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Command syndrome: Brexit and Covid have defined Johnson’s leadership style – politicalbetting.com

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited February 20 in General
Command syndrome: Brexit and Covid have defined Johnson’s leadership style – politicalbetting.com

Boris Johnson is an oddity of a prime minister in many ways. For someone with such an impeccable establishment background, there’s a distinct air of the outsider to him. Maybe its that while he may be amusing and entertaining to many, he’s not especially clubbable; to be at the centre of attention, he has to be to some extent apart; he always blazed a trail aimed at No 10 but his path was unconventional, as, inevitably, was his political experience. That defines his premiership and will continue to do so.

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Comments

  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 6,560
    Test
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 17,155
    Interesting piece, thanks David.

    I disagree that Theresa May was PM who would compromise. Didn’t she fail to involve the DUP with her Brexit Deal? And like Johnson, she played the election card with a view to obtaining more power.
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 4,688
    edited February 20
    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 4,688
    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?
  • FishingFishing Posts: 2,016

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    I seem to have read somewhere that it's about 70% AZ, but wouldn't swear to that.
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 4,688
    Fishing said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    I seem to have read somewhere that it's about 70% AZ, but wouldn't swear to that.
    Thanks, that's helpful. Mine is at a GP hub but I don't know if that makes it more or less likely to be Pfizer.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 37,543

    Fishing said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    I seem to have read somewhere that it's about 70% AZ, but wouldn't swear to that.
    Thanks, that's helpful. Mine is at a GP hub but I don't know if that makes it more or less likely to be Pfizer.
    Less, surely, given the requirements for storing Pfizer which probably can’t be met at a GP’s surgery?

    (Yes I know there’s a discussion about relaxing them, but it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 22,006
    edited February 20
    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.
    Now that Brexit, as Brexit, is done he has to go somewhere else, he has to make it work, and as we've seen with his marriages, 'making something work' is something that bores him.
    In a sense the pandemic has been something which saves him; he can be seen to be acting, and it has prevented Starmer (or someone) from really excoriating him in the Commons.
    Yes, the backbenchers will cheer and encourage when he's being savaged, but when they go into the tea-room or the bar they'll wonder.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Yes, after the characteristically niggling opening, you have nailed a key weakness with David’s argument.

    The big difference with the clown is that he advances neither ideology nor programme nor goes out of his way to cultivate followers, therefore whereas there were Thatcherites and Blairites and Brownites and Cameroons, there is no such thing as Johnsonite. Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.
  • AnneJGPAnneJGP Posts: 2,793
    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 39,814
    edited February 20

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.

    Cameron should have written two letters - when he came back after his "renegotiation".

    If he had written one that came to the conclusion that EU was not for the UK, then supported leave - it would have been so very different. He would have won the referendum for Leave at least 60:40, quite possibly more. He would have demolished the efforts through to 2019 to frustrate delivery. He could have gone to the country again having delivered a far less rancorous Brexit and quite possibly have improved on Boris's majority.

    And he would have prevented Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    There's a lot to be said for writing two letters. Being PM often involves taking 51-49 decisions, with advocating devils for each outcome sat on your shoulders. But having decided, you must put the losing devil to the sword. And plough on with that chosen course.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
  • philiphphiliph Posts: 4,307
    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    She commented on the previous thread I seem to recollect.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 39,814
    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    She was back on briefly last night but didn't share any stories of woe so hoping she is through the worst with her family (other than her daughter's business).
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035
    Fishing said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    I'd agree with all of that.

    I'd also say that Boris's insecurity has significant implications because he's always after short-term popularity at the expense of longer-term governance. Good governance often involves upsetting a lot of people at the start of your five year term and hoping that the positive results show up before the next election. But he seems to want the government to be run in permanent election mode.

    It may work, especially against a very weak opposition, but I think the country will suffer in the long run as necessary but unpopular reforms are postponed. Most obviously we've seen that with changes to the planning system, which have been almost abandoned.

    On benig clubbable, I agree that political leaders have to be aloof. So do business leaders. When everyone who talks to you professionally wants something, you need to preserve some distance so you can say no. I sometimes wonder if that's why political leaders like summit conferences so much - other PMs and Presidents don't continually nag them for jobs and are less likely to beg directly for public cash.
    But the clown likes always to say yes.
  • AnneJGPAnneJGP Posts: 2,793

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.
    Now that Brexit, as Brexit, is done he has to go somewhere else, he has to make it work, and as we've seen with his marriages, 'making something work' is something that bores him.
    In a sense the pandemic has been something which saves him; he can be seen to be acting, and it has prevented Starmer (or someone) from really excoriating him in the Commons.
    Yes, the backbenchers will cheer and encourage when he's being savaged, but when they go into the tea-room or the bar they'll wonder.

    I think the bit about marriages is pretty accurate. Mr Johnson is really a figurehead leader, relying on other people to make things work.
  • philiphphiliph Posts: 4,307
    AnneJGP said:

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.
    Now that Brexit, as Brexit, is done he has to go somewhere else, he has to make it work, and as we've seen with his marriages, 'making something work' is something that bores him.
    In a sense the pandemic has been something which saves him; he can be seen to be acting, and it has prevented Starmer (or someone) from really excoriating him in the Commons.
    Yes, the backbenchers will cheer and encourage when he's being savaged, but when they go into the tea-room or the bar they'll wonder.

    I think the bit about marriages is pretty accurate. Mr Johnson is really a figurehead leader, relying on other people to make things work.
    As were Cameron and Blair
  • AnneJGPAnneJGP Posts: 2,793
    philiph said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    She commented on the previous thread I seem to recollect.

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    She was back on briefly last night but didn't share any stories of woe so hoping she is through the worst with her family (other than her daughter's business).
    Thanks, glad to hear it.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 39,814
    IanB2 said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Yes, after the characteristically niggling opening, you have nailed a key weakness with David’s argument.

    The big difference with the clown is that he advances neither ideology nor programme nor goes out of his way to cultivate followers, therefore whereas there were Thatcherites and Blairites and Brownites and Cameroons, there is no such thing as Johnsonite. Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.
    I was going to say that "Johnsonite" sounded like it should be some industrial treatment for rising damp. But then found this!

    "Johnsonite has delivered the broadest portfolio of high-performance, resilient flooring surfaces"

    https://commercial.tarkett.com/en_US/brand/johnsonite

    "Balanced solutions for productive spaces." Well, it's a sort of credo, I suppose.....
  • GadflyGadfly Posts: 1,066
    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    @Cyclefree has tweeted in the last couple of days and I get the impression that she is in the process of moving into her new house.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 37,543
    AnneJGP said:

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.
    Now that Brexit, as Brexit, is done he has to go somewhere else, he has to make it work, and as we've seen with his marriages, 'making something work' is something that bores him.
    In a sense the pandemic has been something which saves him; he can be seen to be acting, and it has prevented Starmer (or someone) from really excoriating him in the Commons.
    Yes, the backbenchers will cheer and encourage when he's being savaged, but when they go into the tea-room or the bar they'll wonder.

