Alexander de Pfeffel seeks advice from the Gardeners’ Question Time panel and audience on his tunnel plans. “Visionary British infrastructure gardens have a great future, if only the woke gardeners, with the greatest respect to our friends and partners on the panel, weren’t so obsessed with making their doom-laden predictions that plants need to be cared for, fed, watered, protected from harsh conditions and warmly held in a loving lefty embrace if they are to survive.”
I look forward, with interest, to see what japes you might come up with next. Having a jester for a prime minister doesn’t always look wise, but it sure can be a lot of fun in these depressing times, so keep up the good work!
Kenneth Branagh is to play the prime minister in a sky drama, set during the pandemic. I’d hesitate to give such an outstanding Shakespearian notes, but he may wish to dust off his copy of Twelfth Night. In the steward Malvolio, he’ll find an arrogant character convinced that cavorting about in an oafish manner, preferably while wearing an outlandish outfit, will win him the approval he desperately seeks.
John Cole calls into question how genuine libertarians have been, particularly during this crisis, when they have done more harm than good. Encouraging more open economies and taking the blame from the shoulders of government and putting it on the people, they have done nothing except exacerbate the situation.
We all saw first-hand the consequences of a poorly-informed debate on Brexit. The Scottish independence debate holds all the same risks, and we have the opportunity to make it a more substantive discussion.
Andy Brown looks at how humanity’s collective stupidity has peaked at the same time as its oil consumption. “The idea that the world needs to be managed with greater environmental sensitivity has much more traction with the young than the concept that we need to look backward and try to recreate a golden age that never existed.”
Andy Brown asks, is Boris Johnson on the way out? The PM’s irresponsible behaviour over the past year has led to an erosion of trust, which may well be irreparable. Now, having put parliament in an impossible situation, and taken the country to the brink of no deal – in order to negotiate a very bad deal – will he lose his job as prime minister?
“Doing more work on your car then, Tim?” “Nope.” “But – ” “Not this time.” “Quite a few modifications there, though.” “Yep.” “So…?” “Nothing to do with me, Steve.” “Really?” “I’ve learned my lesson…” “That’s great news, Tim.” “…and I’ve got an expert in.” “Music to my ears, Tim. Who is it?” “Spaffa.” “Spaffa??!!” “Yep, […]
Boris Johnson staked what remained of public trust in him in the idea of ‘saving Christmas’. Now, Andy Brown writes, this has been lost. “Like so many rash bets, it hasn’t worked out. We’ve ended up with a cabinet full of boastful yet inadequate ‘yes men and women’, just at the time when the nation most needed quiet competence.”
But now old Father Christmas approaches, smiling and ruddy – no he doesn’t have a temperature, and his indiscriminate appetite for milk, whisky, shortbread and chocolate is not indicative of a loss of taste – and it’s time for us to let loose, relax and have a jolly old jamboree. Much like pater allowed us when the nanny stopped weeping.
Throughout this whole final saga of real Brexit negotiations we have only been able to be sure of one thing: whatever Boris Johnson does, will be in the best interest of Boris Johnson this week. That isn’t remotely the same thing as what is in the best interest of the British people. Either this week or for the next generation. Whichever faction of the Conservative Party gives Johnson the best chance of staying in power has been the true test of what policies he has championed.
Granville Williams looks at the assault on reality in both the UK and the US, and of the development of alternative media ecosystems for the far right. “The need for trusted, independent media to hold lying politicians to account has never been more urgent.”
With just four weeks to go to the end of the transition, the famously vacillating prime minister is apparently yet to decide whether to accept a deal or not. But he may not survive either choice.
Dr Pam Jarvis breaks down the prime minister’s attempts to gaslight the nation, making us question our own reality. Using her background in psychology, she explains how the ‘power and control’ wheel can be used to “control their citizens by pumping out information about how people should think and behave, whilst encouraging them to judge each other against such objectives”.
