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Boris Johnson’s theatre of the absurd The former PM could only wink at voters for so long

Unmasked. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Unmasked. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty


June 12, 2023   8 mins

Early one spring morning during the pandemic, I was in the Queen’s private plane on the tarmac of Belfast International Airport watching Boris Johnson frantically searching for the No. 10 mask his team wanted him to wear. He was full of “Ahs!” and “Ohs?” and “I must have it here somewheres!”, as he emptied his pockets. Then, he found one. He pulled out one of those blue-and-white disposable masks that you are only supposed to wear once and then throw away. This one looked like it had been used before.

Luckily, one of his aides had brought a spare and handed it over. “Ah, sorry,” he mumbled apologetically before disembarking. As I followed him down the steps, I noticed the straps of that unwanted blue mask hanging out of his jacket pocket, flapping in the wind.

I often think back to this moment when reflecting on everything that has happened since: the scandal and resignation, the attempted comeback and, finally, his angry, conspiratorial departure from parliament last week. For me, the Belfast airport mask has become a kind of metaphor, representing both Johnson’s own chaotic nature and that of his premiership. It has become the scene I return to as I consider those strange months in 2021, when the country was in various states of lockdown and I was spending my time going in and out of Downing Street to profile the prime minister.

Never during this time did I witness any overt rule breaking — no parties nor secret gatherings, no bottles of wine, no abandoned slices of cake. But what I did see was a strange performative obedience to the rules that differed inside and outside No 10, as typified by this moment in Belfast, and which, I think, helps to explain the extraordinary rise and fall of Boris Johnson.

It is worth pausing, though, to reflect on the extraordinary arc of his story. Three and a half years ago, Johnson won the biggest Conservative majority for 40 years. A month later, he took Britain out of the European Union. And a few months after that, almost died of Covid-19. By March 2021, when we arrived in Northern Ireland, Johnson seemed unassailable: here was a Prime Minister with an 80-seat majority, leading Labour in the polls, and seemingly on course for a decade in power.

Johnson talked openly to me about needing a long time in power to deliver his agenda. And yet, today, he is not only not Prime Minister, but he is no longer a Member of Parliament. His political career seems dead.

There has never been a fall from power quite as spectacular. Perhaps Anthony Eden is the most obvious parallel; he left office after the disaster of Suez but upon the order of his doctors. A better example, I think, might be David Lloyd George, the “dynamic force” of his age who could not grow old gracefully. In truth, though, neither Eden nor Lloyd George’s downfall were quite as absurd, complete or sudden as Johnson’s.

My trip to Northern Ireland came at a time when fairly draconian restrictions about what you could and could not do were still in place. Only a few weeks earlier, the prime minister had announced a “roadmap” out of lockdown: for the first time, it was possible to meet one other person outside your household for “coffee on a bench or a picnic in a park”. Looking back, what strikes me is just how all-consuming these rules had become — and yet, when I crossed the threshold into No 10, or joined the prime minister on a visit, a sense of normality reasserted itself.

I still remember the feeling of unease as I sat on the flight to Belfast maskless; a feeling that disappeared remarkably quickly as normality reimposed itself. To join the trip, everyone had been tested in a room set aside in some discreet corner of Downing Street: none of us had Covid on the flight. Yet even though we had been travelling maskless inside a flying metal tube, once we arrived, Johnson had had to put on his mask to go outside. This was the theatre of the absurd we were all inhabiting at the time.

I don’t offer this memory as an excuse for the revelations about Johnson’s behaviour which would eventually cost him his job, though perhaps I do offer it as some kind of atmospheric mitigation. The truth is, once you crossed the threshold of No 10 during the pandemic, you really did feel as though you were entering a different world. This is not just because of a failure of leadership, though of course that existed. It is because during this time, when the rest of us were sat at home figuring out how to escape our houses within the rules, in Downing Street, a large group of people were working together in close proximity every day, catching Covid, taking tests, travelling on public transport. Evidently, this bred a degree of complacency — and, I would argue, quiet contempt — for the rules they themselves were setting. The fact is, Johnson was plainly imposing rules on others that he himself did not believe in. He saw their absurdity and could not bring himself to play along convincingly.

This, I think, lies at the centre of what would become known as “Partygate”, the scandal which would cost him everything. The irony of Johnson’s fall is that it can be explained, in part, because he failed in the performance of the job as much as anything. On the plane in Northern Ireland, Johnson was only doing what he had always done: a daily, performative mockery of authority. Only this time, he was the authority — they were his rules.

The thing is, a central part of the job of any prime minister is performative: projecting qualities such as empathy and bravery, understanding and control. Being prime minister is about much more than bureaucratic management or efficient decision-making. In moments of national crisis, a prime minister has to shape people’s understanding of what is happening to them and to show them how things will improve.

During the Manchester terror attacks in 2017, Theresa May remained behind closed doors, working as hard as she could to keep people safe. In many ways, it was admirable. Yet, by staying in London rather than joining mourners in Manchester, she failed in her job. She was still acting as Home Secretary, not Prime Minister. What is odd, reflecting on Johnson’s premiership, is that so did he, albeit for very different reasons.

The philosopher John Gray told me that the key to understanding Johnson was that the “mask has moulded to the face”.  Just as we all have our public and private personas, so does Johnson. But with him, the chaos and mockery, jokes and shallowness, are both real and performative. This is the key to understanding Johnson. He uses chaos to distract; but he is also chaotic to the point at which he undermined his entire premiership.

Johnson once described Benjamin Disraeli as “the greatest of all Tory magicians”, the heir to what he saw as his conservative tradition — and with some justification. Disraeli’s greatest biographer, Lord Blake, described him as “a slightly mocking observer surveying with sceptical amusement the very stage upon which he himself played a principal part”. It is hard to think of a better description of Johnson himself. For Disraeli, this performance “aroused an inextinguishable repugnance among those moderate, serious, high-minded middle-of-the-road men” who dominated British politics. The same is true for Johnson. As Disraeli himself wrote: “The British People being subject to fogs and possessing a powerful Middle Class require grave statesmen.” The problem for Johnson was that he was never a grave statesman.

For a long time, the times were not grave, and Johnson’s mocking observations worked for him. I remember the moments after he bounded down the stairs in Belfast, straight into the meet and greets that are a prime minister’s daily life, offering almost clownishly over-performed elbow bumps, making everyone laugh. I noticed that whenever he left a group of people, they would immediately begin laughing with each other as they chatted, spirits lifted by their brief encounter with celebrity buffoonery.

Johnson’s mocking cynicism was both his superpower and his shield. Writing in the LRB a decade ago, the novelist Jonathan Coe spotted that Johnson was the inevitable product of decades of cynical satirical humour in which politicians were treated as nothing better than absurd blowhards. “These days, every politician is a laughing-stock,” Coe wrote, “and the laughter which occasionally used to illuminate the dark corners of the political world with dazzling, unexpected shafts of hilarity has become an unthinking reflex on our part, a tired Pavlovian reaction to situations that are too difficult or too depressing to think about clearly.” Johnson’s skill was to understand this and to get in on the act, becoming his own satirist, safe in the knowledge that “the best way to make sure the satire aimed at you is gentle and unchallenging is to create it yourself”. But as the late Barry Humphries put it, when everyone is being satirical and everything is a send-up, “there’s an infuriating frivolity, cynicism and finally a vacuousness” to life. And into this vacuousness came Johnson.

While Coe gets close as to the source of Johnson’s power, I think he misses a wider point. Poking fun at the hommes sĂ©rieux of our world was particularly attractive because of the failures of these serious men (and women). Johnson rose to prominence in the world that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, when ideological disputes seemed to have been settled and political battles were apparently being fought along managerial lines: about what worked and who was most competent to manage the system. It was a time of great hope and great projects: letting China into the WTO, expanding the EU, using Western military might to change the world — all apparently un-ideological and “evidence-based” but in fact just as faith-based as any other project in history.

Yet this world gave us the Iraq war, the 2008 financial crisis, the implosion of the Arab world, mass, unexpected immigration, austerity and eventually Brexit. After 2016, Johnson rose to prominence mocking the egos of the establishment that presided over this mess, eventually grabbing power at the height of its failure. His opportunity came because of the failures of the political class at home and abroad.

One of Johnson’s problems — perhaps his inescapable problem — is that he then became part of that failed political class. Only for so long can a prime minister wink at voters with wry, sceptical amusement at the unseriousness of his own government.

His brand of wry, mocking humour no longer suits the age. The world has moved on, but Johnson has not. Take a look at his resignation statement on Friday — a document that sounded far more like it was written by Donald Trump, full of conspiratorial anger and recrimination, than the old Boris Johnson. But Johnson without the humour is not so potent. And besides, Johnson himself no longer seems to represent the kind of insurgent populism he is now positioning himself to embody — his message neither populist nor popular.

Trump, that other populist who uses humour as a political weapon, in contrast, rails against China and puberty blockers, far-away wars and the Washington elite. His message and his humour has not changed. Johnson, however, talks as if the conservatism he stood for was some kind of conservatism of old: free-trade deals and tax cuts. This is the message many in his party want to hear, but not what won him power. Where is the Johnson who put up taxes and demanded a more interventionist Treasury to “level up” the country?

Oddly, Trump’s humour has aged better than Johnson’s — that of the playground bully, not the wry observer. Trump’s is brutal, crude, powerful, effective and as potent as ever. Johnson, on the other hand, seems to have lost his, at least for now. He is too angry to maintain the performance.

