Has Boris Got Away With It?

Yes is almost certainly the answer.  There is just so long you can keep outrage about parties and lies brewing, as the driving force of the political agenda. Shocking though the saga is, it actually has very little impact on everyday life. People feel badly let down, betrayed even, having suffered terrible emotional pain and loss through the pandemic. Others lost their businesses sticking to the rules, which it turns out, most of Whitehall were ignoring.

Had the full Grey report hit the deck in timely fashion as expected, it could have caused a major political upset. Now it is already on its way to the long grass. In the end it will cause major excitement in the Westminster bubble, but the country has already made up its mind and moved on.

Meanwhile inflation is getting hot, causing the rising cost of living to become the hottest political potato, followed by energy price rises on an unimagined scale, tax rises, the NHS  on the brink, interest rates on an upward curve, not to mention Putin and his battle groups. And the pandemic rages on, even if in milder form. So Boris needs to be very busy dealing with all the things that matter to people right now. And by the look of it he is.

For the moment he will soldier on, ducking and weaving though a bombardment of outrage and anger as only Boris can, drunk on the elixir of his psyche, to be centre stage above all else. Nobody will successfully challenge him in a leadership election, nor I suspect does anyone now want to try. In due course the people will have their say and one day Boris will be gone. Unless something happens sooner. That we were not expecting.

As well it might.

Political Spectacle: The Collapse of our Government

Mid way through last week I was telling friends that I reckoned  Boris could ride out partygate and reach the local elections. He would then run a personal campaign  to pull out Tory votes in May by travelling all over England to barnstorm and bribe with his usual false promises. If the outcome was losses but not as many as predicted, it would become Boris’s victory and he would be safe.

But now things look much worse. Organised government, at least in the traditional sense of what we mean by that, has ground to a halt. There are new parties to investigate, accusations of improper threats from Tory whips, accusations of Islamophoebia, cracks in cabinet unity, multiple accusations of lying and referrals to the police. And this is not an assault by opposition parties. It is all from within Tory ranks. Discipline as a coherent party of government has completely broken down.

This certainly cannot go on. Soon it must end. But it will not end until the author of all this misfortune, Boris the Clown, is removed from office. Whether this is with dignity and nice words, or kicking and screaming, is the only real question now outstanding.

Is It Over for Boris’s Government?

The answer is firmly yes.  It is a  slap in the face to the notion, proclaimed by many Tories in 2019,  that like Thatcher, Boris would go on and on. Because it is now clear that his days are numbered. Too many lies, too much bluster, too little attention to detail. Chaos in the chain of command in Downing Street and widespread double standards.

Boris will cling on by his fingernails for as long as he can. When he falters his wife will urge him fight on. So getting rid of him may take time and it will be messy. But it will happen. It is now a national priority to restore integrity to politics.

The truth has dawned that he is fundamentally dishonest. A not to be trusted liar. Polls show he is no longer a winner. That is what will bring Boris’s premiership to a end. Not the lies themselves which the Tories may accept, but the fact that they make him a loser. He will be remebered by history more favourably than by his own generation. He bet the house on the vaccine and won. Important though the vaccine is, it is not the whole political story of the hour.

There is a country in trouble to be led, with a toxic mix of crises piling up. Inflation, energy prices, cost of living, interest rate hikes, failed Brexit causing trade mayhem, not to mention structural flaws in the NHS and education.  There is climate change and 5G. Within all that there is both disaster and opportunity, depending who decides what to do when.

Clearly Boris cannot provide the standard of leadership a long suffering country has a right to demand. Either the Tory party measures up or we do what we did in 1916, 1930 and 1940 and have a national government of all the mainstream parties.

A Decade Of Cuts Cripples The NHS

Omicron is a super-spreader. It is sweeping the country. Anyone not fully jabbed or immune through recent infection, is likely to get it. Some  will need medical help and will require hospitalisation. A few will sadly die. Even those fully vaccinated can get this latest variant,  but although they can transmit it, they are unlikely to get other than a mild illness. We have to remind ourselves that this is a pandemic, not a plague.

We have, or claim to have, in the NHS the finest health service in the world. Yet it is on the brink because of Covid, not because the staff are not working well beyond the extra mile  making each and every one a hero of modern times, but because the organisation is under funded. It has suffered more than a decade of cuts in real terms. Both its funding models and organisational structures are deeply flawed.

The consequences are unacceptable waiting lists for non-Covid diagnosis, treatments and procedures, to the point where the system has in effect broken down. Even a GP appointment is nearly impossible in many areas. If Covid vanished tomorrow the crisis would still run on for years. Unless something radical is done. What that should be is for another time.

But meanwhile praise the people who struggle to maintain our health service. They are not to blame. The current political class, perhaps the most incompetent in our history, is. The first thing we have to to is make them own responsibility for a long building mess very much of their making.

Brexit Has Failed: So What Now?

It was a concept built on lies, delivered to feed raw nationalism, to achieve a ‘have our cake and eat it’ outcome, which was never realistic and never on offer. Not only is it one of the greatest political mistakes in our history, it is one of the most disreputable.

The referendum which enabled it was undemocratic because of the four nations making up the UK, two voted to Remain yet were forced to leave against their democratically expressed will. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland may end up leaving the UK as a consequence.