    I think the bit about marriages is pretty accurate. Mr Johnson is really a figurehead leader, relying on other people to make things work.
    There’s nothing wrong in that, if capable people are in charge of making them work. Macmillan didn’t exactly micromanage his Cabinet. Nor did Cameron or Blair. Brown and May did.

    The weakness is Johnson is a poor judge of character leading a very weak Cabinet. So ‘letting them get on with it’ isn’t a successful strategy.
  • AnneJGPAnneJGP Posts: 2,793
    ydoethur said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.
    Now that Brexit, as Brexit, is done he has to go somewhere else, he has to make it work, and as we've seen with his marriages, 'making something work' is something that bores him.
    In a sense the pandemic has been something which saves him; he can be seen to be acting, and it has prevented Starmer (or someone) from really excoriating him in the Commons.
    Yes, the backbenchers will cheer and encourage when he's being savaged, but when they go into the tea-room or the bar they'll wonder.

    I think the bit about marriages is pretty accurate. Mr Johnson is really a figurehead leader, relying on other people to make things work.
    There’s nothing wrong in that, if capable people are in charge of making them work. Macmillan didn’t exactly micromanage his Cabinet. Nor did Cameron or Blair. Brown and May did.

    The weakness is Johnson is a poor judge of character leading a very weak Cabinet. So ‘letting them get on with it’ isn’t a successful strategy.
    I agree, on both counts.
  • AnneJGPAnneJGP Posts: 2,793
    Gadfly said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    @Cyclefree has tweeted in the last couple of days and I get the impression that she is in the process of moving into her new house.
    Thank you.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035
    Even allowing for some CNN spin, it looks like Biden has a capable team

    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/19/politics/democrats-joe-biden-covid-relief-package/index.html
  • BarnesianBarnesian Posts: 6,865
    Excellent perceptive article David.

    But I disagree that Johnson will go before the next election. After a rocky period, he's enjoying it too much.

    Like Trump, he is in permanent sunny campaigning mode, doesn't have an ideology, depends on personal loyalty not competence, is ruthless and self centred, and prepared to trample on the constitution to get his way. He is also appeals to a core of blue collar workers who I suspect will be unswerving in their support. He'll have to be prised out of office. He's a limpet.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 39,814
    IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
  • At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 55,341
    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Observer, I'm amused you think the right rather than the left is leading a culture war.

    It wasn't the right tearing down statues or kneeling. I don't know if the tweet below is accurate (I hope it isn't) but right wing it certainly is not:

    https://twitter.com/DrKarlynB/status/1362774562769879044
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066
    tlg86 said:

    Interesting piece, thanks David.

    I disagree that Theresa May was PM who would compromise. Didn’t she fail to involve the DUP with her Brexit Deal? And like Johnson, she played the election card with a view to obtaining more power.

    She compromised inside her own head, and then dictated to everyone else what compromise they should accept.
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,934
    Nice piece, but a little glitch in para 4:
    "Unlike May, he chose not to engage them but instead to engage them"
    I'm guessing that second instance should be enrage?
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 6,540
    edited February 20

    It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    That used to be the case but it's certainly changing. See the mass hysteria that engulfs England over poppies and the mandatory displays of flag wankery whenever a politician is being interviewed.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    edited February 20
    I think Patel is a bully who should have been sacked for her behaviour, but can a court really overturn a PMs decision not to sack a minister?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56125796
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066

    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Observer, I'm amused you think the right rather than the left is leading a culture war.

    It wasn't the right tearing down statues or kneeling. I don't know if the tweet below is accurate (I hope it isn't) but right wing it certainly is not:

    He keeps repeating it, endlessly, in the hope that it sticks as 'fact' if he does it enough.
  • BarnesianBarnesian Posts: 6,865
    I think Starmer should ease back on trying to attract back the working class who defected to Johnson. They are attracted to Johnson's personality not his policies or performance and Starmer just can't compete with Johnson's personality. Flags and family just won't cut it.

    Instead he should focus on those Tories who really despise and distrust Johnson. Some despise him as a person. Others, more fiscally dry, distrust him on the economy; others see him as not sufficiently supportive of business. They'll continue to back him as long as he's seen as a winner but they are not solid supporters.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    Dura_Ace said:

    It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    That used to be the case but it's certainly changing. See the mass hysteria that engulfs England over poppies and the mandatory displays of flag wankery whenever a politician is being interviewed.
    That's an upsurge in mawkish sentimentality not ideology. Even the flag rise recently doesnt signal any change in ideas or policy, it's not ideological.

    (And as fun as I find it to poke fun at them for it, it's like how foxy said about Harry and Meghan, those whinging about flags are being pettier than those demanding them, not least when leaders world over do it)
  • BarnesianBarnesian Posts: 6,865

    IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
    "When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over"

    Do you really think he would care!! Really? All he'll care about his place in the history books. It would suit him if his successor is a dumbo.
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 12,763
    BoZo needs to quit before the magnitude of his folly overwhelms him.

    But he won't.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Observer, I'm amused you think the right rather than the left is leading a culture war.

    It wasn't the right tearing down statues or kneeling. I don't know if the tweet below is accurate (I hope it isn't) but right wing it certainly is not:

    He keeps repeating it, endlessly, in the hope that it sticks as 'fact' if he does it enough.
    There are people on the right who jump on and make a big deal of some little things in order to flare up a culture war atmosphere for political purposes, I think that is fair.

    BUT what isn't fair is to act like it is all one way, that there's nothing significant and stupid that is also being criticised by such people, and that while sometimes a response might be considered disproportionate, that does not mean there is nothing worthy of a response or that it's wrong, sometimes, to address a small thing before it becomes a big thing.

    Some want to stir things up to cover themselves politically, I think we need to be wary of any such attempts. But there is meat on the bone they are chewing on this issue as well, there is something there. We can argue how much and how it should be reacted to but there is something, this is not happening in a vacuum.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066
    Unusually (given I almost always do) I'm not sure I agree with David on all of this.

    Boris has had to react to parliamentary pressure on relaxing coronavirus restrictions, and from his northern block on levelling up. The reason for this is that he came closer than generally known to a leadership challenge in September/October last year.

    I think he realised changes needed to be made, and swapped out Cain and Cummings for a far more competent team. Now, I'm starting to see emerging coherence in a new global foreign policy, a pump-prime for the economy, big projects in the north to "level up" and leading decarbonisation.

