Monday, 20 May 2019

Who Does He Think He Is?

Imagine, if you will, that Boris Johnson really did become Prime Minister. No one has done so in 40 years and counting without some kind of endorsement from Michael Heseltine, whose view of Jeremy Corbyn is, "We have survived Labour Governments in the past and we would survive that one." But bear with me.

The United Kingdom has a population of 66 million, yet 13 years of New Labour would have led into a decade during which two out of three Prime Ministers had been at the same secondary school at the same time. This was not that country when I was a teenager. It went that way in my twenties, under Tony Blair. As the original plummy-voiced and "confident" Know Nothing of the modern era, Blair was the prototype for Johnson, and for David Cameron between them.

Since the media have remained as much like that as ever, and since newspapers and broadcasters still had huge influence in those days, Blair's accent and "bearing" had enabled him to elbow aside the man who had taught him everything that he knew (although certainly not everything that Gordon Brown knew), then to defeat two vastly more experienced candidates for Leader of the Labour Party, and then to spend three General Elections swatting aside a garden gnome manufacturer's son from Brixton, a comprehensive schoolboy with a Yorkshire accent, and a grammar school Jew from Swansea. All three of them were far more intelligent and cultured than he was.

We are still living in Blair's Britain, the only country in which Johnson could hope to become Prime Minister. By the way, I do not care that Johnson has a Classics degree from Oxford. A First in Classics from Oxford would have been impressive. But a 2:1 in anything from anywhere is just a 2:1. He is just one of us, and the streets are lined with us. His book on Churchill was so bad that it would simply have failed to have found a publisher if it had been written by anybody else, and his forthcoming book on Shakespeare promises to be even worse.

Also forthcoming, however, is another hung Parliament, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email Very many thanks.

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