It is surely time to Bunter Johnson to be replaced as the president of Britain – preferably by somebody who is content to be prime minister.
His inane comment to Andrew Marr that pigs are slaughtered as part of farming, taking absolutely no cognisance of the fact that the absence of abattoir workers will mean that many thousands will be destroyed in coming days and instead of ending up on our plates, their carcasses will be incinerated proves just how out of touch with the real world this bumbling buffoon has become,
How will his inept government keep Britain functioning between today and Christmas, when the foreign lorry drivers and turkey-feeders’ temporary visas will expire? To my mind, this country has to have a new man at the top although there does not seem any immediate prospect of evicting Bunter from Downing Street against his, or perhaps the unlovely Carrie’s wishes.
It may be possible, however, to start convincing the couple that their interests would be well served by heading off into the sunset. The prime minister could tell his many admirers (I think he has a few at any rate) that he has delivered Brexit and the Coronabug vaccination programme and averted a Jeremy Corbyn premiership. Perhaps the general public will buy that flannel and ignore his persistent and hopelessly blatant lying.
Let’s face it the man is already assured of many pages in the history of the times. Only Nigel Farage has been more influential in reshaping British politics – and Farage worked for our betterment! Bunter can resume his career as an entertainer dammit. His memoirs, together with the diaries that he has undoubtedly been keeping (to the discomfiture of everyone who has spoken to him privately since he took office) will be worth millions. He might even venture into entirely new terrain by becoming a devoted family man.
I am not really trying to be facetious. I am worried for the future of my Grandchildren. If Bunter J goes soon, he can remain famous, become rich and escape the protracted descent awaiting him if he lingers, eventually to vanish beneath the chickens returning to roost in Downing Street.
Who would follow? At the moment Rishi Sunak seems the only acceptable answer although there are surely a few Tory ‘Big Beasts’ lurking among the back benches. Admittedly we, the general public still know relatively little about Sunak because of his rapid rise from Winchester head boy, through obscure backbencher to chancellor. He would be handicapped by the impossibility of matching Johnson’s public relations skills with all manner of people who are proving themselves intensely gullible. But Sunak possesses dignity and integrity, plus what seems to be a sense of responsibility, such as none of his cabinet colleagues can match. He does not taunt Johnny Foreigner nor was he a member of the ruddy Bullingdon club.
His most immediate and important task would be to appoint ministers for their competence, rather than for mere loyalty to their leader as was the case when Bunter came into power. It would be foolish to pretend that the Tory backbenches are bursting with stars in waiting, but Jeremy Hunt and Tom Tugendhat would surely be an improvement on Priti Patel, Nadine Dorries or the hapless Gavin Williamson.
A habit has grown up in the media, as well as among the public of displaying a respect towards members of this government that is only justifiable by their possession of state offices and the shrugged mantra that there is no alternative, rather than any serious assessment of how they perform.
Yet mediocrity is fast becoming the order of the day among this pathetic cabinet. It is surely time to admit that the country cannot go on like this with traffic chaos at the mercy of such a hapless figure as Grant Shapps. Johnson had a chance to use last month’s cabinet reshuffle to replace proved incompetents with people more worthy of their offices. He chose instead to swop the incompetents around. In this, he showed the arrogance made possible by a big majority together with a pathetically weak, disorganised and divided opposition. Whatever the case if there is one, might be for Johnson, the man mocks the system and us all with his choice of subordinates.
We should recognise that, even if the chancellor sooner or later moves next door in Downing Street, he will face huge challenges. Roy Jenkins once said that he could not recall any prime minister assuming office at the end of a long period of one-party rule who proved able to make anything decent of it. He was thinking of Alec Douglas-Home, Jim Callaghan and John Major I suppose. Since Jenkins’s death, Gordon Brown is another one who reinforces his point. Even if Sunak proves himself adept at lion taming, horse whispering and snake charming, he will lead a party of which the electorate is growing very weary. Many of the problems, especially energy derive from failures by David Cameron’s government or earlier and are not likely to be easy to sort out.
If Britain finds it difficult to deal with the United States under Sleepy Joe Biden, it is almost certain that the election in 2024 will install in the White House, Donald Trump or somebody like him, who ‘does not do allies.’ What then? A new prime minister might however, begin to renew some sort of relationship with our European neighbours, such as is impossible under Johnson. He could rebuild the electorate’s faith in what is said by those in charge and make promises that he has at least some slight aspiration to fulfil. He can be trusted with money, both his own and other people’s. He seems to possess moral authority, a quality that should still matter for people who aspire to rule.
Over the last decade, Britons – or at least most of them – seemed to have it all and made self-indulgent choices accordingly. This though is a new era, in which tensions exist and there are collisions looming between ever worsening economic realities and the aspirations of a new generation to be greener, nicer and do far less hard work.
Somebody is going to have to tell young people that this has to be paid for and that workers who stay at home more should expect to be paid less. They will not like that message and will not applaud a prime minister who delivers it. But that is one among many reasons why we need a responsible leader now rather than when it is too late.
At the moment, Bunter Johnson has a chance to leave Downing Street on his own terms and return to doing what he does best – telling adoring audiences what they want to hear. As prime minister, his work is hardly done but as much of it has been accomplished as is ever likely to be while he stays on.
He surely has to go for the sake of the nation. Please Mr Johnson fall on your sword and give us all a bit of hope.