It would be unwise to rule out Johnson completely. Like Lloyd George, Johnson is a “dynamic force” who remains popular among Conservative party members. And as Stanley Baldwin put it, dynamic forces are terrible things. Should Labour make good on its poll lead today and win the next election, there will no doubt be a clamour for Johnson to return among some members of the Tory party

Johnson’s great skill was to be able to harness the populist revolt without losing his old “middle-of-the-road men” of England who the Conservative Party had long relied on. In this he was helped enormously by the figure of Jeremy Corbyn and the failures of parliament to enact the result of the referendum. Yet this trick looks impossible for him to pull off again. Johnson without humour is a different beast altogether; Johnson without humour and populism is even more so. We sank giggling into the sea; I’m not sure you can do so twice.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago

For me, Boris Johnson turned out to be something of a disappointment, because fate appointed him the agent to deliver change in a tumultuous age, and he failed to deliver. He wasn’t bad, but a rather ordinary technocrat of the type that are ten a penny these days, and very far from the political giant that you might have thought providence would have picked for itself. He’s a version of the Kung Fu Panda who never actually got round to learning any Kung Fu. Another figure he also reminds me of is Brian from LoB.

Having said all that, I think he has been treated absolutely disgustingly, by both his political opponents and his supposed colleagues (I don’t say on the left and on the right, because those labels are meaningless these days, as they all look like one big blob to me). He may have been a tad laissez-faire with the truth on occasion but he’s a politician, and in truth I don’t see any difference with either the sanctimonious left who loathed him (the pantheon of graun writers come to mind), or the sanctimonious technocratic right who loathed him even more (the likes of Gauke and Rory Stuart come to mind), the bunch of hypocrites. He may be have operated double standards on a few pifflingly minor issues (parties during lockdown etc) but so what, he’s a Tory, and by now I’m sure everyone knows what you get when you elect a Tory, so no one has any excuses to now cry foul.

Instead of a Gulliver bestriding Lilliput, we have had a rather ordinary politician brought low by midget colleagues at least as ordinary, but this, to my eyes, is not how you make and break a Prime Minister in any circumstances, and this applies as much to Truss as to Johnson. It even applies as much to Sturgeon, even if as a politician I don’t like her at all. That these extraordinary events have unfolded now is to me symptomatic of a second-tranche loss of deference, following on from the first-tranche in the sixties and seventies, and this time it’s not for the people holding office, but the office itself.

What is clear to me, is that none of this can possibly come cost free – and the cost is bound to fall on all of the denizens of the Westminster ecosystem, be they politician or bureaucrat or NGO grifter. Because of course they surely cannot be deluded enough to think that what they have visited upon Johnson, won’t in turn be visited on themselves eventually. They have been participating in a revolution without even knowing it, but as we know, revolutions eat their own children.

Last edited 11 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I see first hand how goverment departments not only have developed their own political agenda but disobey and ignore Ministers when there is a policy difference. Most recently, departments have begun openly attacking Ministers, going so far as to conspire with MPs and the media, through leaks and carefully planned policy failures, to have them weakened, isolated or even removed.

Pliable, promotion-seeking MPs on all sides sense the opportunity and facilitate the departments. A highly politicised media sees this as an easy way to secure the political changes they want.

The proliferation of executive jobs (paying multiples of an MP salary) in goverment quangos was once championed as a means of getting private sector involvement in the public sector. Now these positions, decided by departmental committee, are openly traded as favours in return for compliance and acquiescence of MPs.

The representatives of our democracy must now yield to the centralised authority of Whitehall. This is nothing short of the destruction of democracy.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The contention that it’s all the fault of the Civil service et al is rubbish. Even Osborne last wk was telling Tories ”We’ve been in office since 2010, we’re in charge of our country’s destiny, and we should stop blaming others if we don’t get things right”.
What the blame game highlights is the inherit laziness in many Right Wing politicians and often their supporters (usually alot of examples here on Unherd each day too). They love slogans but not the hard yards of detailed policy formulation and navigation through Parliament. Never clearer than in the car crash of recent immigration policy and in fact pretty much anything re: Brexit opportunities. Remember David Davis sitting in the negotiations with Barnier with nothing prepped and no folders nowhere near on top of his brief – a metaphor for everything that followed. More recently Mogg saying we’re burn 4.5k bits of EU legislation but doing absolutely no work on it (At least Kemi got her head down now and working through the detail). Where are the Tory policies on Housing, training, industrial strategy, education etc? 13 years they’ve had.
There is huge laziness through the core of the Right, which is why they look for a scapegoat. Pathetic.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re onto something there. I expect it’s true that all policians are lazy and are tempted to follow the ‘experts’. The so-called Right Wing are as bad, offering easy slogans but no coherent ideas. Johnson is a case in point, calling for a return to ‘proper conservatism’ which for him is just low taxes, deregulation and free trade – which he still couldn’t deliver.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

I disagree that all politicians are lazy. Many are incredibly hard working in a job that doesn’t pay v well and has alot of personal cost. And they will question experts. Some of the Cmttee work in Parliament calling experts into to explain and be questioned is first class but often drowned out by other psycho-drama and those clever with slogans but low on substance and graft.
I think the role of experts and their advice going to a v important part of the Covid Inquiry. Time for scrutiny got limited and rapid decisions were needed. The great Statesmen and women when placed in such scenarios look to surround themselves with a range of opinions even if they don’t always like all those views to help hone effective decision making. We’ll find out how and if that happened during the Pandemic.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Stoater D
Stoater D
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“A job that doesn’t pay very well.”
You are having a laugh aren’t you ?

Stoater D
Stoater D
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“A job that doesn’t pay very well.”
You are having a laugh aren’t you ?

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

I disagree that all politicians are lazy. Many are incredibly hard working in a job that doesn’t pay v well and has alot of personal cost. And they will question experts. Some of the Cmttee work in Parliament calling experts into to explain and be questioned is first class but often drowned out by other psycho-drama and those clever with slogans but low on substance and graft.
I think the role of experts and their advice going to a v important part of the Covid Inquiry. Time for scrutiny got limited and rapid decisions were needed. The great Statesmen and women when placed in such scenarios look to surround themselves with a range of opinions even if they don’t always like all those views to help hone effective decision making. We’ll find out how and if that happened during the Pandemic.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re onto something there. I expect it’s true that all policians are lazy and are tempted to follow the ‘experts’. The so-called Right Wing are as bad, offering easy slogans but no coherent ideas. Johnson is a case in point, calling for a return to ‘proper conservatism’ which for him is just low taxes, deregulation and free trade – which he still couldn’t deliver.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Backstabbing has reached new heights !

John Murray
John Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Interesting, because my experience working in programme/project management in the Cabinet Office for a while, after years in the private sector, was the exact opposite. Fiercely ambitious civil servants keen to deliver whatever it was the minister wanted, because they saw it was the best way to advance their careers.

It’s also worth noting the churn of senior civil servants, whose faces didn’t fit with their political masters. I think the myth of the all powerful blob is a very convenient invention of incompetent politicians keen to deflect blame for their failures.

Does anyone really believe Liz Truss, say, was doing great things, in a great manner, but was stabbed in the back by the treacherous blob? Except the editor of the Daily Telegraph? Eg in the real world?

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

The blob is just populist nonsense. It’s not even a British idea. Like most stupid slogans it’s borrowed from America. It means nothing & is usually repeated by people who don’t have the nouce to advance ideas or think seriously about issues

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

The blob is just populist nonsense. It’s not even a British idea. Like most stupid slogans it’s borrowed from America. It means nothing & is usually repeated by people who don’t have the nouce to advance ideas or think seriously about issues

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

You are 100% right. But it is not an accident. It is not some spontaneous outpouring of progressive rage toward Brexit. When Blair and the EU New Order both siezed power in the 90s, they together set about the systemic demolition of the (rival to EU, unmodern to Blair) nation state. All you descrive – the creation of a permanent unelected Quangocracy or Technocracy was a de facto REVOLUTION in our governance. A 1917 moment. Nothing can overcome this New Order. The fake Tories are mainly part of it, squeaking about Net Zero & Equality & Diversity. Brexiteers were the Kulaks, with a very few hopeless hapless so called leaders like the Fool Johnson who ALL have been picked off by the Remainiacs one by one. This is the reason you read in despair about a supposed Tory Goverment allowing over 50% of Albanian asylum seekers in. The backlog us engineered and the laws all primed to subvert and impede national self interest Phrama companies are screaming to be allowed to invest and escape the EU style tax and regulation burden..but somehow Tories do nothing. The Blob..aggressively progressive pro EU and self interested rules us…AND the dwarves in any Cabinet. This is NMI in action. Power sits with them. This is the work and way of the EU’s New Order.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The contention that it’s all the fault of the Civil service et al is rubbish. Even Osborne last wk was telling Tories ”We’ve been in office since 2010, we’re in charge of our country’s destiny, and we should stop blaming others if we don’t get things right”.
What the blame game highlights is the inherit laziness in many Right Wing politicians and often their supporters (usually alot of examples here on Unherd each day too). They love slogans but not the hard yards of detailed policy formulation and navigation through Parliament. Never clearer than in the car crash of recent immigration policy and in fact pretty much anything re: Brexit opportunities. Remember David Davis sitting in the negotiations with Barnier with nothing prepped and no folders nowhere near on top of his brief – a metaphor for everything that followed. More recently Mogg saying we’re burn 4.5k bits of EU legislation but doing absolutely no work on it (At least Kemi got her head down now and working through the detail). Where are the Tory policies on Housing, training, industrial strategy, education etc? 13 years they’ve had.
There is huge laziness through the core of the Right, which is why they look for a scapegoat. Pathetic.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Backstabbing has reached new heights !