It lacked integrity because not only did it fail to carry the constituent nations of the UK, it failed to achieve a margin for Leave that showed a clear and true majority of votes for major constitutional change. This included the withdrawal of E U citizenship from millions who did not wish to lose it.

Finally it was built on a tissue of lies and imaginings, not a single one of which has proved true in the event. We are now left to make the best of a very bad job, the multiple downsides of which have been masked by the Covid crisis, but which, day by day in so many little ways as well as big ones, are  becoming depressingly clear.

There are still paths that could lead to a new dawn for our country and a new purpose for the Union. Whether they are within the competence of this bizarre government to navigate is another matter.

We should make it our New Year resolution to find out.

2021 Draws To A Close: What Future Will We Choose?

That depends on many things. Circumstances, choices, opportunities, both good and bad. Of course Covid still looms, but for the purpose of these thoughts, let us move past the pandemic.

Overall there is now an underlying current driven by COP26, with much more widespread recognition of the threats posed by climate change and this will inform decisions. When you drill down into the need to reach the ultimate goal of zero carbon, the changes coming will not just be political. they will be personal.

As I am beginning to emphasise in blogs already published, this means we have to consume less of almost everything. That has unwelcome consequences for a consumer society with an economy based on consumption plus inflation of fixed assets.

So we will need to switch from using to making and much of the making will have to be about creating a green revolution of sustainable energy, communications, transport and housing, very different to what we have now. Everything will have to be built or made to last. Not to use once and throw away. Faults will be repaired not replaced, except for one exception, set out below.

If we pull this off, the outcome will certainly be sunlit uplands, but these must be for all, not just for the lucky or the pushy.  The mangled concept that the individual is everything, the state is a burden, the markets are masters and globalisation is good for all purposes and at any cost, is broken. This should not and cannot be repaired. To achieve the survival of humanity more or less a we know it, it has to be replaced.

Historic Change: A New State of Mind

For over a decade I have been writing and blogging about the weaknesses in our state structures, the need to reform and the rough and tumble of politics generally. The underlying core of Western society, its ambitions and aspirations remained constant. We were so pleased with the way we were, that we even sought to impose our ways on others. This led to a remarkable string of failed states and ungoverned spaces.

Social media is now awash with opinion about every facet of political, personal, family and emotional life. Brexit, Covid and Climate Change are between them delivering hammer blows to the attitudes, structures and norms of everything that went before. Yet behind the priorities of how, where, when, for whom and how much, there is a new dawn breaking. It is one of remarkable self-realisation and empowerment. It is this.

You are not your job, or your car, or your home. You are not your new kitchen, nor your social status. You, your happiness and your sense of place in the universe has nothing to do with any of these things. It is not about faith, or religion, or belonging to something.
It is about the unique miracle of the whole you as a person, an individual part of a great interdependent tapestry of conscious life, the future of all of which now depends on the priorities we apply to life now. And as we search for the best choices over issues about which a few months ago we knew little to nothing, we must accept one fundamental truth. There are millions of questions challenging the onward progress of life, but before you can help find the answers, you must first find yourself. Because the future is one not about having. It is about being.

It is also a future about having less and sharing more. Of less new and more used. Because vast recourses will be needed to mitigate climate change and become carbon neutral, creating new industries and more enlightened values. There will have to be less, a lot less, greed and fairer rewards for the millions whose daily efforts keep the state, upon which we all depend for the essentials of life, running smoothly. This will require a huge increase in investment to correct years of cuts and neglect.

In the end we will need a new appreciation of the purpose and value of the state, as the institution of civilisation which enables us collectively to survive and prosper. With it will come a new and enlightened state of mind. With that will come the understanding that the only way the individual can be truly free, is for each to work together for the common good of all.

From Kermit The Frog To Pepper Pig: The Wheels Fly Off The Boris Wagon

There was a time when I thought my early assessment of Boris as a clown and a liar was too harsh. I began to to see beneath the bravado an astute politician who saw the injustice of Thatcherism being retained as a political blueprint, when times and people had changed. Who shifted the Tory party far to the left of Labour on the role of government in shaping the nature of the economic model and its impact. Who understood the need for skilled jobs providing higher lower to middle incomes. Who saw  increasing living standards was once again a key political aim.  Who meant what he said about levelling up. Who, caught off guard by the pandemic, bet the house on vaccination and won big.

Unfortunately for our country, the last several weeks have reminded me that my original judgement was not harsh, but right. Boris may be all those good things,  but unfortunately when challenge comes, he remains a stranger to the truth and an idiot on the platform, leading a team seemingly unable to deliver its promised outcomes across a range of issues. Mess and muddle seep through Whitehall like creeping lava from Boris’s volcano.

The biggest lie of all,  that Brexit will be a wonderful sunlit dawn of freedom and opportunity, is now believed in by nobody. Its promoters have either been thrown out in disgrace, gone very quiet, or vanished into the night like a phantom army. Except for Lord Frost. He ploughs on, threatening and obfuscating, in negotiations without end, rejecting reasonable accommodations as not far enough, demanding to change what he promoted, agreed to and signed. This is surely one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s political life.

And who got us here? Not Kermit the Frog, nor Pepper Pig. Just  Boris. The clown.