Sunday, 26 June 2022
The Wood For The Trees
Anyone who doubts that Boris Johnson has always intended to be a three-term Prime Minister need look no further than his scheme to build his two-year-old son a tree house in the grounds of Chequers, where he clearly plans to be living for at least another 10 years.
The people who say that Johnson is delusional have been saying for quite some time that they were moving against him. They never seem to move very far. For much of her first term, Margaret Thatcher was massively unpopular with the public and with significant sections of her party. For much of her second term, too.
Speaking of three-term Prime Ministers, Johnson's openly and publicly corrupt relationship with Lord Brownlow makes me quite nostalgic for the man whose tied cottage was Chequers from when I was a little short of 20 to when I was a little short of 30. Would that I had kept my clothes from the days of Lord Levy and the Hindujas.
Talk about the Magic Money Tree. Brownlow offered Breadline Boris more than twice the salary of an engine driver, and very nearly twice the salary of Mick Lynch, to get little Wilfred onto the property ladder. And of course it is not the engine drivers who are in dispute. In many a Red Wall town, a non-tree house can cost less than £150,000. But if you were, for example, a striking railway worker, then you would still be unable to afford one.
Yet David Lammy and Keir Starmer denounce their fellow Members of Parliament who stand on picket lines with the RMT, even though they themselves rightly stood on the picket lines of the University and College Union, which is no more affiliated to the Labour Party than the RMT is, and which unlike the RMT never has been.
Unite, which is my union, remains affiliated, yet Lammy has today given "a categorical no" when asked to express his solidarity with our comrades at Heathrow. Believe it when you see it, but if a further six Conservative MPs really are going to defect to Labour on, as ever, no policy grounds whatever, then will they be joining Lammy and Starmer on the picket lines of their fellow barristers? Or will the position of all eight remain that "a serious party of government does not join picket lines", but seeks instead a Progressive Alliance with the Liberal Democrats, who have today called for the Army to break the strikes?