John Murray
John Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Interesting, because my experience working in programme/project management in the Cabinet Office for a while, after years in the private sector, was the exact opposite. Fiercely ambitious civil servants keen to deliver whatever it was the minister wanted, because they saw it was the best way to advance their careers.

It’s also worth noting the churn of senior civil servants, whose faces didn’t fit with their political masters. I think the myth of the all powerful blob is a very convenient invention of incompetent politicians keen to deflect blame for their failures.

Does anyone really believe Liz Truss, say, was doing great things, in a great manner, but was stabbed in the back by the treacherous blob? Except the editor of the Daily Telegraph? Eg in the real world?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

You are 100% right. But it is not an accident. It is not some spontaneous outpouring of progressive rage toward Brexit. When Blair and the EU New Order both siezed power in the 90s, they together set about the systemic demolition of the (rival to EU, unmodern to Blair) nation state. All you descrive – the creation of a permanent unelected Quangocracy or Technocracy was a de facto REVOLUTION in our governance. A 1917 moment. Nothing can overcome this New Order. The fake Tories are mainly part of it, squeaking about Net Zero & Equality & Diversity. Brexiteers were the Kulaks, with a very few hopeless hapless so called leaders like the Fool Johnson who ALL have been picked off by the Remainiacs one by one. This is the reason you read in despair about a supposed Tory Goverment allowing over 50% of Albanian asylum seekers in. The backlog us engineered and the laws all primed to subvert and impede national self interest Phrama companies are screaming to be allowed to invest and escape the EU style tax and regulation burden..but somehow Tories do nothing. The Blob..aggressively progressive pro EU and self interested rules us…AND the dwarves in any Cabinet. This is NMI in action. Power sits with them. This is the work and way of the EU’s New Order.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Calling Boris Johnson an “ordinary technocrat” is a tad misguided. Technocrats are distinguished by their commitment to order and detail and stickling compliance with The Rules…none of which were/are defining features of The Boris.
And “ordinary” is not an adjective I would ever attach to him. Sui generis, more like.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

He is indeed Sui generis as an individual, but it turns out, ordinary as a leader and administrator. He craved being liked to such an extent that it hampered his own independent judgement. He may not have been ‘spreadsheet Boris’ but he may as well have been, given the extent to which he handed over decision-making to the army of ‘spreadsheet Phils’ running around Whitehall and the cabinet colleagues around him. He could impose his will on the electoral process (for which ability he was used by the Conservative Party even though they were always suspicious of him) but he didn’t manage to impose his will on the governance of the country to take it in a different direction – and here I’m being charitable in assuming that he wanted to and would have but for unfaithful colleagues and servants.

Last edited 11 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Isn’t the order, detail and follow through the job of departments ? Does one need to be the vision AND the bureaucrat all in one ?

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Therein lies the problem – a complete failure to understand the mechanics of governing and just assuming a few bits of visionary waffle and hey presto everything gets done.
Ministers have to formulate policy and make decisions, often tough ones, every day.
Let’s give you an example – Braverman receives a report her asylum seeker processing capacity is now overloaded and can she agree the expenditure to expand it – both facilities and staff. Her HO budget is already max’d out so she has to go and make case to Treasury and PM. She delays doing that as doesn’t want to be seen as profligate Minster who can’t live within her budget and she also chooses to spend time waffling on about Rwanda and the lack of British values in these refugees instead. In the meantime system starts to implode behind her through lack of decision making that Ministers exist to make.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

But what about fact that a WFH hostile Home Office bureaucracy were creating a backlog but processing barely 1 appilication a week!!!!! An accident? The fact their trade union us taking the decision maker to court to challenge the legitimacy of Rwanda decision suggests the problems do not just lie with the Executive. It is not a lazy excuse for the abject performance of the Tories. There is a systemic issue in play. In lockdown Ministers – who smazo gly did not RUN the NHS or PHE – openly cried, we are pulling every lever and nothing is happening! That is the Plan.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

But what about fact that a WFH hostile Home Office bureaucracy were creating a backlog but processing barely 1 appilication a week!!!!! An accident? The fact their trade union us taking the decision maker to court to challenge the legitimacy of Rwanda decision suggests the problems do not just lie with the Executive. It is not a lazy excuse for the abject performance of the Tories. There is a systemic issue in play. In lockdown Ministers – who smazo gly did not RUN the NHS or PHE – openly cried, we are pulling every lever and nothing is happening! That is the Plan.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Therein lies the problem – a complete failure to understand the mechanics of governing and just assuming a few bits of visionary waffle and hey presto everything gets done.
Ministers have to formulate policy and make decisions, often tough ones, every day.
Let’s give you an example – Braverman receives a report her asylum seeker processing capacity is now overloaded and can she agree the expenditure to expand it – both facilities and staff. Her HO budget is already max’d out so she has to go and make case to Treasury and PM. She delays doing that as doesn’t want to be seen as profligate Minster who can’t live within her budget and she also chooses to spend time waffling on about Rwanda and the lack of British values in these refugees instead. In the meantime system starts to implode behind her through lack of decision making that Ministers exist to make.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

He is indeed Sui generis as an individual, but it turns out, ordinary as a leader and administrator. He craved being liked to such an extent that it hampered his own independent judgement. He may not have been ‘spreadsheet Boris’ but he may as well have been, given the extent to which he handed over decision-making to the army of ‘spreadsheet Phils’ running around Whitehall and the cabinet colleagues around him. He could impose his will on the electoral process (for which ability he was used by the Conservative Party even though they were always suspicious of him) but he didn’t manage to impose his will on the governance of the country to take it in a different direction – and here I’m being charitable in assuming that he wanted to and would have but for unfaithful colleagues and servants.

Last edited 11 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Isn’t the order, detail and follow through the job of departments ? Does one need to be the vision AND the bureaucrat all in one ?

Stevie K
Stevie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Absolutely masterful Prashant. Thank you for expressing so clearly many of the key elements of our current predicament. So many pithy and humorous points. I think we have permanently departed from that charming End of History delusion. These transitions of empire can take many decades to resolve, so detachment becomes a crucial life skill for our times.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Johnson did not secure a victory for the Conservative Party, nor for his personal style and ideas. Neither. The election was secured by the people voting as a bloc to defeat the sickening anti Democratic Remainiac Coup and to deliver the mandated exit from the EU…and to choke off rule by a pro IRA madman called Corbyn. The Fool Johnson’s political ideology was so wildly metro/ultra liberal/woke, he has cemented – with high taxes, furlough insanity and NHS First largesse – GDR style Socialism into the DNA of the UK – and with it guaranteed decline and suffering. A vain chancer, he has utterly destroyed and stripped all core values from the now zombie Conservative Party – chiefly by his abject 2 year surrender to the Blob on lockdown. Yes he secured the Referendum and has been toppled by the BBC and deranged Remainers over a cake and a leaving do. But like a chaotic retreating army in defeat, he has left a scorched earth behind him..and left us vulnerable to rule by ideas- free leftist lunatics. History will damn him.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

is it April 1 st?…..

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Something of a disappointment? What like The Yorkshire Ripper was not ” a very nice fellow”?

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I see first hand how goverment departments not only have developed their own political agenda but disobey and ignore Ministers when there is a policy difference. Most recently, departments have begun openly attacking Ministers, going so far as to conspire with MPs and the media, through leaks and carefully planned policy failures, to have them weakened, isolated or even removed.

Pliable, promotion-seeking MPs on all sides sense the opportunity and facilitate the departments. A highly politicised media sees this as an easy way to secure the political changes they want.

The proliferation of executive jobs (paying multiples of an MP salary) in goverment quangos was once championed as a means of getting private sector involvement in the public sector. Now these positions, decided by departmental committee, are openly traded as favours in return for compliance and acquiescence of MPs.

The representatives of our democracy must now yield to the centralised authority of Whitehall. This is nothing short of the destruction of democracy.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Calling Boris Johnson an “ordinary technocrat” is a tad misguided. Technocrats are distinguished by their commitment to order and detail and stickling compliance with The Rules…none of which were/are defining features of The Boris.
And “ordinary” is not an adjective I would ever attach to him. Sui generis, more like.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Stevie K
Stevie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Absolutely masterful Prashant. Thank you for expressing so clearly many of the key elements of our current predicament. So many pithy and humorous points. I think we have permanently departed from that charming End of History delusion. These transitions of empire can take many decades to resolve, so detachment becomes a crucial life skill for our times.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Johnson did not secure a victory for the Conservative Party, nor for his personal style and ideas. Neither. The election was secured by the people voting as a bloc to defeat the sickening anti Democratic Remainiac Coup and to deliver the mandated exit from the EU…and to choke off rule by a pro IRA madman called Corbyn. The Fool Johnson’s political ideology was so wildly metro/ultra liberal/woke, he has cemented – with high taxes, furlough insanity and NHS First largesse – GDR style Socialism into the DNA of the UK – and with it guaranteed decline and suffering. A vain chancer, he has utterly destroyed and stripped all core values from the now zombie Conservative Party – chiefly by his abject 2 year surrender to the Blob on lockdown. Yes he secured the Referendum and has been toppled by the BBC and deranged Remainers over a cake and a leaving do. But like a chaotic retreating army in defeat, he has left a scorched earth behind him..and left us vulnerable to rule by ideas- free leftist lunatics. History will damn him.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

is it April 1 st?…..