    I'm not naive. I still think he's lazy, slow, self-obsessed and untrustworthy. So, do I put all the credit for this at Boris's door? No. His strengths are largely realized when he picks the right team, and are otherwise confined to setting out a vision, with a fair few whacky ones in the mix, but I think he's grown into the role a bit (only a bit) in the last year, and, for as long as he continues to pick and keep a good team, remains worried about his own political survival, and maintains a focus on his legacy, he should stay in office and be OK.
  • Interestingly written article but while a decent effort it doesn't strike true. In particular anyone that contrasts Boris with May and suggests the latter shows a better model of good government must have been sleeping through the 2017-2019 period.

    Whatever troubles Boris may have his two years in office have been infinitely better ran than the two that preceded him.
  • RogerRoger Posts: 14,058
    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    Scott_xP said:
    They'll say that about everything. Just admit they dont think anything should be raised ever but no spending ever reduced either, except welfare, international development and below inflation tweaking.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 6,965

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Disagreeing with this definition of clubbable. I think David gets that Boris wants to be in the establishment club, but also does not like hard decisions so tells people what they want to hear.

    Clubs are groups with something in common, therefore by definition exclusive. I think uncollegiate might be the better word.

    Also disagree on Major - by no means the worst. But with an impossible wicket to play on.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 52,980
    edited February 20
    Roger said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
    Still sucking on those sour grapes?

    A walk might be a better idea for you.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    edited February 20
    Roger said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
    You seem to see eulogisers even among people who despise Johnson so I'm not sure that's a great judgement.

    Boris is not someone I and many others want as PM, but relatively speaking hes had a good few weeks. His fans love that and some critics will accept its been far from his worst period. Doesnt change fundamentals.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 36,531
    I agree with some of David's description but I don't agree with his conclusions. The consequences of dealing with both Brexit and Covid will, in my view, lead to the opposite of "managerialism". The lesson is go large and don't compromise. I expect that he will continue to govern in this way. We will have a series of grand or even grandiloquent government policies aimed at transforming Britain. It will not be business as usual.

    Some, maybe even most, of these ideas may not ultimately work. Some will undoubtedly prove to have been a waste of money. But you could say exactly the same about FDR's New Deal and rather miss the point that it transformed America.

    Small state, low tax Tories are not going to stop wincing as the generous Covid packages recede. Spending will continue to be aggressive and deficits not worried about. Maybe that's what we need. Its certainly what we are going to get.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066

    Johnson, surely, became PM because he really, really, wanted the job for it's own sake; not because he had a vision beyond the act of Brexit. And, let us not forget he very, very nearly came down on the side of Remain; Cameron was, if my understanding is right, surprised and disappointed when he made the decision to join Leave.

    Cameron should have written two letters - when he came back after his "renegotiation".

    If he had written one that came to the conclusion that EU was not for the UK, then supported leave - it would have been so very different. He would have won the referendum for Leave at least 60:40, quite possibly more. He would have demolished the efforts through to 2019 to frustrate delivery. He could have gone to the country again having delivered a far less rancorous Brexit and quite possibly have improved on Boris's majority.

    And he would have prevented Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    There's a lot to be said for writing two letters. Being PM often involves taking 51-49 decisions, with advocating devils for each outcome sat on your shoulders. But having decided, you must put the losing devil to the sword. And plough on with that chosen course.
    Cameron is a traditional consensus establishmentarian, which is also a classic small-c conservative position.

    He wouldn't have been a Europhile in the 1940s (like Eden), he would have been an enthusiastic one in the 1970s, he'd be very pro market in the 80s, he was a mild Eurosceptic but remainer in the 90s and 00s, and he would be an independent sovereignist in the 2030s.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    IanB2 said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Yes, after the characteristically niggling opening, you have nailed a key weakness with David’s argument.

    The big difference with the clown is that he advances neither ideology nor programme nor goes out of his way to cultivate followers, therefore whereas there were Thatcherites and Blairites and Brownites and Cameroons, there is no such thing as Johnsonite. Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.
    Johnson has done what many Tory leaders have done in the past: recalibrate the offer and appeal of the Conservative Party so it stays in office.

    The reason it's the oldest and most successful party in the Western world at gaining and retaining office is because it's willing to be so flexible in its positioning.

    The key thing is that it stays in power.
    Which is amusing in the sense some people think it's a static entity aping for one time period forever.

    It might well for a bit, for better or worse depending on personal values, but itll soon change to another!
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066
    kle4 said:

    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Observer, I'm amused you think the right rather than the left is leading a culture war.

    It wasn't the right tearing down statues or kneeling. I don't know if the tweet below is accurate (I hope it isn't) but right wing it certainly is not:

    He keeps repeating it, endlessly, in the hope that it sticks as 'fact' if he does it enough.
    There are people on the right who jump on and make a big deal of some little things in order to flare up a culture war atmosphere for political purposes, I think that is fair.

    BUT what isn't fair is to act like it is all one way, that there's nothing significant and stupid that is also being criticised by such people, and that while sometimes a response might be considered disproportionate, that does not mean there is nothing worthy of a response or that it's wrong, sometimes, to address a small thing before it becomes a big thing.

    Some want to stir things up to cover themselves politically, I think we need to be wary of any such attempts. But there is meat on the bone they are chewing on this issue as well, there is something there. We can argue how much and how it should be reacted to but there is something, this is not happening in a vacuum.
    Fair comment.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 65,213
    IanB2 said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
    Choose ! How many have a choice lol
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 2,975
    edited February 20
    Barnesian said:

    Excellent perceptive article David.

    But I disagree that Johnson will go before the next election. After a rocky period, he's enjoying it too much.

    Like Trump, he is in permanent sunny campaigning mode, doesn't have an ideology, depends on personal loyalty not competence, is ruthless and self centred, and prepared to trample on the constitution to get his way. He is also appeals to a core of blue collar workers who I suspect will be unswerving in their support. He'll have to be prised out of office. He's a limpet.

    I don't suppose Boris has ideology in the sense of a capacity to write down his political theory. Leaders tend not to be good at that. You look at what they do.

    In terms of national, economic policy, so far he looks like Heseltine + Brexit, or Christian Democrat minus European unity. This is an extraordinary mix of centrism and populism.

    In terms of social/moral direction he is laissez faire.

    In terms of strategy/election winning he is populist/charismatic.

    And personally he looks and acts like a disciple of Nietzsche/Machiavelli.

    He is the only person who is obviously a genius (quite different from being nice) in government or parliament.

    So I think the heart of David Herdson's excellent and interesting thesis is incorrect FWIW.

    If he falls he will fall big, but I think his ambition will be to retire from leadership into something else (probably not baking cakes with Mary Berry) at a time apparently of his choosing. But currently his genius has a long way to run.

  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066
    kle4 said:

    IanB2 said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Yes, after the characteristically niggling opening, you have nailed a key weakness with David’s argument.

    The big difference with the clown is that he advances neither ideology nor programme nor goes out of his way to cultivate followers, therefore whereas there were Thatcherites and Blairites and Brownites and Cameroons, there is no such thing as Johnsonite. Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.
    Johnson has done what many Tory leaders have done in the past: recalibrate the offer and appeal of the Conservative Party so it stays in office.

