Over recent weeks Prime Minster’s Questions in Parliament has become ever more like an edition of the Goon Show. Bunter J was fine when he was facing the dim-witted allotment chief, Jeremy Corbyn, but in Keir Starmer, he finds himself up against a man who can think and knows not only how to prepare his questions, but how to back them up with well researched statistics.
This inevitably exposes Bunter’s fallibilities. Not because he is too lazy to properly prepare and is not nearly as clever as he imagines himself to be – though both of those things are probably true – but because the very idea causes his psyche to go into meltdown. Bunter J seems to be the supreme narcissist. He believes in his inalienable right to do whatever he pleases. It seems that even the merest hint of a challenge is an insult to his ego.
Someone more self-aware would surely realise that the coronabug crisis has been handled badly from the start. Huge mistakes have been made and others may well be in the future. A pandemic like this can make fools of anyone and a degree of humility might be in order if Johnson is to keep the country onside in the weeks and months of uncertainty still ahead. People can forgive a lot if they feel they aren’t being taken for fools. However, for our revered leader any admission of failure or liability would seem to be a psychological impossibility.
The problem Bunter has is that while he can dump wives, mistresses, ministers and friends, he just can’t get rid of Keir Starmer. For the first time in his life, he has come up against a man who can think clearly and prepares his brief with lawyerly care beforehand. Rather than accept the inevitable, Bunter has merely allowed himself to regress into bluster.
I feel that at first he saw the new Labour leader as a mild inconvenience – an unwelcome intrusion into his alternative reality – but, after discovering that he couldn’t make him go away with mockery, a few cheap gags and by trying to turn the session into an interrogation of Starmer rather than himself, his feelings have turned to active dislike. Starmer might not have much in the way of personality or pezazz but he has certainly got under the prime minister’s skin. Somewhere in Bunter J’s subconscious he knows that the Labour leader is both better briefed and a great deal sharper than he is. That he cannot abide, so all he can do is lash out, flailing wildly like a demented Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
Part of Keir Starmer’s skill is to keep things simple. His questions have a logic that even a ten year old can follow. It seems a shame that the prime minister of a sovereign nation would appear to be stuck in the toddler age of development. All he has to offer is histrionics and gestures of feigned ‘What me Guv?’ innocence, combined with what I fear are blatant untruths.
Either he is lying through his teeth or Starmer is manufacturing the facts and figures that he brandishes with such aplomb every Wednesday. I know which alternative I find more plausible.
The few dozen Tory backbenchers in the chamber yesterday kept their heads down, seemingly as embarrassed as Bunter should have been. I think it is slowly dawning on most Conservatives that their anointed leader just isn’t up to the job as they witness him unravel at PMQs week after week. Nor do many have much faith in his ability to make the right calls at the right time with the coronabug problem. And having used up what little goodwill he might have had – Bunter has never bothered to conceal his contempt for most of his colleagues – his support must surely be dwindling.
Too many more PMQs like this and something will start to give. And as Boris is incapable of change, then it surely cannot be long before his suitability for the job comes under scrutiny from his own party. It was probably always inevitable that the person who would ultimately destroy Bunter was Bunter himself but Starmer is doing a great job of exposing his faults.
How long will it take I wonder for Tory MPs ask themselves why they have never noticed that this particular emperor has no clothes.
With the Black Lives Matter nonsense and the Coronabug, it seems to have largely slipped under the British media radar but more than four hundred elephant have been found dead in one area of Botswana.
That particular area has long been a centre for conflict between wild life and local tribesmen, but there does not appear to be any reason for the deaths, as they have not been killed as such. Many of the dead elephants seem to have died in mid stride and they have not been poisoned as happens in Zimbabwe, because scavengers feeding on the carcasses have not been harmed.
The Botswana government seem to have tried to cover up the deaths, but personally as an elephant man, I am not sure why. Elephants do suffer from outbursts of disease in the same way as human beings. Way back in the nineteen nineties, we had an epidemic of what was called ‘floppy trunk disease’ in Northern Zimbabwe where the bulls would lose the use of their trunks and die slowly as a result. Many tests were made but the reason or reasons for the disease were never discovered.
After a period of some years, floppy trunk disease faded away and I have never heard of it cropping up anywhere else. I wonder if this Botswana outbreak could be something similar and more violent?
On the other hand, ‘floppy trunk’ only affected bulls whereas the Botswana victims have been male, female and juveniles.
I can only pray that the Botswana government stop trying to cover it all up and get samples to relevant laboratories before their elephant population – currently the highest in the world – is completely decimated.
I have never much cared how many people die from the Coronabug – even if I happen to be one of them – but a world without elephants will – and I use that word rather than ‘would’ – be a sad place indeed.