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Something of a disappointment? What like The Yorkshire Ripper was not ” a very nice fellow”?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
11 months ago

For me, Boris Johnson turned out to be something of a disappointment, because fate appointed him the agent to deliver change in a tumultuous age, and he failed to deliver. He wasn’t bad, but a rather ordinary technocrat of the type that are ten a penny these days, and very far from the political giant that you might have thought providence would have picked for itself. He’s a version of the Kung Fu Panda who never actually got round to learning any Kung Fu. Another figure he also reminds me of is Brian from LoB.

Having said all that, I think he has been treated absolutely disgustingly, by both his political opponents and his supposed colleagues (I don’t say on the left and on the right, because those labels are meaningless these days, as they all look like one big blob to me). He may have been a tad laissez-faire with the truth on occasion but he’s a politician, and in truth I don’t see any difference with either the sanctimonious left who loathed him (the pantheon of graun writers come to mind), or the sanctimonious technocratic right who loathed him even more (the likes of Gauke and Rory Stuart come to mind), the bunch of hypocrites. He may be have operated double standards on a few pifflingly minor issues (parties during lockdown etc) but so what, he’s a Tory, and by now I’m sure everyone knows what you get when you elect a Tory, so no one has any excuses to now cry foul.

Instead of a Gulliver bestriding Lilliput, we have had a rather ordinary politician brought low by midget colleagues at least as ordinary, but this, to my eyes, is not how you make and break a Prime Minister in any circumstances, and this applies as much to Truss as to Johnson. It even applies as much to Sturgeon, even if as a politician I don’t like her at all. That these extraordinary events have unfolded now is to me symptomatic of a second-tranche loss of deference, following on from the first-tranche in the sixties and seventies, and this time it’s not for the people holding office, but the office itself.

What is clear to me, is that none of this can possibly come cost free – and the cost is bound to fall on all of the denizens of the Westminster ecosystem, be they politician or bureaucrat or NGO grifter. Because of course they surely cannot be deluded enough to think that what they have visited upon Johnson, won’t in turn be visited on themselves eventually. They have been participating in a revolution without even knowing it, but as we know, revolutions eat their own children.

Last edited 11 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
11 months ago

Tom, you’re Unherd’s political editor. Unherd is one of the leading sources of alternative-to-mainstream analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and public affairs.

You’re right that “the rules” were a theatre of the absurd and you are right to call out the cynicism and hypocrisy of those making the rules, who clearly showed no regard for them at all.

But isn’t the bigger story, here, how and why national and global political elites were able and willing to impose “rules” that *they themselves knew were nonsense*? They caused enormous lasting mental, physical and economic harms to millions of innocent victims, the true scale of which may never be known, and wasted hundreds of billions of pounds of public money. Yet, as one particularly odious man put it, they “got away with it”. Isn’t it time they were held properly to account?

Perhaps you might consider, in your professional capacity, digging a bit deeper into the actual causes of death and into what went on at the highest international political levels during what you still refer to as “pandemic” – and what they are up to now (WHO treaty etc)? A decent investigative journalistic team with the guts and the backing to do it (what do you say, Mr Marshall?) could make their names and put their publication truly on the map 


Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Yes indeed. I’m glad you said it because I was thinking the same thing. In the US odious rule makers lied to our faces every day and called us terrible names whilst they went to their hair salons, ate with family and friends at expensive restaurants, travelled wherever they liked, sent their children to fancy private schools, and donned useless masks for the cameras.
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has been doing gain-of-function experiments with genetically engineered organisms for years – all with the approval of the NIH. This is not because of a benign desire to make potent vaccines – it was proven as far back as 1965 that vaccines are useless against coronavirus – just as the current ones are against Covid 19.
I second commenter Horsman’s urgent challenge to give readers and the rest of the world a serious expose on the “pandemic”, what it really was, who was funding it, and why. For my part, I believe it is both a bio weapon and an exercise in mass control.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I entertained the “bio weapon” hypothesis for a while. But I’ve since abandoned it, concluding that it was just another narrative designed to pump up hysteria. I do not believe any “gain of function” research has turned up any significantly altered viruses or antidotes to them. I do not believe the mRNA biotechnology can ever be scaled as production is so intricate and precise. I believe most people got injected with inactive substances… some got unlucky and got injected with contaminated substances. I’m not buying the “spike protein” propaganda. I am unconvinced that myocarditis is caused by anything other than extreme stress (which we were all subjected to). But… my everyday observation shows me that many people who were injected seem to have very poor immune systems and many have developed autoimmune disease… so it’s definitely harmed people. I just think through a collapse of ethical practices not through design. But I remain open to emerging evidence.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

An excellent synopsis.
I also initially favoured the ‘Doomsday’ scenario of a (genetic?) bio weapon, as it seemed Machiavellian enough for our wonderful leaders.

However, recalling NBC* training of many years ago, and listening to scientists from Porton Down explaining how difficult ‘bio weapons’ were both to produce and then ‘deliver’, my enthusiasm had somewhat waned.

Your epistle now has finally convinced me of the error of my ways, for which I thank you.

(* Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (Warfare.)

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

When FDR (or whoever it was) said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, he knew exactly what he was talking about. We have just witnessed FEAR (TM) kill millions. We must fight their other fear campaigns (climate “emergency”, AI, aliens) tooth and nail!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

Boris’s chronic inferiority obsession is KS to Oppidan classic

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

When FDR (or whoever it was) said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, he knew exactly what he was talking about. We have just witnessed FEAR (TM) kill millions. We must fight their other fear campaigns (climate “emergency”, AI, aliens) tooth and nail!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

Boris’s chronic inferiority obsession is KS to Oppidan classic

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’m confused are Amy and Andrew Horseman one and the same?

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Absolutely not!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

What then married? siblings? It’s a rather uncommon name to happen to both be here. Just curious.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

What then married? siblings? It’s a rather uncommon name to happen to both be here. Just curious.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Absolutely not!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

An excellent synopsis.
I also initially favoured the ‘Doomsday’ scenario of a (genetic?) bio weapon, as it seemed Machiavellian enough for our wonderful leaders.

However, recalling NBC* training of many years ago, and listening to scientists from Porton Down explaining how difficult ‘bio weapons’ were both to produce and then ‘deliver’, my enthusiasm had somewhat waned.

Your epistle now has finally convinced me of the error of my ways, for which I thank you.

(* Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (Warfare.)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’m confused are Amy and Andrew Horseman one and the same?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago

This is absolute nonsense – the vaccines are certainly not useless although their effectiveness was oversold without doubt. You must be immensely gullible to believe that research 60 or so years ago proves categorically that a certain type of virus cannot be inoculated against.

The charge that the virus was very mild but somehow at the same time was an engineered bioweapon is obviously contradictory! But there is just no arguing with evidence free conspiracy theorists!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Well said.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It’s actually zealots like you who cannot be argued with! Actually, the so-called “conspiracy theorists” ARE the ones who DO change their opinions when offered new evidence. And – as you point out, if it was developed as a bioweapon, it’s not a very good one! They have been trying to develop a Coronavirus vaccine FOR 60 years and all attempts fail as it mutates too quickly. It is clearly NOT a vaccine as the majority of jabbed people are getting “Covid” multiple times. Even if you believe it was a useful prophylaxis, you’re basing your belief on evidence that doesn’t really hold up. The trials are shoddy, too. You could look into it, read the Pfizer papers, etc. but you don’t sound interested in challenging your dogmatic beliefs.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Game, set and match, well done!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Game, set and match, well done!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Well said.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It’s actually zealots like you who cannot be argued with! Actually, the so-called “conspiracy theorists” ARE the ones who DO change their opinions when offered new evidence. And – as you point out, if it was developed as a bioweapon, it’s not a very good one! They have been trying to develop a Coronavirus vaccine FOR 60 years and all attempts fail as it mutates too quickly. It is clearly NOT a vaccine as the majority of jabbed people are getting “Covid” multiple times. Even if you believe it was a useful prophylaxis, you’re basing your belief on evidence that doesn’t really hold up. The trials are shoddy, too. You could look into it, read the Pfizer papers, etc. but you don’t sound interested in challenging your dogmatic beliefs.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I entertained the “bio weapon” hypothesis for a while. But I’ve since abandoned it, concluding that it was just another narrative designed to pump up hysteria. I do not believe any “gain of function” research has turned up any significantly altered viruses or antidotes to them. I do not believe the mRNA biotechnology can ever be scaled as production is so intricate and precise. I believe most people got injected with inactive substances… some got unlucky and got injected with contaminated substances. I’m not buying the “spike protein” propaganda. I am unconvinced that myocarditis is caused by anything other than extreme stress (which we were all subjected to). But… my everyday observation shows me that many people who were injected seem to have very poor immune systems and many have developed autoimmune disease… so it’s definitely harmed people. I just think through a collapse of ethical practices not through design. But I remain open to emerging evidence.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago

This is absolute nonsense – the vaccines are certainly not useless although their effectiveness was oversold without doubt. You must be immensely gullible to believe that research 60 or so years ago proves categorically that a certain type of virus cannot be inoculated against.