    The reason it's the oldest and most successful party in the Western world at gaining and retaining office is because it's willing to be so flexible in its positioning.

    The key thing is that it stays in power.
    Which is amusing in the sense some people think it's a static entity aping for one time period forever.

    It might well for a bit, for better or worse depending on personal values, but itll soon change to another!
    There are consistencies. It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    Yes yes yes Brexit etc etc etc. Yawn. But the reason for that was because there was a fundamental conservative belief, shared widely in the country, that our EU membership threatened those things, and therefore the wrenching move of leaving was the lesser of two evils. However, the classic conservative preference would have been a large and comprehensive renegotiation and loosening, which Cameron didn't or couldn't deliver.

    It's why I think the issue will now start to fade away, whilst the Conservative coalition largely stays intact. It's not the prime issue we animates fractures within it, except at the margins.
  • squareroot2squareroot2 Posts: 2,812
    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Southam is incorrect. The Tories just need to point out what Labour are. Keir's latest foray into policy went well didn't it!

    Fear will be the best Tory tactic at the next GE, and rightly so.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 6,540

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 7,858
    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Time for our regular reminder that the vast mass of the people cope with all of this by not engaging with it. This may or may not involve going to a polling station every couple of years to pick the least vile option on the ballot paper, but that's about it. The politically interested are a very small minority.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 6,965
    edited February 20
    FPT: I'm not really convinced by the claim of an attempt to "ban" commercial leaflets. This is the letter sent out by Chloe Smith on 22nd January:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955122/MCD_letter_to_members_of_the_Parliamentary_Parties_Panel.pdf"

    Para 1 calls it "Advice", which is by definition optional, and it is couched as 'The Government's view is that current restrictions do not support door to door canvassing at this particular time'.

    "Banning Leafletting" was a claimed whipped up by the editor of Lib Dem Voice here:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/conservative-government-bans-political-leafletting-how-should-lib-dems-react-66819.html

    I spotted that one of my more querulous senior local councillors had been Keystone-Copped. It *was* within a mile or two of Derbyshire.

    Clarification required now that the constabulary have become involved.
  • Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    Despite all the sound and fury Brexit will result in less change for Britain than remaining in an ever changing Europe.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,056
    Pulpstar said:

    IanB2 said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
    Choose ! How many have a choice lol
    Unless you're in the under-65-with-health-conditions category (who are just being done by GPS) you can choose to book yourself in on the NHS website or wait for your GP to contact you.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 9,999
    algarkirk said:

    Barnesian said:

    Excellent perceptive article David.

    But I disagree that Johnson will go before the next election. After a rocky period, he's enjoying it too much.

    Like Trump, he is in permanent sunny campaigning mode, doesn't have an ideology, depends on personal loyalty not competence, is ruthless and self centred, and prepared to trample on the constitution to get his way. He is also appeals to a core of blue collar workers who I suspect will be unswerving in their support. He'll have to be prised out of office. He's a limpet.

    I don't suppose Boris has ideology in the sense of a capacity to write down his political theory. Leaders tend not to be good at that. You look at what they do.

    In terms of national, economic policy, so far he looks like Heseltine + Brexit, or Christian Democrat minus European unity. This is an extraordinary mix of centrism and populism.

    In terms of social/moral direction he is laissez faire.

    In terms of strategy/election winning he is populist/charismatic.

    And personally he looks and acts like a disciple of Nietzsche/Machiavelli.

    He is the only person who is obviously a genius (quite different from being nice) in government or parliament.

    So I think the heart of David Herdson's excellent and interesting thesis is incorrect FWIW.

    If he falls he will fall big, but I think his ambition will be to retire from leadership into something else (probably not baking cakes with Mary Berry) at a time apparently of his choosing. But currently his genius has a long way to run.

    Genius?

    Even if one accepts an inch-perfect pandemic and Brexit performance (any shortcomings being someone else's fault) and the statistics that suggest he is electoral catnip, I still don't see where we get genius from.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066

    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Southam is incorrect. The Tories just need to point out what Labour are. Keir's latest foray into policy went well didn't it!

    Fear will be the best Tory tactic at the next GE, and rightly so.
    It's deeply sad what's happened to Southam.

    I like him. He's one of my favourite posters on here, and a good guy. Unfortunately, he's let Twitter (where he has a couple of thousand echo-chamber followers) go to his head as he serves them up what they want to hear. He'd get far more out of coming back on here and engaging with the few dozen intelligent posters we have. But, that's at times harder work because you have to listen and think, and you don't get all those retweets and likes.

    I also think it's rather strange. Southam is no hard-line Lefty, and I suspect has some deep-rooted concerns with some of the extreme cultural moves of the radical Left. But, I think he's deeply frustrated by losing for over 11 years now and is searching for a coherent and unifying attack line that he can use on the Tories to coalesce Labour as one and help them regain power, so he's burying it for now.

    I just think he's being overly influenced by Twitter, and has picked the wrong one.
  • theProletheProle Posts: 265
    ydoethur said:

    Fishing said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    I'd agree with all of that.

    I'd also say that Boris's insecurity has significant implications because he's always after short-term popularity at the expense of longer-term governance. Good governance often involves upsetting a lot of people at the start of your five year term and hoping that the positive results show up before the next election. But he seems to want the government to be run in permanent election mode.

    It may work, especially against a very weak opposition, but I think the country will suffer in the long run as necessary but unpopular reforms are postponed. Most obviously we've seen that with changes to the planning system, which have been almost abandoned.

    On benig clubbable, I agree that political leaders have to be aloof. So do business leaders. When everyone who talks to you professionally wants something, you need to preserve some distance so you can say no. I sometimes wonder if that's why political leaders like summit conferences so much - other PMs and Presidents don't continually nag them for jobs and are less likely to beg directly for public cash.
    The only really controversial thing he’s done is green light HS2. And while Southerners especially in the media hate it, it is actually pretty popular in the Midlands and North, where the marginals are.
    Really? I don't think I've ever heard a good word about it round here, in a North Midlands Lab/Tory marginal. Everyone seems to see it as a very expensive white elephant.

    It's worth bearing in mind that most northerners despise London. It's overcrowded, overpriced, and the people are alloof and unfriendly. And the government pours tax money on it (e.g. by building the most expensive railway in history so people can get there faster). Why would we want a railway to get us somewhere we don't want to go faster?

    Northerners don't travel by train much anyway - we mostly drive. And about all the government has done for Northern drivers is some stretches of Smart Motorways, which are pretty universally hated (mostly because of the cameras, but also because of how dangerous they are), because they are far to cheapskate to add extra lanes properly.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035
    edited February 20

    IanB2 said:

    A bit of a rambling piece. It doesn't seem to head anywhere. However, if lack of 'clubbability and collegiality' is the main driver for the thesis then it begs a question. Which Prime Ministers have been? And is it a requirement? And is this really suggesting that to be PM you aren't supposed to be all about yourself?!!

