From Freedom News UK
I’ve been thinking recently about the various themes that I’ve written about since starting this regular column for Freedom in 2016. I try really hard not to repeat myself too much but history has a way of making that pretty tough. These are the themes I think will recur time and again in 2022.
David Cameron was prime minister when I started this column. Lots of us spent the early part of the last decade campaigning against austerity on the basis that it was nasty and killing people. We can also add that it was incompetent and ideological. It was a neoliberal policy he probably would have put into operation anyway but it was trailed as a response to a banking crisis. This was astonishing incompetence. The idea that you solve an international banking crisis by slashing public services is just ludicrous.
I once thought that Theresa May would go down in history as the worst prime minister the UK had ever had. The problem with such pronouncements is that: a) there is no agreed definition of what makes a prime minister wretched, and b) someone could always come along and do a worse job. Looking back, May’s biggest mistake was calling for an election in 2017; an election which she lost but in which she just clung onto power. Well, for two years at least. Enter, Boris Johnson.
Johnson is not one for detail. He is also not one for scrutiny. Handling the detail and handling the scrutiny that comes with the role are obvious key skills. The fact that he doesn’t have these skills often works in his favour but his lacking in them will ultimately make his fall from power spectacular. The two skills dovetail. Being on top of the detail means that you can handle the scrutiny. The reason this doesn’t always matter is because most of the time, the general population doesn’t care what is going on in politics. How much did the PM pay on his Downing Street wallpaper? Whose money was it? These are questions that many people couldn’t give a monkey’s about.
There are times that the public really start to get interested in the things government are doing. At the end of 2021 the idea that people in government were doing things during lockdown which they weren’t allowed to do really struck a nerve. People unable to say goodbye to dying relatives in hospitals, while Johnson and others quaffed wine at parties, against the Covid rules, really cuts through to people. These moments, caused by Johnson’s incompetence are also compounded by it via the ridiculous explanations and decisions emanating from his office.