The charge that the virus was very mild but somehow at the same time was an engineered bioweapon is obviously contradictory! But there is just no arguing with evidence free conspiracy theorists!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Yes indeed. I’m glad you said it because I was thinking the same thing. In the US odious rule makers lied to our faces every day and called us terrible names whilst they went to their hair salons, ate with family and friends at expensive restaurants, travelled wherever they liked, sent their children to fancy private schools, and donned useless masks for the cameras.
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has been doing gain-of-function experiments with genetically engineered organisms for years – all with the approval of the NIH. This is not because of a benign desire to make potent vaccines – it was proven as far back as 1965 that vaccines are useless against coronavirus – just as the current ones are against Covid 19.
I second commenter Horsman’s urgent challenge to give readers and the rest of the world a serious expose on the “pandemic”, what it really was, who was funding it, and why. For my part, I believe it is both a bio weapon and an exercise in mass control.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
11 months ago

Tom, you’re Unherd’s political editor. Unherd is one of the leading sources of alternative-to-mainstream analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and public affairs.

You’re right that “the rules” were a theatre of the absurd and you are right to call out the cynicism and hypocrisy of those making the rules, who clearly showed no regard for them at all.

But isn’t the bigger story, here, how and why national and global political elites were able and willing to impose “rules” that *they themselves knew were nonsense*? They caused enormous lasting mental, physical and economic harms to millions of innocent victims, the true scale of which may never be known, and wasted hundreds of billions of pounds of public money. Yet, as one particularly odious man put it, they “got away with it”. Isn’t it time they were held properly to account?

Perhaps you might consider, in your professional capacity, digging a bit deeper into the actual causes of death and into what went on at the highest international political levels during what you still refer to as “pandemic” – and what they are up to now (WHO treaty etc)? A decent investigative journalistic team with the guts and the backing to do it (what do you say, Mr Marshall?) could make their names and put their publication truly on the map 


Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

Russians have a word called ‘Vranyo’, which basically means everyone knows everyone else is lying but doesn’t acknowledge it for fear of repercussions. It’s the sort of word that emerges in totalitarian regimes.
The entire Covid-era was an exercise in vranyo. Except I was stupid enough to think I wasn’t living in a totalitarian country.

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

The “no-honest-man” strategy. You make it so the law is sufficiently opaque, complex and tortuous that every single person is guilty of something. Those who control the justice system are then untouchable since every opponent will face legal prosecution and ruin first.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Wouldn’t we speak of an omertĂ ? Which I know is imported from Italian but I think it has integrated into colloquial English sufficiently to be considered part of the language.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Rubbish.

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

The “no-honest-man” strategy. You make it so the law is sufficiently opaque, complex and tortuous that every single person is guilty of something. Those who control the justice system are then untouchable since every opponent will face legal prosecution and ruin first.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Wouldn’t we speak of an omertĂ ? Which I know is imported from Italian but I think it has integrated into colloquial English sufficiently to be considered part of the language.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Rubbish.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

Russians have a word called ‘Vranyo’, which basically means everyone knows everyone else is lying but doesn’t acknowledge it for fear of repercussions. It’s the sort of word that emerges in totalitarian regimes.
The entire Covid-era was an exercise in vranyo. Except I was stupid enough to think I wasn’t living in a totalitarian country.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
11 months ago

Boris Johnson would have done well to recall two pieces of political advice – “who, whom?” and “dance with the one that brought you” – from Lenin and Shania Twain respectively. He lacked the attention to detail and ruthlessness to block or remove enemies from key roles, and was then buffeted by the events their actions – hostile both to him personally and to his political constituency – caused. And his desire to please the posh class he grew up within and was surrounded by – people like his brother and his wife – led him down the path of Net Zero, animal rights, lucrative foreign student visas for the university sector, a prominent role in the war in Ukraine, and vaccine mandates, which were just not a priority for the voters whose support he needed to hold on to.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
11 months ago

Boris Johnson would have done well to recall two pieces of political advice – “who, whom?” and “dance with the one that brought you” – from Lenin and Shania Twain respectively. He lacked the attention to detail and ruthlessness to block or remove enemies from key roles, and was then buffeted by the events their actions – hostile both to him personally and to his political constituency – caused. And his desire to please the posh class he grew up within and was surrounded by – people like his brother and his wife – led him down the path of Net Zero, animal rights, lucrative foreign student visas for the university sector, a prominent role in the war in Ukraine, and vaccine mandates, which were just not a priority for the voters whose support he needed to hold on to.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stephen Walsh
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

“It was a time of great hope and great projects: letting China into the WTO, expanding the EU, using Western military might to change the world — all apparently un-ideological and “evidence-based” but in fact just as faith-based as any other project in history”.
I loved this sentence, as it embodies so many conversations I’ve had with acquaintances in Austria since Brexit.
They (quite rightly) critcise the way that Britain embarked on this massive project without so much as a whiff of a plan on how to achieve it or what to do afterwards. However, when I counter that this kind of “just do it and see what happens” approach (in other words, taking a leap of faith with an idea) is exactly the way in which the EU and the euro they love so much came into existence, they gawp at me like goldfish out of water.
As far as the euro is concerned, we’re still waiting for the sort of huge blowout crisis that will focus minds and force the completion of the currency’s basic architecture. The kind of situation where failure to make a decision would result in…well, something no one really wants to contemplate frankly. Nothing less than the economic fate of a continent has been left to chance. This is where that particular leap of faith has got us and yet it is not questioned with anywhere near the level of venom that Brexit/Trump/Meloni etc. are.
On a different note, I appreciate this analysis of Johnson, but I’m left wondering: what comes next? What kind of politician do we need in the world we live in today? Or what kind of politician will this world produce? And, most pertinently: do I really want to be thinking about this on a Monday morning?

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Britain embarked on this massive project without so much as a whiff of a plan on how to achieve it or what to do afterwards “.

Indeed, unlike the most famous Austrian ever who quite clearly had a master-plan and won the 1933 election on the back of it.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

Responding to a post with a link to Austria with a snide remark about Hitler. How original, how constructive!
Come on, Charles – you can do better than that.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

My sincere apologies, “Guilty as charged “.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’m going to defend my ‘friend’ Charlie! If we’re trying to find someone similar to Boris, it’s not that easy… deluded, narcissistic, ego maniac, megalomaniac etc.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How very vulgar Liam. Been on the vino again?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How about Trump?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How very vulgar Liam. Been on the vino again?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How about Trump?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

My sincere apologies, “Guilty as charged “.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’m going to defend my ‘friend’ Charlie! If we’re trying to find someone similar to Boris, it’s not that easy… deluded, narcissistic, ego maniac, megalomaniac etc.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

I’m told the master plan was devised by the German aristocracy with the connivance of American oligarchs such as Henry Ford: AH being merely a stooge (which they found they couldn’t later control) .. I don’t know; maybe you can enlighten me?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You may indeed think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You may indeed think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

Responding to a post with a link to Austria with a snide remark about Hitler. How original, how constructive!
Come on, Charles – you can do better than that.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

I’m told the master plan was devised by the German aristocracy with the connivance of American oligarchs such as Henry Ford: AH being merely a stooge (which they found they couldn’t later control) .. I don’t know; maybe you can enlighten me?

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The weird thing about Brexit, at least to my mind, is that it was, indeed faith-based but that the faith wasn’t directed at any single project beyond the departure itself. Much has been made of Daniel Hanan and others having said, before the vote, that there was no question of Britain leaving the common market. And then, as soon as the vote had been won, realising that none of the freedoms they wanted could be achieved within the Common Market and becoming “no deal” fanatics. But he was only the most prominent of those who seemed to have spent a significant chunk of their adult lives, trying to bring about a project that they barely understood and certainly couldn’t describe. (Brexit means Brexit).
There’s nothing wrong with “taking a leap of faith with an idea”. There is, however, something deeply strange about taking a leap of faith without an idea. And yet, that is precisely what it was.
The Brexit campaign could win only by being such an enormous tent that it contained directly contradictory factions (e.g. Lexiteers, the Singapore on Thames gang and the migration hardliners to name but three).
It was always destined to disappoint its own partisans precisely because it had had to promise to be all things to all men.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

To be clear, this is in contrast to the Euro whose animating idea was, in my view, pretty obvious. It was to place the economic foundations of Europe into a hard money, right of centre, straitjacket, from which no unorthodox politician could break any individual nation free.
The recent experience of Greece, Portugal and Spain may demonstrate that this was a terrible idea but it can scarcely come as a disappointment to its founders that, even in the wake of a catasrophic global financial crisis, those brutally harmed by their membership of the Euro could not escape it – despite the considerable democratic mandates of, e.g. Syriza and Podemos.
By comparison to Brexit, the motivations behind the Euro, were and are a model of limpid clarity.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

The purpose of the Euro was to make what would’ve been very expensive German imported goods, affordable to all Europeans. A kind of mini hegemony (under the overall dollar hegemony). In return, Germany financed major EU structural funds spent in those countries.. The other reason was to prevent vultures from preying on weak individual currencies.

George Venning
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes, that is how it was done. It’s why the Germans wanted it and how they were able to sell it to non-Germans, but the basic idea was a continent whose economics were placed beyond the reach of politics.