    Theresa May was notoriously tricky to work with. I don't know anyone who would describe her as clubbable.

    David Cameron most certainly was NOT clubbable. He was aloof, operated in his own clan and if you weren't in the inner circle then you were nobody.

    Gordon Brown was self-obsessed and not clubbable.

    Tony Blair was affable and genial but I think it was a charade and it was still all about him. He was something of a cult figure, as evidenced since he stood down.

    John Major was probably the most clubbable PM of my lifetime and one of the worst PM's.

    Margaret Thatcher was the most aloof, unclubbable and least collegiate PM of my lifetime ... and the best PM by a country mile.

    I could go, but you get the point.

    To be PM you need to be up yourself, aloof, un-collegiate and un-clubbable. It's a lonely job. You don't get there by being luvvie.

    Johnson's biggest problem is that he's insecure. He has been much better since showing Cummings the door but he needs to rein in his ministers who are loose canons and frequently contradicting one another as they pitch for power.

    Boris Johnson needs to be less collegiate and clubbable and more aloof from the herd. He has the makings of a fine Prime Minister.

    Yes, after the characteristically niggling opening, you have nailed a key weakness with David’s argument.

    The big difference with the clown is that he advances neither ideology nor programme nor goes out of his way to cultivate followers, therefore whereas there were Thatcherites and Blairites and Brownites and Cameroons, there is no such thing as Johnsonite. Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.
    Johnson has done what many Tory leaders have done in the past: recalibrate the offer and appeal of the Conservative Party so it stays in office.

    The reason it's the oldest and most successful party in the Western world at gaining and retaining office is because it's willing to be so flexible in its positioning.

    The key thing is that it stays in power.
    Which amplifies the point I was trying to make - without real political friends, without an obvious ideology or programme, and without a clan - as soon as Johnson is seen as inhibiting the party's quest for never ending rule, he is gone.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Time for our regular reminder that the vast mass of the people cope with all of this by not engaging with it. This may or may not involve going to a polling station every couple of years to pick the least vile option on the ballot paper, but that's about it. The politically interested are a very small minority.
    Sure, but it impacts everyone whether they pay close attention to it or not.
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,934
    By the way, on Boris Johnson's suitability as PM, it's worth reading his speech of yesterday addressing the Munich security conference and consider whether any other world leaders would do better.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-at-the-munich-security-conference-19-february-2021
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 15,864
    edited February 20
    MattW said:

    FPT: I'm not really convinced by the claim of an attempt to "ban" commercial leaflets. This is the letter sent out by Chloe Smith on 22nd January:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955122/MCD_letter_to_members_of_the_Parliamentary_Parties_Panel.pdf"

    Para 1 calls it "Advice", which is by definition optional, and it is couched as 'The Government's view is that current restrictions do not support door to door canvassing at this particular time'.

    "Banning Leafletting" was a claimed whipped up by the editor of Lib Dem Voice here:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/conservative-government-bans-political-leafletting-how-should-lib-dems-react-66819.html

    I spotted that one of my more querulous senior local councillors had been Keystone-Copped. It *was* within a mile or two of Derbyshire.

    Clarification required now that the constabulary have become involved.

    I had a bit of a tantrum about this yesterday, but more seriously, the Surrey Chief Constable has said leafleting is an offence and will be prosecuted, and fines have been imposed elsewhere in the country.

    The problem may go away if the restrictions are relaxed soon. However, at present the Government is being understood by police forces to expect them to charge leafleters. If that's the intention, it should be clearly stated so it's consistent. If that's not the intention, Ms Patel should make it clear. Is an unambiguous legal position too much to ask?

    By the way, it's not about canvassing. Pretty much everyone accepts that actually engaging with loads of people on the doorstep would be a clear breach of the rules, as well as stupid and extremely unpopular.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 7,858

    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Southam is incorrect. The Tories just need to point out what Labour are. Keir's latest foray into policy went well didn't it!

    Fear will be the best Tory tactic at the next GE, and rightly so.
    Indeed. The themes almost write themselves:

    1. A vote for Starmer is a vote to let Corbynism in by the back door
    2. A vote for Starmer is a vote to reopen old wounds over Europe
    3. A vote for Starmer is a vote to let the SNP help itself to (even more of) your money

    Labour can argue the toss that none of this is true, but the dire electoral arithmetic and the nature of Labour's membership and its backbench MPs are more than sufficient to plant the seeds of doubt in voters' minds.
  • Northern_AlNorthern_Al Posts: 1,273
    kle4 said:

    I think Patel is a bully who should have been sacked for her behaviour, but can a court really overturn a PMs decision not to sack a minister?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56125796

    No, I'm sure the High Court won't, or can't, overturn Johnson's decision not to sack Patel for breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

    But what's interesting (to me) about this is that the FDA (senior CS union) are seeking a judicial review of Johnson's decision not to sack her. The FDA is always extremely cautious about the steps it takes to protect its members, and it's fairly extraordinary that it is pursuing this through JR. It suggest to me that there is a smoking gun here, and that Patel's bullying is not actually in dispute at all. If they didn't have compelling evidence of egregious behaviour, the FDA would quietly drop it.

    On another matter, I've seen little comment on Hancock/DHSC being judged to have broken the law on contracts:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56125462

    By the way, a really interesting header.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035
    kle4 said:

    Roger said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
    You seem to see eulogisers even among people who despise Johnson so I'm not sure that's a great judgement.

    Boris is not someone I and many others want as PM, but relatively speaking hes had a good few weeks. His fans love that and some critics will accept its been far from his worst period. Doesnt change fundamentals.
    The vaccine programme has gone well because both the procurement and management have been kept well away from government, and from the clown and his cronies in particular. For sure, he deserves some credit for having set things up this way - at all accounts because Vallance and other scientists insisted we couldn't risk a repeat of the PPE procurement shambles.

    Otherwise I'd dispute the 'good few weeks', except that nothing obvious has gone wrong. The tunnel to NI is clearly a non starter, and I can only assume that, as in London, he feels he'll get some credit for the idea and for trying and suffer no downside when nothing comes of it. Probably he'll now go on to waste a few tens of £millions getting someone to look into it.

    Things look a little better for the Tories because Labour appears to have decided to try and make a bit more impact, yet is struggling.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 6,540
    IanB2 said:



    Which amplifies the point I was trying to make - without real political friends, without an obvious ideology or programme, and without a clan - as soon as Johnson is seen as inhibiting the party's quest for never ending rule, he is gone.

