WHAT sort of fool is still worked up about something former part-time prime minister Boris Johnson said or did; or, indeed, about the latest poison pearl from the lips of full-time nasty person cum Home Secretary Suella Braverman?
Oh, I know the answer to that one. It’s me, however much I say think of something else, switch to another mental channel – move on.
Does smarting at Johnsonian mendacity or Braverman’s cruel snippets change anything? Almost certainly not. They still swim in the deep ocean like weirdo creatures hogging the cameras in the latest David Attenborough documentary.
As the Covid inquiry continues, many lurid details are being sketched in about Johnson, of whom his former fellow Tory minister David Gauke says: “Whatever his electoral appeal, Boris Johnson was wholly incapable of doing the job.”
Ah, now you tell us.
What should have been clear as glass all along is that Johnson never was the decent leader we needed. Instead, during the pandemic we were lumbered with a lethally unreliable, egotistical shuffle-bum who changed his mind all the time, was always distracted and swerved from one thing to another.
Johnson is yet to appear before the inquiry, although the picture being painted of his premiership is already devastating. Here are two scraps flapping in the angry wind.
One: Johnson apparently thought that old people should “accept their fate” and die. Did he include his own father in this cruel calculation – who knows?
Two: in a Trumpian moment to rival the former US president wondering out loud if bleach wouldn’t wash away the virus, Johnson reportedly asked leading scientists Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance if Covid could be destroyed by blowing a hairdryer up the nose. As he’d seen on a YouTube video.
I feel an incidentally coming on, and here it is. During the pandemic Johnson’s government cooked up a wheeze to give millions of our pounds to newspaper groups, some of them run by billionaires who might be said to have a flexible approach to paying taxes.
The scheme/wheeze was an advertising and information campaign called “All In, All Together”.
And here’s a not very funny thing. The Mail was among media groups apparently given public millions, and as soon as Johnson was eased out of Downing Street for general uselessness, the paper gave him a column for a reported £1m a year.
Can such a ridiculous figure be true? And if it is, doesn’t it stink that Johnson deflected our money to the Mail (and other groups, including the Guardian – shame on them) and then the Mail gives Johnson a million back, or so the story goes.
Call it sour grapes if you wish, but Johnson isn’t even a good columnist, just a showy juggler of coloured balls.
Anyway, now he is also joining GB News, reportedly for another high sum. Rich right-wingers just love to shovel money into Johnson’s pockets, never mind how incompetent he was in office. The more he fails, the wealthier he becomes. It’s like he’s on a posh supermarket dash, cramming as much cash as he can into his swerving trolley.
As for Braverman, the Home Secretary – and honestly, I wouldn’t have her anywhere near mine – told the Financial Times that people sleeping rough was a “lifestyle choice”. She wants to crack down on tents being pitched in urban areas, as they are mostly lived in by people “from abroad”.
To describe extreme poverty and homelessness as a “lifestyle choice” is a stinker even for her. A “lifestyle” is glossy magazines and expensive adverts. It’s nice holidays and tins of posh paint with silly names. Fast cars and slow morals. Private medicine and public schools if you have the money.
Not ending up sleeping in a tent.
As organisations including Crisis, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s and Pathway said in a joint letter (Guardian, November 5): “Sleeping on the street is not a lifestyle choice. Laying blame with people forced to sleep rough will only push people further away from help into poverty, putting them at risk of exploitation. At the extreme end, we will see an increase in deaths and fatalities, which are totally preventable.”
Once again we are back with the “undeserving poor”, as defined by the 1834 English Poor Law and deployed ever since by harsh commentors to suggest that poor people are feckless, work-shy, and not worthy of our help (unlike the undeserving rich such as Johnson, who just get whatever they want).
And when you think Braverman can’t get any worse, she also wants to fine charities if they supply tents to homeless people, while insisting this is what “the law-abiding majority wants”. This member of the law-abiding majority certainly doesn’t want that.