An understandable desire on the part of late 20th century West Germans with their experience not only of hyper-inflation, Nazism and communism but also of the postwar economic miracle.

It’s just that, when you take something (anything), make it extremely powerful and then deliberately insulate it from democratic pressures, you create at least the possibility of a spectacular mess.

George Venning
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes, that is how it was done. It’s why the Germans wanted it and how they were able to sell it to non-Germans, but the basic idea was a continent whose economics were placed beyond the reach of politics.

An understandable desire on the part of late 20th century West Germans with their experience not only of hyper-inflation, Nazism and communism but also of the postwar economic miracle.

It’s just that, when you take something (anything), make it extremely powerful and then deliberately insulate it from democratic pressures, you create at least the possibility of a spectacular mess.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

The purpose of the Euro was to make what would’ve been very expensive German imported goods, affordable to all Europeans. A kind of mini hegemony (under the overall dollar hegemony). In return, Germany financed major EU structural funds spent in those countries.. The other reason was to prevent vultures from preying on weak individual currencies.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

You forget that the main motivator for Brexit was the risk, within the EU, of exposing and taxing the mega rich.. Since that was the only consideration no plan was necessary. As Boris might say, “let the bodies pile high”.

George Venning
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Sure, that might have been a motivator for some – they’d fit into the Singapore-on-Thames crowd in by brief scheme.

But I don’t think that’s what motivated my postie, mechanic, in-laws or a bunch of other people to vote for it. My whole point is that getting Brexit over the line required a bunch of people who findamentally disagreed about what Brexit was, to agree on the single in/out question.

All the disasters since are the consequence of a coalition which only ever represented a narrow majority, discoving that it didn’t agree with itself.

Having seen all that coming a mile off (including the fact that the EU wouldn’t actually tax the rich) I voted accordingly. Like a lot of people who shared my view, I complacently assumed that it was all obvious to enough people that the result was a foregone conclusion. Not proud of that.

George Venning
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Sure, that might have been a motivator for some – they’d fit into the Singapore-on-Thames crowd in by brief scheme.

But I don’t think that’s what motivated my postie, mechanic, in-laws or a bunch of other people to vote for it. My whole point is that getting Brexit over the line required a bunch of people who findamentally disagreed about what Brexit was, to agree on the single in/out question.

All the disasters since are the consequence of a coalition which only ever represented a narrow majority, discoving that it didn’t agree with itself.

Having seen all that coming a mile off (including the fact that the EU wouldn’t actually tax the rich) I voted accordingly. Like a lot of people who shared my view, I complacently assumed that it was all obvious to enough people that the result was a foregone conclusion. Not proud of that.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

To be clear, this is in contrast to the Euro whose animating idea was, in my view, pretty obvious. It was to place the economic foundations of Europe into a hard money, right of centre, straitjacket, from which no unorthodox politician could break any individual nation free.
The recent experience of Greece, Portugal and Spain may demonstrate that this was a terrible idea but it can scarcely come as a disappointment to its founders that, even in the wake of a catasrophic global financial crisis, those brutally harmed by their membership of the Euro could not escape it – despite the considerable democratic mandates of, e.g. Syriza and Podemos.
By comparison to Brexit, the motivations behind the Euro, were and are a model of limpid clarity.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

You forget that the main motivator for Brexit was the risk, within the EU, of exposing and taxing the mega rich.. Since that was the only consideration no plan was necessary. As Boris might say, “let the bodies pile high”.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Britain embarked on this massive project without so much as a whiff of a plan on how to achieve it or what to do afterwards “.

Indeed, unlike the most famous Austrian ever who quite clearly had a master-plan and won the 1933 election on the back of it.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The weird thing about Brexit, at least to my mind, is that it was, indeed faith-based but that the faith wasn’t directed at any single project beyond the departure itself. Much has been made of Daniel Hanan and others having said, before the vote, that there was no question of Britain leaving the common market. And then, as soon as the vote had been won, realising that none of the freedoms they wanted could be achieved within the Common Market and becoming “no deal” fanatics. But he was only the most prominent of those who seemed to have spent a significant chunk of their adult lives, trying to bring about a project that they barely understood and certainly couldn’t describe. (Brexit means Brexit).
There’s nothing wrong with “taking a leap of faith with an idea”. There is, however, something deeply strange about taking a leap of faith without an idea. And yet, that is precisely what it was.
The Brexit campaign could win only by being such an enormous tent that it contained directly contradictory factions (e.g. Lexiteers, the Singapore on Thames gang and the migration hardliners to name but three).
It was always destined to disappoint its own partisans precisely because it had had to promise to be all things to all men.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

“It was a time of great hope and great projects: letting China into the WTO, expanding the EU, using Western military might to change the world — all apparently un-ideological and “evidence-based” but in fact just as faith-based as any other project in history”.
I loved this sentence, as it embodies so many conversations I’ve had with acquaintances in Austria since Brexit.
They (quite rightly) critcise the way that Britain embarked on this massive project without so much as a whiff of a plan on how to achieve it or what to do afterwards. However, when I counter that this kind of “just do it and see what happens” approach (in other words, taking a leap of faith with an idea) is exactly the way in which the EU and the euro they love so much came into existence, they gawp at me like goldfish out of water.
As far as the euro is concerned, we’re still waiting for the sort of huge blowout crisis that will focus minds and force the completion of the currency’s basic architecture. The kind of situation where failure to make a decision would result in…well, something no one really wants to contemplate frankly. Nothing less than the economic fate of a continent has been left to chance. This is where that particular leap of faith has got us and yet it is not questioned with anywhere near the level of venom that Brexit/Trump/Meloni etc. are.
On a different note, I appreciate this analysis of Johnson, but I’m left wondering: what comes next? What kind of politician do we need in the world we live in today? Or what kind of politician will this world produce? And, most pertinently: do I really want to be thinking about this on a Monday morning?

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
11 months ago

Boris’s final act of buffoonery: giving a peerage to his hairdresser. He had one?

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
11 months ago

Boris’s final act of buffoonery: giving a peerage to his hairdresser. He had one?

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

He did not “almost die of Covid 19”, he was taken to a hospital as part of that theatrical performance you witnessed. No one “almost died of Covid 19”. People almost died – and many DID die – of horrific interventions ordered by our government. They died of pneumonia as they were denied antibiotics, they died of infections caused by being placed on closed ventilators, they died of organ failure caused by known toxic drugs (such as remdesivir), they died of over-prescribed sedatives and illegal and immoral “do not resuscitate” orders, they died of poorly tested and produced novel injectables, and they died of fear and neglect. Let’s start with that truth in all future discussions around what the British public were subjected to from 2020 onwards. There was NEVER a “deadly threat” to the British public from a virus and EVERYONE inside No.10 knew that, and THAT is why they behaved differently. Thank you for your eye-witness account of what we all suspected was going on. They all belong behind bars for duping the British public, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people. “Death by government diktat ” should be on those death certificates

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

He was in intensive care due to contracting Covid, most people would class that as nearly dying of coronavirus. We can argue about whether lockdowns were necessary to contain the virus or made the situation much worse (I lean towards the second option personally), but there’s no doubting Covid 19 was a deadly virus for large numbers of people

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I completely understand why you would feel that way because that’s the narrative we were sold. In fact, the majority of people were suffering extreme stress and panic (severe panic attacks are so bad they can feel like heart attacks), which exacerbated the symptoms of whatever cold/flu bug was going around in the spring of 2020. “Covid” stands for “Coronavirus Disease”, not a new thing, rather the same thing that’s been around for decades. In past years, we’ve had cold/flu bugs that were just as bad, just minus the panic. There’s no way that man was on his death bed. That was media hype. It was drama… theatre… just like the satanic masking rituals.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

THE ONS FIGURES FOR THIS NONSENSE ARE :-

DIED “DUE TO COVID-19.

Median age:-

MEN: : 81

WOMEN: : 85

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

Exactly. Around the same as life expectancy in the UK is anyway. These were normal, expected deaths from old age and disease… just because the word “Covid” was written on the death certificate does not mean “Covid” killed them! I hated that inane narrative of “He was only 82, if that beastly Covid hadn’t got him, he could have lived many more years!” As if people were “cheated” out of days they were entitled to by some factor that was all the fault of a child who didn’t wear a mask. Hideous attitudes throughout this debacle.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

FYI “death due to old age” hasn’t been allowed for many years.. age itself is not fatal.. Furthermore the actual ’cause’ of death is not a simple matter. There may be multiple causes each playing a part and it may not be obvious which played a greater or lesser part. To pronounce on it would require a degree of conjecture, albeit expert conjecture. Nut certainty is not on offer.
Covid19 will never be an immediate cause of death. It may be the solely to lung failure in which case it’s safe to say Covid19 was the (indirect) cause. But often, especially with the elderly, there will be other conditions which may well have contributed in addition to Covid19..
So it’s not necessarily a cover up. It may be but it’s not a simple black+white issue.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I don’t know wher you get your stats but you need to check them globally.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

FYI “death due to old age” hasn’t been allowed for many years.. age itself is not fatal.. Furthermore the actual ’cause’ of death is not a simple matter. There may be multiple causes each playing a part and it may not be obvious which played a greater or lesser part. To pronounce on it would require a degree of conjecture, albeit expert conjecture. Nut certainty is not on offer.
Covid19 will never be an immediate cause of death. It may be the solely to lung failure in which case it’s safe to say Covid19 was the (indirect) cause. But often, especially with the elderly, there will be other conditions which may well have contributed in addition to Covid19..
So it’s not necessarily a cover up. It may be but it’s not a simple black+white issue.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I don’t know wher you get your stats but you need to check them globally.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

So it was a very dangerous virus for the elderly

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, and most but NOT all were “almost there” anyway.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

How do you know that?!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Aren’t you one of them you old scold?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Funny! Yep, just hanging in there with the old farts.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Same for me!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Same for me!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Funny! Yep, just hanging in there with the old farts.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Aren’t you one of them you old scold?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

How do you know that?!