    It's not as complex as that. If it looks like he will lose the next election and there is an opportunity to install a more favourable successor then he will be gone. Until those conditions obtain he stays.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 41,066
    Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    I note you ignored all of the rest of my post, where I anticipated brain-dead reposts like this to it.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    MattW said:

    FPT: I'm not really convinced by the claim of an attempt to "ban" commercial leaflets. This is the letter sent out by Chloe Smith on 22nd January:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955122/MCD_letter_to_members_of_the_Parliamentary_Parties_Panel.pdf"

    Para 1 calls it "Advice", which is by definition optional, and it is couched as 'The Government's view is that current restrictions do not support door to door canvassing at this particular time'.

    "Banning Leafletting" was a claimed whipped up by the editor of Lib Dem Voice here:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/conservative-government-bans-political-leafletting-how-should-lib-dems-react-66819.html

    I spotted that one of my more querulous senior local councillors had been Keystone-Copped. It *was* within a mile or two of Derbyshire.

    Clarification required now that the constabulary have become involved.

    I had a bit of a tantrum about this yesterday, but more seriously, the Surrey Chief Constable has said leafleting is an offence and will be prosecuted, and fines have been imposed elsewhere in the country.

    The problem may go away if the restrictions are relaxed soon. However, at present the Government is being understood by police forces to expect them to charge leafleters. If that's the intention, it should be clearly stated so it's consistent. If that's not the intention, Ms Patel should make it clear. Is an unambiguous legal position too much to ask?
    No, I don't think it is. We all know from earlier lockdown incidents that government guidance can sometimes be ambiguous, or outright go beyond what is actually restricted by law, and that the police can over rely on that or even go beyond it in misunderstanding.

    It absolutely should be completely clear if it is currently against the law. They may be warier of saying when it will not be, given circumspection over relaxation of restrictions, and may be hoping to announce that the all clear is given soon.

    But people should not be uncertain if the police are expected to be going around charging leafleters.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 26,480

    Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    Despite all the sound and fury Brexit will result in less change for Britain than remaining in an ever changing Europe.
    Do you think substantially greater chances of Irish reunification and Scottish Indy weren’t caused by Brexit or that they wouldn’t really count as ‘change for Britain’?
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    edited February 20

    kle4 said:

    I think Patel is a bully who should have been sacked for her behaviour, but can a court really overturn a PMs decision not to sack a minister?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56125796

    No, I'm sure the High Court won't, or can't, overturn Johnson's decision not to sack Patel for breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

    But what's interesting (to me) about this is that the FDA (senior CS union) are seeking a judicial review of Johnson's decision not to sack her. The FDA is always extremely cautious about the steps it takes to protect its members, and it's fairly extraordinary that it is pursuing this through JR. It suggest to me that there is a smoking gun here, and that Patel's bullying is not actually in dispute at all. If they didn't have compelling evidence of egregious behaviour, the FDA would quietly drop it.

    On another matter, I've seen little comment on Hancock/DHSC being judged to have broken the law on contracts:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56125462

    By the way, a really interesting header.
    Even the report to Boris talked about her 'accidentally' breaking the code, so I imagine there is little doubt she treated people pretty horribly.

    I think the contract issue has had little comment since on here at least we've had it brought up a lot, so it was not so much a surprise.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035
    edited February 20
    Pulpstar said:

    IanB2 said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
    Choose ! How many have a choice lol
    You can choose your time and your venue through the booking service.

    Although my local hospital centre has now closed to bookings and is saving its Pfizer for second doses for those that have already had it. Don't know whether this is the case nationwide, but it might make sense to manage second doses through hospitals while continuing first doses with AZN out in the field, keeping the two streams separate.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 39,814
    edited February 20
    Barnesian said:

    IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
    "When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over"

    Do you really think he would care!! Really? All he'll care about his place in the history books. It would suit him if his successor is a dumbo.
    Of course he cares. Whatever you might think of the man, the Conservative Party is a huge part of his life. He wants what is best for it. Because deep down, his ultimate belief is that the interests of the country he loves, the United Kingdom, and the interests of the people of that country, are best served by the Conservative Party over the capabilities of other offers.

    That he could get a majority of 80 from that electorate is a mystery to so many. Well, have you perhaps considered that maybe political prognostication really isn't for you, huh? Anybody that laid Boris as leader and PM really hasn't got the insights into modern politics required to be putting down hard cash.
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 12,763

    No, I'm sure the High Court won't, or can't, overturn Johnson's decision not to sack Patel for breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

    https://twitter.com/Geoelte_Spinne/status/1363049230005338112
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225
    edited February 20
    IanB2 said:

    kle4 said:

    Roger said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
    You seem to see eulogisers even among people who despise Johnson so I'm not sure that's a great judgement.

    Boris is not someone I and many others want as PM, but relatively speaking hes had a good few weeks. His fans love that and some critics will accept its been far from his worst period. Doesnt change fundamentals.
    The vaccine programme has gone well because both the procurement and management have been kept well away from government, and from the clown and his cronies in particular. For sure, he deserves some credit for having set things up this way - at all accounts because Vallance and other scientists insisted we couldn't risk a repeat of the PPE procurement shambles.

    Otherwise I'd dispute the 'good few weeks', except that nothing obvious has gone wrong. The tunnel to NI is clearly a non starter, and I can only assume that, as in London, he feels he'll get some credit for the idea and for trying and suffer no downside when nothing comes of it. Probably he'll now go on to waste a few tens of £millions getting someone to look into it.

    Things look a little better for the Tories because Labour appears to have decided to try and make a bit more impact, yet is struggling.
    That's why I said 'relatively speaking' he's had a good few weeks. That doesn't necessarily means he deserves some of the individual praise he will get, merely that when nothing is obviously going wrong of course supporters will be more bouyant.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 6,540

    Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    Despite all the sound and fury Brexit will result in less change for Britain than remaining in an ever changing Europe.
    Do you think substantially greater chances of Irish reunification and Scottish Indy weren’t caused by Brexit or that they wouldn’t really count as ‘change for Britain’?
    Britain is leaver cant for England as that is all they care about.
  • Pulpstar said:

    IanB2 said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
    Choose ! How many have a choice lol
    Unless you're in the under-65-with-health-conditions category (who are just being done by GPS) you can choose to book yourself in on the NHS website or wait for your GP to contact you.
    I’m in that category, but I preempted the GP’s phone call by putting my NHS number and DoB into the website: that resulted in my being given a range of options, sorted by distance from where I live.
    I think if I had waited for my GP to contact me then I would probably not have known I had a choice.

    If you think you are going to get a letter soon it might be worth just going to the NHS website and giving it a go.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 6,965
    Scott_xP said:
    Under that one they can get an injunction, because the ruling seems to be that the after-the-fact publication is unlawful.

    A small win for Great Jumping Jolyon?
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035

    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Southam is incorrect. The Tories just need to point out what Labour are. Keir's latest foray into policy went well didn't it!

    Fear will be the best Tory tactic at the next GE, and rightly so.
    The fact that the Tories generally campaign this way is a subset of the general principle I advanced last weekend, that the right does better when people are already fearful and the left when people are wanting to be hopeful the hard times are receding.

