The nation remains divided over Brexit. Re-joining the EU is out of the question unless there is a significant majority in favour. But Brexit cannot be said to be ‘done’ until accepted by a significant majority. And how likely is that?
Helen Davidson reviews the results in the Hartlepool by-election. Turnout was 42.3% and Conservative gains were obtained from mostly Brexit voters. Why people stayed at home and didn’t come out to vote, is unknown; but what is known is that the winner of the election was indifference.
Johnson’s trademark smirk is apparently known to psychologists as “duping delight” – the sheer joy of duping people, or in the prime minister’s case, entire nations, given away by an involuntary smirk, a “leaked expression of pleasure.”
In which the reader is invited to consider the A-Z of charges laid at the door of Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Cummings is preparing an onslaught to bring down Boris Johnson. If anyone can do it, it’s Cummings. Downing Street is “terrified” that he has a ‘treasure trove’ of internal memos and emails in a damaging dossier.
Andy Brown points out that Boris Johnson is a good liar; he has lied about Northern Ireland, Brexit, and now his private life, and it has come to the point where his inability to tell the truth renders him incapable of running the country.
Alex Toal links past with present as Eric Pickles is brought back into the public spotlight over the Greensill scandal.
Alex Toal breaks down the Greensill scandal, and the broader problem of the revolving door which Cameron’s actions have highlighted. Politicians have had an uncomfortable level of closeness with the private sector for years, and the scandal is nothing new. But we need to change our incentive structures to improve practices.
Boris Johnson has rendered the phrase “they’re all the same” totally redundant. He is in class of his own, impropriety personified
Aidan Enright, in his first article for Yorkshire Bylines, explains the relationship between Starmer, Labour and Ireland. He asks what consequence a border poll would have for Labour and Conservatives, and whether Starmer can reassure unionists he understands their concerns.
Senior Conservatives may have been calling for Nicola Sturgeon’s head over a potential breach of the ministerial code, but, they have ignored such breaches in their own party. Alex Toal identifies eleven ministers in the Johnson government who have breached the code, there may be even more…
Alex Toal examines the known unknowns that may well define the Johnson premiership: the NHS pay dispute and the return to schools. Should they fail to go to plan, knock-on effects may disrupt the local elections and hamper either his or Keir Starmer’s leadership.
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.