap student fees, voted against raising disability benefits and wants a statue of Thatcher in Parliament Square. I’ll leave that there, eh?
What about Labour? Also on the Today programme was Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth. For those of you familiar with her work, you will be unsurprised to know that on the day that some 150,000 Tories of advancing years from the shires were about to foist a bumbling clown on the nation, she chose to reprise her constant plaint that the Labour Party is riven with anti-Semitic behaviour and that no one was doing anything about it. She cited as proof a recent Panorama programme so forensically discredited by academics, film-makers and others in the media that it is rapidly becoming a major embarrassment to the BBC. She did so two days after the Labour Party leader wrote to all its members along with an excellent leaflet spelling out complete and unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitic behaviour.
Just in case, like many people, you’re scratching your head and wondering just what is possessing her and many others in the Labour Party to behave in this way – especially with the Tories in such disarray and confusion – allow me to spell it out to you, as outlandish as it may seem. There is a significant section of the parliamentary Labour Party (and some of their friends in the Lords) that would tolerate defeat to the Tories rather than have a Corbyn government and they’ll do anything, anything they can to prevent one from happening.
None of which sounds ambitious or optimistic. So let’s have some reasons to be cheerful.
One of the founding principles of this blog is that it supports action. Shouting at the telly may be temporarily cathartic but it is ultimately self-destructive. The next few days and weeks will see more activity from Extinction Rebellion and any number of ‘Not My PM’ protests. Get out there. Join them. Talk to other people who feel the same as you. Do something. Make a poster, write a letter, start a petition…..anything, but don’t sit on the sofa and make sure you limit your news consumption.
Be ambitious. Be optimistic. It might just work.