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The Flu is also a very dangerous virus for the elderly, without destructive lockdowns and wasting ÂŁ500 billion on furlough.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, and most but NOT all were “almost there” anyway.

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The Flu is also a very dangerous virus for the elderly, without destructive lockdowns and wasting ÂŁ500 billion on furlough.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

Exactly. Around the same as life expectancy in the UK is anyway. These were normal, expected deaths from old age and disease… just because the word “Covid” was written on the death certificate does not mean “Covid” killed them! I hated that inane narrative of “He was only 82, if that beastly Covid hadn’t got him, he could have lived many more years!” As if people were “cheated” out of days they were entitled to by some factor that was all the fault of a child who didn’t wear a mask. Hideous attitudes throughout this debacle.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

So it was a very dangerous virus for the elderly

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Good grief, Amy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

It’s not a narrative, it’s a fact. Large numbers of people died much earlier than they otherwise would have due to catching the virus, therefore for the elderly and vulnerable it was deadly

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

THE ONS FIGURES FOR THIS NONSENSE ARE :-

DIED “DUE TO COVID-19.

Median age:-

MEN: : 81

WOMEN: : 85

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Good grief, Amy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

It’s not a narrative, it’s a fact. Large numbers of people died much earlier than they otherwise would have due to catching the virus, therefore for the elderly and vulnerable it was deadly

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Spare your sympathy.
It was Darwinian self-selection, he was an OBESE blob and got what he richly deserved.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well aren’t you the compassionate one.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Thank you, praise indeed from a notorious old scold.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Yep, it takes one to know one.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Definition of a SCOLD:- A old woman who disturbs the public peace by noisy and quarrelsome or abusive behaviour.

What is the male equivalent or isn’t there one?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

A curmudgeon?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

A curmudgeon?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Definition of a SCOLD:- A old woman who disturbs the public peace by noisy and quarrelsome or abusive behaviour.

What is the male equivalent or isn’t there one?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Yep, it takes one to know one.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Thank you, praise indeed from a notorious old scold.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well aren’t you the compassionate one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Exactly.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I completely understand why you would feel that way because that’s the narrative we were sold. In fact, the majority of people were suffering extreme stress and panic (severe panic attacks are so bad they can feel like heart attacks), which exacerbated the symptoms of whatever cold/flu bug was going around in the spring of 2020. “Covid” stands for “Coronavirus Disease”, not a new thing, rather the same thing that’s been around for decades. In past years, we’ve had cold/flu bugs that were just as bad, just minus the panic. There’s no way that man was on his death bed. That was media hype. It was drama… theatre… just like the satanic masking rituals.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Spare your sympathy.
It was Darwinian self-selection, he was an OBESE blob and got what he richly deserved.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Exactly.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Don’t despair we are just starting a truly titanic Public Inquiry into all this, an Inquiry that will make the ‘Bloody Sunday ‘ and the Grenfell Inquiries “look like Noddy”.

Zillions will be spent, hundreds of Lawyers enriched beyond their wildest dreams and absolutely NOTHING, repeat NOTHING will be achieved.

No wonder the most educated nation in the world voted for Adolph in 1933.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

Which year did they vote him in?!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

It’s Adolf Charlie, nor Adolph and I seem to remember he ‘mucked up’ to quote Douglas Murray in the NatC jamboree. I know: “..but apart from that he’s just what you need now” – how about Cruela Braverman or Priti Patel, not that Murray would approve of either of those ladies due to, …well, …you know…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Slovenly research (yet again) Liam old chap!

AH was christened ALDOLPHUS for which the normal abbreviation is Adolph.
However both Adolph and Adolf are acceptable although I prefer the former. QED?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Charlie, old chap, you’re at it again with your “my brain is bigger than yours” thing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Did you not receive a secondary education when you emigrated to the States?

Liam was WRONG, and should thus be corrected no?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Just sounds a bit one upmanship.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No just education.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No just education.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Just sounds a bit one upmanship.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Did you not receive a secondary education when you emigrated to the States?

Liam was WRONG, and should thus be corrected no?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Charlie, old chap, you’re at it again with your “my brain is bigger than yours” thing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Slovenly research (yet again) Liam old chap!

AH was christened ALDOLPHUS for which the normal abbreviation is Adolph.
However both Adolph and Adolf are acceptable although I prefer the former. QED?

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

Which year did they vote him in?!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

It’s Adolf Charlie, nor Adolph and I seem to remember he ‘mucked up’ to quote Douglas Murray in the NatC jamboree. I know: “..but apart from that he’s just what you need now” – how about Cruela Braverman or Priti Patel, not that Murray would approve of either of those ladies due to, …well, …you know…

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Bojo was in ITU on a closed oxygen system that forces O2 into your lungs. Not quite full mechanical ventilation, but a treatment that can only be managed in such a high dependency environment. Without this his blood sats would drop dangerously low with significant mortality & morbidity risk. ITUs all over the country handling these sort of cases at that time doing a brilliant job once they’d understood the disease a bit more. Not all survived though, but many who may not have did.
But don’t let facts get in your way of twaddle.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

How do you explain the ONS figures or are they bogus?
(Nothing would surprise me these days.)

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Well the Public Inquiry will, eventually, give us a fully considered view we hope.
I suspect the ONS data is indicating we did well to reduce the risks that would have caused more death – but that involved alot societal impact. Certainly in hospitals we got better and better at managing the condition after initially not really knowing what was going on. But the volumes needing care crunched the ability to carry on treating other more planned care ailments. It’s the fact it curtailed most cancer care and other things like joint replacements etc, that meant we had to get the demand back down somehow. One issue I’m sure the Inquiry will surface is we went into the Pandemic with much less critical capacity than some other health systems and that meant we could absorb less without drastic measures.
One suspects Lockdown reduced the annual death rate due to other infections too creating a bit of a distortion.
So merely looking at the data now doesn’t indicate the comparison with ‘do nothing’.
But they’ll be proper statisticians able to assess this further I’m sure. The difficultly will always be the counter factual in a UK context – knowing what would have otherwise happened, but it’s why we need the Inquiry to get on with the assessment

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Unless the figures are completely bogus, the information at it stands says that the overwhelming number of fatalities were amongst the very OLD. Older in fact than life expectancy itself!

I doubt if any Public Inquiry will be able to refute that fact, however hard they try.

When on Day One I heard the PM start bleating
about “Protect the NHS” I instinctively knew we were about to witness the greatest confidence trick ever perpetrated on this planet, with the sole exception of the Resurrection.

And so sadly it has turned out to be, and the cumulative damage done to the life prospects of the ‘young’ has been enormous, and will continue to be so for years to come.

ps. I trust at least one the ridiculous ‘Nightingale Hospitals’ will be preserved for posterity.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Agree about the resurrection not that I ever went for it.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Yes CS, but the point is how many younger were saved by the measures. That’s the bit we can’t be sure of, and it’s also why the experience of Bojo himself informative.
As we all know v elderly can’t absorb critical intensive care, esp ventilation, as well so they weren’t triaged to it in general. ITUs were full of much younger. Not all made it but many did.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The ONS figures quite clearly indicate that C was a serious disease for the elderly* NOT the young.

This irritating fact was brought to the attention of the general public by the former Supreme Court Judge, Lord Jonathan Sumption. What he said in April 2020 still holds good now!

Boris being an obese blob hardly makes a great case study does he? In fact had he NOT been treated at St Thomas’s with exceptional care as one would expect for a sitting PM, he would probably have got the ‘chop’.**

(* 80+.)
(** Certainly in my local hospital which somewhat resembled Scutari.)

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

I agree the ‘young’ affected much less by Virus and much more by measures to tackle it. Something the Inquiry must further assess – how could we have better balanced this?

But a big chunk of population fell in the middle- ITUs were full of them.

stephen archer
stephen archer
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

many overweight, vit D deficient, and other unfortunates with pre-existing conditions.

stephen archer
stephen archer
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

many overweight, vit D deficient, and other unfortunates with pre-existing conditions.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

I agree the ‘young’ affected much less by Virus and much more by measures to tackle it. Something the Inquiry must further assess – how could we have better balanced this?

But a big chunk of population fell in the middle- ITUs were full of them.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The ONS figures quite clearly indicate that C was a serious disease for the elderly* NOT the young.

This irritating fact was brought to the attention of the general public by the former Supreme Court Judge, Lord Jonathan Sumption. What he said in April 2020 still holds good now!

Boris being an obese blob hardly makes a great case study does he? In fact had he NOT been treated at St Thomas’s with exceptional care as one would expect for a sitting PM, he would probably have got the ‘chop’.**

(* 80+.)
(** Certainly in my local hospital which somewhat resembled Scutari.)

