Skip to main content

Alas poor Boris I knew him well

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who fled the scene following the Brexit vote in the referendum in 2016 has now rejoined the fray.  He rode into battle waving his new book and stating what we all knew, that Boris Johnson doesn't believe a word of what it is that Boris says about Brexit. 

David Cameron knows Boris well, alas. They were at Oxford together in the notorious Bullingdon Club, noted for its wealthy members, grand banquets, boisterous rituals, and somewhat destructive behaviour, including the vandalisation of restaurants and students' rooms.  Wrecking things is for them a strategy, good fun for the elitists they feel they are.  I suppose that is why Boris has set about wrecking our constitution.  

Meanwhile, students at Boris Johnson's former Oxford College have launched a petition calling for him to be banned from College grounds. 

I have no doubt, if I were a student at Balliol, I would support this motion…well almost…I would, however, question its legality and its wording. Can one really ban someone from Balliol? And if so, on what grounds can one do so? What are the consequences, and what is it trying to achieve?

It might make one feel good, but I don’t think it gets us anywhere. We are tactically being outwitted by master tacticians. This will simply play into their narrative.

They have done a blinder of prestidigitation. Boris and his cronies are the embodiment of the elite and privileged, and yet they have appealed to voters who feel that the elite and privileged have let them down, and turned their backs on them, or worse - ’they are in it for themselves'. Such voters are not going to be impressed by ‘a bunch’ of ‘elite and privileged’ students calling on their college to ban Boris. What better way to show that Boris is indeed the anti-establishment figure!

Meanwhile, the opposition forces continue to be disunited and unable to consolidate behind a clear strategy. This is why the general election, when it comes, is likely to produce a worse result than the one we now have. In short, it will be a mess.

You only need to go to ’the other Oxford’, the Oxford to find the reaction to this. It is the voice that never finds its way onto the platform that is ‘Voices from Oxford’, but we ignore it at our peril. Of course, Oxford voted overwhelmingly to remain. It was an oasis of joy in an otherwise miserable night of the referendum results. There were others, but we have failed to find a way of representing that voice.

After the result of the referendum, all three main parties accepted the result. It would have been inconceivable that they would not have done so. We are where we are because they could not find the next step, which was to support a deal and put it back to the people. It was instead like the charge of the light brigade. First, they fell over themselves outbidding each other o on how to move forward.

Those such as Chuka Umunna were amongst the first to urge acceptance of the referendum and for Corbyn to back the idea of a customs union etc. The Liberal Democrats followed suit. Onward, onward, rode the six hundred! Canons to the left of them and canons to the right.  I have chosen the word canon, not cannon. Never in the course of human history had so few made so many mistakes in such a short time….oops mixing things up there a bit.

That would not be so bad, but we see them making the same sorry mistakes again and again. A minority government has been able to outplay them. That is odd given that the majority of Parliament would remain in the EU. The majority have also voted against no-deal. Yet we seem stuck…The parliamentary arithmetic is the problem, and despite everything, the government still controls much of the agenda.

It is not at all helpful for political parties to start announcing they won’t work with others! Yet another tactical mistake as they seek to further polarise voters in or out. They want a referendum, yet want to immediately revoke article 50. That doesn’t go down well with voters. It looks like saying we are going to be in regardless. Of course, I would revoke article 50, but you see, it is about perceptions. We seem not to have learned the lesson of Trump's victory in the USA. Populism is challenging to counter. It isn’t really countered by a few chaps saying “I say, let’s pass a motion banning Boris’.

There is a fascinating history of Oxford passing resolutions. I am sure the press will render up the vote taken in 1933 on the motion “This house will under no circumstances fight for its King and country,” which passed resoundingly. I am sure many of that house regardless of how they voted did indeed fight for King and Country in 1939-45.

Having said all this, the young need to find a voice before it is too late. This is very much a generational thing. My generation, the baby boomers, have taken what we could from the benefits of our membership of the EU and are now wrecking the economy and the prospects for the next generation.

One of my neighbours, a life-long Tory, told me yesterday that they should have stopped anyone over 55 from voting. He had a point, but he knew he was making the point not seriously advocating it.

I feel sure Boris doesn’t really want a no-deal Brexit, but he has trapped himself in that narrative. To sell no-deal as ‘good for Britain’ is both irresponsible and a folly. So, will Boris try to wriggle a deal? He could only do so by concessions on the Irish border problem. How ironic it would be if he ends up presenting Mrs May’s deal. There shall be thunder and lightning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

Work Capability Assessments cause suffering for the mentally ill

People suffering from mental health problems are often the most vulnerable when seeking help. Mental health can have a major impact on work, housing, relationships and finances. The Work Capability Assessments (WCA) thus present a particular challenge to those suffering mental illness.  The mentally ill also are often the least able to present their case. Staff involved in assessments lack sufficient expertise or training to understand mental health issues and how they affect capability. Because of  concerns that Work Capability Assessments will have a particularly detrimental effect on the mentally ill,  an  e-petition  on the government web site calls on the Department of Work and Pensions to exclude people with complex mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorders. Problems with the WCA  have been highlighted in general by the fact that up to 78% of 'fit to work' decisions are  being overturned on appeal. It is all to the good that they