    Thus some Tory fear-based campaigns have done very well, but there have been some spectacular failures - Churchill in 1945 went round suggesting Labour government would lead to the gestapo, and the Tories unsuccessfully tried to dent Blair with the devil eyes posters and suchlike.

    If the next GE has voters looking forward to a better, fairer post-pandemic world, a fear campaign may backfire.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 20,085
    Astute piece from David Herdson. The pandemic will soon be over and it will be back to politics as usual - with a bombed out economy, bankrupt public finances, and a government whose only purpose (doing Brexit) has disappeared. Johnson's shtick will be sorely tested then. But I disagree about his going before the election. I see little prospect of that. Sadly.
  • Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    Despite all the sound and fury Brexit will result in less change for Britain than remaining in an ever changing Europe.
    Do you think substantially greater chances of Irish reunification and Scottish Indy weren’t caused by Brexit or that they wouldn’t really count as ‘change for Britain’?
    I don't think Brexit has led to substantially greater chances of either.

    The SNP won all but three MPs in 2015, before Brexit. They were never going to let sleeping dogs lie and if it wasn't Brexit they would have latched upon anything else instead.

    You don't want Sindy because of Brexit. You want Sindy because you've always wanted Sindy.

    As for the Irish it will depend as it has for decades upon demographics.
  • geoffw said:

    By the way, on Boris Johnson's suitability as PM, it's worth reading his speech of yesterday addressing the Munich security conference and consider whether any other world leaders would do better.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-at-the-munich-security-conference-19-february-2021

    I listened to his speech and thought it was one of his best on international affairs
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 64,225

    Barnesian said:

    IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
    "When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over"

    Do you really think he would care!! Really? All he'll care about his place in the history books. It would suit him if his successor is a dumbo.
    Of course he cares. Whatever you might think of the man, the Conservative Party is a huge part of his life. He wants what is best for it. Because deep down, his ultimate belief is that the interests of the country he loves, the United Kingdom, and the interests of the people of that country, are best served by the Conservative Party over the capabilities of other offers.
    Oh please. The Labour party is a huge part of Jeremy Corbyn's life as well, and I'm sure he thinks he loves it, that doesn't mean he doesn't put his personal satisfaction above the good of the party or country, or more commonly conflate the two.

    It's perfectly possible Boris thinks what you think he does, yet still acts with petty lack of care when it comes to a successor.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035

    kle4 said:

    I think Patel is a bully who should have been sacked for her behaviour, but can a court really overturn a PMs decision not to sack a minister?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56125796

    No, I'm sure the High Court won't, or can't, overturn Johnson's decision not to sack Patel for breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

    But what's interesting (to me) about this is that the FDA (senior CS union) are seeking a judicial review of Johnson's decision not to sack her. The FDA is always extremely cautious about the steps it takes to protect its members, and it's fairly extraordinary that it is pursuing this through JR. It suggest to me that there is a smoking gun here, and that Patel's bullying is not actually in dispute at all. If they didn't have compelling evidence of egregious behaviour, the FDA would quietly drop it.

    On another matter, I've seen little comment on Hancock/DHSC being judged to have broken the law on contracts:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56125462

    By the way, a really interesting header.
    When I heard the interview on yesterday lunchtime's WatO, it sounded that way to me.

    And there's the wider issue that they rightly see the government's defence - that she didn't mean to bully anyone, as driving a cart and horses through the utility of the code in ever holding any politician to account for their behaviour in the future.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 7,858
    Dura_Ace said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    It's pragmatic, fiscally conservative, puts the national interest first, and prefers gradual reform to radical change.

    It's been exactly none of those things since 2015.
    Yes it has.

    Despite all the sound and fury Brexit will result in less change for Britain than remaining in an ever changing Europe.
    Do you think substantially greater chances of Irish reunification and Scottish Indy weren’t caused by Brexit or that they wouldn’t really count as ‘change for Britain’?
    Britain is leaver cant for England as that is all they care about.
    Obviously untrue or else they would say so. What would a bona fide English nationalist movement have to gain from the continuation of the Union?
  • theProletheProle Posts: 265

    kle4 said:

    At some point the Tories are going to have to work out what they stand for. They are clearly not the party of business anymore, neither do they cherish personal liberty, a small state or the Union. All the things they used to claim as their own no longer apply. It seems that they are moving towards an English form of Orbanism or Modi-ism, but I wonder if that is sustainable. Permanent culture war may not be enough if the economy does not rebound in line with the electoral cycle. It is also a very exhausting way of running a country that remains, at its heart, largely unideological.

    Exhausting is right. We're polarised enough, I dont know how even more exhausting political environments like America manage.
    Southam is incorrect. The Tories just need to point out what Labour are. Keir's latest foray into policy went well didn't it!

    Fear will be the best Tory tactic at the next GE, and rightly so.
    It's deeply sad what's happened to Southam.

    I like him. He's one of my favourite posters on here, and a good guy. Unfortunately, he's let Twitter (where he has a couple of thousand echo-chamber followers) go to his head as he serves them up what they want to hear. He'd get far more out of coming back on here and engaging with the few dozen intelligent posters we have. But, that's at times harder work because you have to listen and think, and you don't get all those retweets and likes.

    I also think it's rather strange. Southam is no hard-line Lefty, and I suspect has some deep-rooted concerns with some of the extreme cultural moves of the radical Left. But, I think he's deeply frustrated by losing for over 11 years now and is searching for a coherent and unifying attack line that he can use on the Tories to coalesce Labour as one and help them regain power, so he's burying it for now.

    I just think he's being overly influenced by Twitter, and has picked the wrong one.
    I think Southern has a point here. Thanks to Starmer being a portable boring machine, and the rest of his party a disorganised rabble of non-entities, the Tories have got a free pass for the moment. But that doesn't mean that they are out of the woods, because they appear not to have any principles any more.
    They use to stand for sound money, personal freedom and a small state. They understood business, particularly small businesses. They knew small businesses are destroyed by regulations, big businesses love them as it destroys their smaller nimble competition.
    Currently they appear to have abandoned all that. They are simply trading as the "less bad party" with a side helping of (badly played out) culture war.

    It's maddening as a voter. I don't want to vote for Johnson and his clowns, but the only viable alternative is Starmer, who stands for all the same things as Johnson just done a bit worse, plus the really insane side of the culture war.

  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 33,035

    Barnesian said:

    IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
    "When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over"

    Do you really think he would care!! Really? All he'll care about his place in the history books. It would suit him if his successor is a dumbo.
    Of course he cares. Whatever you might think of the man, the Conservative Party is a huge part of his life. He wants what is best for it. Because deep down, his ultimate belief is that the interests of the country he loves, the United Kingdom, and the interests of the people of that country, are best served by the Conservative Party over the capabilities of other offers.