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I thought the same (NHS – con trick – Resurrection) until it got undeniably satanic (masking children, worshipping injectables, etc.) and that led me back to Christianity. I believe we all need a moral compass and Christianity is the best one out there. I think most people in Britain DO have a Christian compass (or did before 2020) even if they don’t call it that. As to the Resurrection, even if you want to see it as a metaphor (that if you die for the truth, you will not suffer in death), it’s valuable. The spiritual battle is only ever a personal one. None of us can actually compete with God, not even the Devil himself, though he never stops trying! Lives can never be “saved”, only souls can be saved… by JC. Amen.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

As a fully paid up Pagan it is far too late for me, but thank you for the very kind thought.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

I second that.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

I second that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

As a fully paid up Pagan it is far too late for me, but thank you for the very kind thought.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Agree about the resurrection not that I ever went for it.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Yes CS, but the point is how many younger were saved by the measures. That’s the bit we can’t be sure of, and it’s also why the experience of Bojo himself informative.
As we all know v elderly can’t absorb critical intensive care, esp ventilation, as well so they weren’t triaged to it in general. ITUs were full of much younger. Not all made it but many did.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I thought the same (NHS – con trick – Resurrection) until it got undeniably satanic (masking children, worshipping injectables, etc.) and that led me back to Christianity. I believe we all need a moral compass and Christianity is the best one out there. I think most people in Britain DO have a Christian compass (or did before 2020) even if they don’t call it that. As to the Resurrection, even if you want to see it as a metaphor (that if you die for the truth, you will not suffer in death), it’s valuable. The spiritual battle is only ever a personal one. None of us can actually compete with God, not even the Devil himself, though he never stops trying! Lives can never be “saved”, only souls can be saved… by JC. Amen.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Unless the figures are completely bogus, the information at it stands says that the overwhelming number of fatalities were amongst the very OLD. Older in fact than life expectancy itself!

I doubt if any Public Inquiry will be able to refute that fact, however hard they try.

When on Day One I heard the PM start bleating
about “Protect the NHS” I instinctively knew we were about to witness the greatest confidence trick ever perpetrated on this planet, with the sole exception of the Resurrection.

And so sadly it has turned out to be, and the cumulative damage done to the life prospects of the ‘young’ has been enormous, and will continue to be so for years to come.

ps. I trust at least one the ridiculous ‘Nightingale Hospitals’ will be preserved for posterity.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Well the Public Inquiry will, eventually, give us a fully considered view we hope.
I suspect the ONS data is indicating we did well to reduce the risks that would have caused more death – but that involved alot societal impact. Certainly in hospitals we got better and better at managing the condition after initially not really knowing what was going on. But the volumes needing care crunched the ability to carry on treating other more planned care ailments. It’s the fact it curtailed most cancer care and other things like joint replacements etc, that meant we had to get the demand back down somehow. One issue I’m sure the Inquiry will surface is we went into the Pandemic with much less critical capacity than some other health systems and that meant we could absorb less without drastic measures.
One suspects Lockdown reduced the annual death rate due to other infections too creating a bit of a distortion.
So merely looking at the data now doesn’t indicate the comparison with ‘do nothing’.
But they’ll be proper statisticians able to assess this further I’m sure. The difficultly will always be the counter factual in a UK context – knowing what would have otherwise happened, but it’s why we need the Inquiry to get on with the assessment

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“…may not have did.” Hmm, English lessons for you, perhaps, on top of Propaganda Awareness lessons. They lied. They all lied. We know that now. But you’re still spouting THE SCRIPT (TM). Let go of the belief system and engage with the truth. Mechanical ventilation kills people. “Covid” does not kill people.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Yes, cytokine storms killed the poor victims of that mechanical ventilation. Many doctors warned that if any ventilation was required, an open system, similar to a C-pap, be used. Instead, old people with flu were murdered in hospital beds when they could have been given HCQ or Ivermectin and sent home to recover.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Oh for sure they lied about a number of things. But they didn’t lie about how ill Bojo was. I know through the trade he was in serious trouble, but got v good care quickly.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Boris was/is OBESE, no need for further discussion.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Boris was/is OBESE, no need for further discussion.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Covid does kill so does the flu virus. What about the epidemic of 1918 that killed 50 million people worldwide. Did they all die because of a conspiracy or because they were old?

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The majority were young, look it up.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Exactly, that’s my point. It was rhetorical.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Exactly, that’s my point. It was rhetorical.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The majority were young, look it up.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Yes, cytokine storms killed the poor victims of that mechanical ventilation. Many doctors warned that if any ventilation was required, an open system, similar to a C-pap, be used. Instead, old people with flu were murdered in hospital beds when they could have been given HCQ or Ivermectin and sent home to recover.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Oh for sure they lied about a number of things. But they didn’t lie about how ill Bojo was. I know through the trade he was in serious trouble, but got v good care quickly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Covid does kill so does the flu virus. What about the epidemic of 1918 that killed 50 million people worldwide. Did they all die because of a conspiracy or because they were old?

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Well said.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

How do you explain the ONS figures or are they bogus?
(Nothing would surprise me these days.)

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“…may not have did.” Hmm, English lessons for you, perhaps, on top of Propaganda Awareness lessons. They lied. They all lied. We know that now. But you’re still spouting THE SCRIPT (TM). Let go of the belief system and engage with the truth. Mechanical ventilation kills people. “Covid” does not kill people.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Well said.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Absolutely.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Rubbish. Millions of people died all over the world.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Millions die, all over the world, Clare, every year. There was NO overall excess death in the world in 2020. The same “millions” who were expected to die in 2020, died in 2020, whatever they wrote on the death certificates. I understand why it’s hard to question the official narrative. I felt angry when I could no longer ignore the very obvious evidence that showed the twin towers were not destroyed by aeroplanes crashing into them alone, that it was clear there were explosives involved that were detonated in sequence, as building of that size simply cannot fall into their own footprint unless a controlled demolition is carefully planned. If you’re genuinely interested in the world and not just here to throw rocks at people, please consider an alternative explanation that the one offered by the mainstream media and establishment.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

How close were you to the front-line when the storm was breaking AH? Genuinely out of interest.
I look at the data in hindsight and have lots of questions about the national approach. But I also remember what it was like as the patients flooded in and we ran out of capacity and staff, the latter dropping like flies too.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The number of frontline NHS and “key worker” staff who died of Covid in Scotland was exactly ZERO. But keep deluding yourself if it makes you feel better. I went into several hospitals in 2020 (A&E and post op for various reasons) and they were like ghost towns.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Aha but ‘you’ had the wonderful DEVI SRIDHAR, FRSE to guide you did you not?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Aha but ‘you’ had the wonderful DEVI SRIDHAR, FRSE to guide you did you not?

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The number of frontline NHS and “key worker” staff who died of Covid in Scotland was exactly ZERO. But keep deluding yourself if it makes you feel better. I went into several hospitals in 2020 (A&E and post op for various reasons) and they were like ghost towns.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I have found it pointless to try to reason with people who are somewhat paranoid and have conspiracy theories. You’re invested in your beliefs for whatever reason.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You are behaving like a gaslighting troll, Clare, so I’ll refrain from engaging with you again… which is as you claim you wish anyway. Good luck in life, all the best to you.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You are behaving like a gaslighting troll, Clare, so I’ll refrain from engaging with you again… which is as you claim you wish anyway. Good luck in life, all the best to you.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Amy, unless you’re a very experienced structural engineer – I assume you are not, but do feel free to correct me here – I think any opinion on failure modes for the Twin Towers is merely an uninformed guess.
Professional engineering opinion is that there were known structural weaknesses in the design of the World Trade Center towers and that the plane strike and subsequent fires could cause a catastrophic collapse. I know just enough about structural engineering to know that’s possible.
Frankly, you’re doing your Covid argument – which may have some valid points – no favours by mixing in conspiracy theory nonsense about 9/11.
I’ve considered the “alternative explanation” you offer for 9/11 – as most people have – it is not at all “difficult” as you claim. Frankly, it’s nuts.
Just out of interest, if the WTC towers were really blown by explosives planted lower down in the towers, why bother crashing planes into the towers and wasting all those lives ? Or was that just an unfortunate coincidence ?

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

How close were you to the front-line when the storm was breaking AH? Genuinely out of interest.
I look at the data in hindsight and have lots of questions about the national approach. But I also remember what it was like as the patients flooded in and we ran out of capacity and staff, the latter dropping like flies too.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I have found it pointless to try to reason with people who are somewhat paranoid and have conspiracy theories. You’re invested in your beliefs for whatever reason.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Amy, unless you’re a very experienced structural engineer – I assume you are not, but do feel free to correct me here – I think any opinion on failure modes for the Twin Towers is merely an uninformed guess.
Professional engineering opinion is that there were known structural weaknesses in the design of the World Trade Center towers and that the plane strike and subsequent fires could cause a catastrophic collapse. I know just enough about structural engineering to know that’s possible.
Frankly, you’re doing your Covid argument – which may have some valid points – no favours by mixing in conspiracy theory nonsense about 9/11.
I’ve considered the “alternative explanation” you offer for 9/11 – as most people have – it is not at all “difficult” as you claim. Frankly, it’s nuts.
Just out of interest, if the WTC towers were really blown by explosives planted lower down in the towers, why bother crashing planes into the towers and wasting all those lives ? Or was that just an unfortunate coincidence ?