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After the Tory damage is done: ‘Forgive me, forgive me’… November 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading Martin Kettle’s piece here in the Guardian where he dissects the Johnson and his behaviour in recent weeks one has to admit whether one likes Kettle or not, that he has a point. Anyone who saw the footage of Johnson’s speech at the CBI or read the transcript (here) will have seen what was without question one of the strangest performances by a British PM in recent memory. It wasn’t simply the trite neologisms ‘bouncebackability‘, the trite sub-populist tone (“Battersea, of course, is a great funkapolitan hive of cafes and restaurants and hotels and homes, thanks to the vision of the former mayor.“) or even the manner in which he so clearly stated the position of enterprise as against human life:

You all look far too young and thrusting to need a booster but get your booster as soon as you can because it is by vaccinating our country that we have been able to get your staff back to their place of work, to open our theatres, our restaurants and to get back for longer now than any other comparator country to something like normal life; even if we are still bumping elbows and wearing masks.

Nor was it the risible point where he lauded Peppa Pig (“no government in the world – no Whitehall civil servant in the world – could conceivably have come up with Peppa.“)or where he lost his place:

And, with safer streets, with great local schools, with fantastic broadband …

[Lost it]

[Uhhh]

[Forgive me]

[Forgive me]

[Forgive me]

… people will have the confidence to stay nearer the place they grew up to start business and business will have the confidence to invest.

It was the whole self-referential mess that was the problem. The sense of utter self-regard and indifference to the reality beyond himself. The fact that he was unserious, unprofessional (never keen on the p word but here it has a place). The fact it contained nothing of substance, nothing really but empty boosterism.

Phil in comments here on the CLR sums up the problems perfectly:

As well as being a laissez-faire libertarian and a Social Darwinian who believes that certain people “naturally” rise to the top – and, by extension, certain others naturally fall by the wayside – Johnson is a con-artist. His consistent MO, established years before he entered politics, is to court popularity by telling people whatever they want to hear, on the basis that he can always do something different if he has to (and lie about it if he’s caught out). Any of those character traits would be undesirable in a PM, but having all three is disastrous – and I think you could see all three in the announcement of an arbitrary date back in July as “Freedom Day”, and the public commitment never to reimpose the restrictions that had been lifted. It made public health a matter of individual choice, and it was only the weakest who were going to suffer anyway; most importantly, it was what people wanted to hear.

The question is, how badly does this impact the Tories politically? And how does a broader sense of a Tory administration in some degree of crisis over corruption and other issues fare as problems like this mount up?

The only clear(ish) indicator we have to offer even a vague sense of the answer to these questions is polling. And the chart here is most interesting.  Since 8th of November we begin to see Labour ahead in 7 polls, level in 3 polls and behind the Tories in 4 polls. As noted before, it’s not red revolution or anything like it – this is after all Starmer’s Labour, but… it does suggest that the Tory leads have been softer than might be expected. And look at the overall trends since April of this year where Tory support has been sliding. Something is going on, that’s for sure.

Comments»

1. benmadigan - November 30, 2021

Johnson just repeated his message “Fuck Britain” in his Peppa Pig speech to the CBI.
Since the laws this UK Govt is attempting to get through parliament amount to little more than Brexitification of the UK (weakening the business lobby, privatising the NHS, raising National Insurance contributions,wiping the slate clean in NI with an amnesty and an “official history” etc ), I doubt if any Conservative and Labour MP that supports Brexit will do anything to oust Mr Johnson

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benmadigan - November 30, 2021

Correction!
“Johnson just repeated his message “Fuck Business” in his Peppa Pig speech to the CBI.”

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WorldbyStorm - December 1, 2021

It’s interesting how compliant the CBI et al have broadly been throughout all this. Got to think that’s because even they were intimidated by the sort of discourse that appeared on foot of Brexit.

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