    That he could get a majority of 80 from that electorate is a mystery to so many. Well, have you perhaps considered that maybe political prognostication really isn't for you, huh? Anybody that laid Boris as leader and PM really hasn't got the insights into modern politics required to be putting down hard cash.
    Having a crooked voting system helped hugely.
  • IanB2 said:


    Not having his own clan, and therefore only being able to gather about him comparative inadequates, will be his undoing, which is probably what David was trying to get at.

    "comparative inadequates"? Prime Ministers are generally surrounded by comparative inadequates - in that, most will not reach the top of the greasy poll themselves. Some make room for their heir presumptive - someone who will neither outshine nor set about demolishing their legacy. For some PMs, they have an obvious successor - Blair had Brown (although, arguably, he should have canned him for Labour to prosper). Some seem to prevent the appointment of any who might be a successor - Brown and May. Some are in charge of such a lost cause, you have no idea who might be your successor when your party next gains power (Major). Some have no fear about their legacy being dismantled, it doesn't really matter who follows on (Thatcher).

    Boris has around him those who could be natural successors. Sunak, obviously. Truss, if she carries on cheerfully delivering. Maybe Dowden, if Boris goes long. Having secured the top job, Boris doesn't exude the air that nobody could possibly do the job as well as them. You won't have to prise each finger off the door jamb of Number 10. When he does go, he can be relaxed there will be somebody competent to take over.
    You are unfair to Brown and May whose Cabinets were stuffed with likely successors, including Boris. Some of these subsequently resigned, including Boris.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,056

    Pulpstar said:

    IanB2 said:

    I'm having my jab next week (bravo to all those responsible!). Does anyone happen to know what proportion of jabs currently are AstraZeneca and which proportion are Pfizer?

    It’s not so much a numbers game as a location one. If you choose to go to a hospital you’re still more likely than not to get Pfizer; if you choose a GP practice or other local facility, or a large public venue like a stadium or community centre, it’ll be AZN.
    Choose ! How many have a choice lol
    Unless you're in the under-65-with-health-conditions category (who are just being done by GPS) you can choose to book yourself in on the NHS website or wait for your GP to contact you.
    I’m in that category, but I preempted the GP’s phone call by putting my NHS number and DoB into the website: that resulted in my being given a range of options, sorted by distance from where I live.
    I think if I had waited for my GP to contact me then I would probably not have known I had a choice.

    If you think you are going to get a letter soon it might be worth just going to the NHS website and giving it a go.
    That's interesting. On Monday the NHS guy said that people-with-health-conditions will not be getting NHS letters. To be honest I am no longer sure if I am group 6 or group 8. I get a "cardiac risk" free flu jab but I'm robustly healthy, and if people with moderate asthma have been taken off the list then I might have been as well.
  • YorkcityYorkcity Posts: 4,382
    kle4 said:

    IanB2 said:

    kle4 said:

    Roger said:

    AnneJGP said:

    Thanks for the article, David.

    Has anyone noticed any comments from @Cyclefree recently? I've lurked quite a bit but haven't noticed a comment from her for a week or so. A bit concerned for her & her family.

    Good morning, everybody.

    I can't claim to speak for her but the last three weeks has been wall to wall Johnson eulogisers. Brexiteers looking for every piece of evidence that this louche lump of lard is actually what this country has been crying out for. For those of us with horizons beyond Hartlepool -like cyclefree perhaps- it's been like wading through treacle. Bordering on the unreadable.

    Just a thought....maybe she's just out walking.
    You seem to see eulogisers even among people who despise Johnson so I'm not sure that's a great judgement.

    Boris is not someone I and many others want as PM, but relatively speaking hes had a good few weeks. His fans love that and some critics will accept its been far from his worst period. Doesnt change fundamentals.
    The vaccine programme has gone well because both the procurement and management have been kept well away from government, and from the clown and his cronies in particular. For sure, he deserves some credit for having set things up this way - at all accounts because Vallance and other scientists insisted we couldn't risk a repeat of the PPE procurement shambles.

    Otherwise I'd dispute the 'good few weeks', except that nothing obvious has gone wrong. The tunnel to NI is clearly a non starter, and I can only assume that, as in London, he feels he'll get some credit for the idea and for trying and suffer no downside when nothing comes of it. Probably he'll now go on to waste a few tens of £millions getting someone to look into it.

    Things look a little better for the Tories because Labour appears to have decided to try and make a bit more impact, yet is struggling.
    That's why I said 'relatively speaking' he's had a good few weeks. That doesn't necessarily means he deserves some of the individual praise he will get, merely that when nothing is obviously going wrong of course supporters will be more bouyant.
    It helps as it does Sturgeon that Johnson is on the main TV news channels everyday during this lockdown.Especially with the successful rollout of the vaccine.
    Even if he gets a difficult question he can refer it to the advisors alongside him.
    Johnson is in permanent election mode , without the checks and balances awarded to the opposition
    Parties that would normally apply.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 6,965
    edited February 20
    kle4 said:

    MattW said:

    FPT: I'm not really convinced by the claim of an attempt to "ban" commercial leaflets. This is the letter sent out by Chloe Smith on 22nd January:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955122/MCD_letter_to_members_of_the_Parliamentary_Parties_Panel.pdf"

    Para 1 calls it "Advice", which is by definition optional, and it is couched as 'The Government's view is that current restrictions do not support door to door canvassing at this particular time'.

    "Banning Leafletting" was a claimed whipped up by the editor of Lib Dem Voice here:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/conservative-government-bans-political-leafletting-how-should-lib-dems-react-66819.html

    I spotted that one of my more querulous senior local councillors had been Keystone-Copped. It *was* within a mile or two of Derbyshire.

    Clarification required now that the constabulary have become involved.

    I had a bit of a tantrum about this yesterday, but more seriously, the Surrey Chief Constable has said leafleting is an offence and will be prosecuted, and fines have been imposed elsewhere in the country.

    The problem may go away if the restrictions are relaxed soon. However, at present the Government is being understood by police forces to expect them to charge leafleters. If that's the intention, it should be clearly stated so it's consistent. If that's not the intention, Ms Patel should make it clear. Is an unambiguous legal position too much to ask?
    No, I don't think it is. We all know from earlier lockdown incidents that government guidance can sometimes be ambiguous, or outright go beyond what is actually restricted by law, and that the police can over rely on that or even go beyond it in misunderstanding.

    It absolutely should be completely clear if it is currently against the law. They may be warier of saying when it will not be, given circumspection over relaxation of restrictions, and may be hoping to announce that the all clear is given soon.

    But people should not be uncertain if the police are expected to be going around charging leafleters.
    Agree it should be made clear.

    Another CC - Gloucester? - has said it is OK.

    The Councillor is also up before the Beak in May 2021 on assault charges. They dropped the "resisting arrest".

    And then again a week later for a separate trial after an "incident" at ASDA.

    It's all happening in Ashfield. Good job there are no elections this year.
This discussion has been closed.