Andy Brown argues that Boris Johnson is right to maintain covid restrictions – there’s a first time for everything. But having got this right, he’s being undermined by his own backbenchers who claim it will damage the economy. These are the same MPs who are happy to do serious damage to the economy by sticking to their arbitrary Brexit deadlines.
With 38 days to go before the greatest instantaneous shock to our overseas trade in history, there is apparently a total void at the highest levels of government where policy direction normally starts, while we await the mercurial mind of Johnson to be made up. Psychopaths tend to lie, be socially irresponsible, disregard or violate the rights of others, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, have difficulty showing remorse or empathy, manipulate people and have problems with the law. Does this seem familiar?
In the 26 years since publication of Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life, standards have progressively fallen – with a near-vertical plunge since Johnson became prime minister. Johnson, Cummings, Gove and the rest of the government fail the test on each of the seven principles: integrity, objectivity, accountability, honesty, openness, selflessness and leadership.
Boris Johnson’s refusal to fire Priti Patel has shown why unrest in the ranks of Tory MPs matters. Here Alex Toal looks at the broader consequence of the Prime Minister’s weakness, and how it might hurt his efforts to rebrand.
The prime minister – already facing the twin peaks of the covid pandemic and Brexit – has just given the Scottish Conservatives another mountain to climb next May. It remains to be seen how fit they are with six months to go.
Why Boris Johnson’s choices are limited to securing a deal at any price and an extension to the transition period. The next few days will be crucial in setting the terms of Britain’s future relationship with the EU but circumstances mean the prime minister’s choices are strictly limited. A deal at any price and an extension to the transition period is the only option.
Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s senior adviser is forced out of Downing Street after a furious row involving the Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds.
The chaotic ‘nest of vipers’ in Downing Street burst out into open warfare last night with the shock resignation of the PM’s communications chief Lee Cain and the threatened departure of senior adviser Dominic Cummings and chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost. Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent at the FT tweeted: One well-placed Whitehall official […]
How long can the prime minister’s senior adviser cling on? There is a growing rebellion in Tory ranks against the latest lockdown measures, with leading Tories including Sir Desmond Swayne and Iain Duncan Smith in the vanguard. Even the chair and vice-chair of the powerful backbench 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady and Charles Walker, have […]
While it could be argued that any rational prime minister would have requested an extension to the transition period in July 2020, so that Britain could avoid the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid-19 in winter 2020, I suspect Boris Johnson is content to proceed with no-deal Brexit. This is because it may benefit those who […]
Classics is often at the heart of Boris Johnson’s political brand, and particularly his admiration of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. In April of this year, he got in trouble with the historian Dame Mary Beard after misquoting the statesman, and previously he has referred to his use of Ciceronian rhetorical techniques. Comparing ancient […]
As Richard Corbett noted in his recent Yorkshire Bylines article – ‘The government’s attack on Magna Carta undermines the foundation of our constitution’ – the iconic Magna Carta is over 800 years old but still has analogies and resemblances to the present day. Boris Johnson himself has many similarities with reputedly the worst king in English […]
Response to Richard Corbett’s recent article on Magna Carta and the Yorkshire barons Magna Carta is an iconic historic document, regarded by many as the foundation of the English constitution and the rule of law – in other words, the idea that the actions of governments (whether monarchies or democracies, and no matter how powerful) […]
Two political power heads, one ideology – both politicians possess a naïve and passive understanding of Covid-19, while testing and PPE issues have plagued both countries. Luckily, many state governors, as well as the first ministers of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have had more freedom to enact their own policies that contradict their top […]
We all know of the Magna Carta, an iconic historic document, regarded by many as the key foundation of the rule of law in England and beyond. Its influence can be seen across the globe, a copy is enshrined in the US Capitol building in Washington, America, and it is even referenced in United Nations […]
What Ho Chums! I must start by saying that today we face the gravest crisis known to mankind in our lifetimes. I know that with the bravery and fortitude of the British people we stand a slim chance of survival in the face of almost certain annihilation. On the other hand I met a really fit […]