BY FRANK HAVILAND
The calibre of political discourse ain’t what it used to be. In the days of Churchill, I suspect you could have followed him round with a Dictaphone and not managed to find a dull quote. Personally I rather like ‘The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter’. Maggie had her moments too. When asked by Terry Wogan whether male MPs made any concession to her being a woman she quipped, ‘No, why should they? I don’t make any concession to the fact that they’re men.’
Post Thatcher, it’s hard to find a politician worthy of the adjective statesmanlike. One explanation for which is that the party machines refuse to select anything other than micromanaged robots, desperate to ‘stay on message’ lest they should actually say anything. In the age of soundbites, it seems a politician doesn’t come of age until they have a trite aphorism attributed to them.
Theresa May favoured Brexit means Brexit (which meant of course that it didn’t). Gordon Brown sought refuge in the end of boom and bust, until of course he busted and boomed. While Sadiq Khan’s blasé cut and paste my thoughts and prayers are with (insert latest stab victim) are so hollow as to be beneath contempt.
It is amid this age of emptiness that Boris Johnson (himself a keen student of history) finds himself, well aware that it is as much for these pointless asides as any policy drawn up in Downing Street for which he will be remembered. In a desperate bid to stay ahead of Labour in the latest opinion polls (and, one cannot help suspecting, keeping Carrie sufficiently lubricated in the boudoir), Bojo has outdone himself; opting for the most pointless 10-point plan since Romeo and Juliet’s postnuptial agreement.
Johnson’s Green Industrial Revolution promises to create 250,000 jobs, and covers everything from quadrupling wind power to a pledge to make London ‘the global centre of green finance’ – it’s tosh, from start to finish.
For a start, unemployment has already risen to 4.8% (the highest figure since 2016), with unemployment for the over-50s increased by a third. Couple that with the expected 6.5M jobs lost due to lockdown, and the ‘retrain everybody to become leaf doctors’ starts losing its appeal.
In addition, while some Tories have pointed out (accurately) that a green deal was included in the Conservative Party Manifesto of 2019, it is balderdash to suggest this bore the slightest influence on the election. According to highly-respected Lord Ashcroft polling, three-quarters of Labour voters who switched to the Conservatives said keeping Mr Corbyn out of No 10 was the reason, while 73% ‘wanted to get Brexit done’. Only an utter buffoon would argue the red wall voted Tory to appease Caroline Lucas.
Of course no one wants Greta screeching in their ear at the next G20 summit, but a Conservative government with an 80-seat majority must recognise it has bigger fish to fry than green policies (you might have noticed how popular Sadiq Khan’s cycle lanes are proving?).
So Boris Johnson, if you want a facile 10-point plan to help get your leg over with voters (whose electoral knickers you actually do need access to), try this:
1. Coronavirus: keep the elderly and vulnerable at home (a choice they have without you anyway), and get Britain back to work. No matter how bad the virus, bankrupting those who pay for the lockdown cannot work.
2. Brexit: rumour has it you are going soft in this department. It shouldn’t need saying, but there is more chance of a Labour Party inquiry successfully locating antisemitism, than the survival of a Tory government that shirks on Brexit.
3. Policing: the one thing the Old Bill cannot afford to become is political, which is precisely what has happened; they are now totally out of control. Get them off their knees, and stop this two-tier nonsense. Khant answers to the Home Office, who answer to you (at least in theory) – policing without fear or favour is the only way.
4. Wokery: you’re the PM, not editor of the Guardian. Stop pissing public money away on woke nonsense (white privilege being taught in schools, and unconscious bias training for MPs). The only people who want this will never vote for you anyway.
5. Foreign Aid: we’re broke. Debt is >100% of GDP, which is probably the point where we stop paying for foreign space programs. Reduce the Foreign Aid Budget to zero immediately.
6. Voter ID: If the US election has taught us anything, it is that vote fraud (or mere suspicion of it) must be eradicated. Elections must be beyond reproach, which makes voter ID non-negotiable.
7. Borders: there are an estimated 1.2M illegals immigrants in UK, a quarter of Europe’s total stock. More than 7,000 illegals have arrived at Dover this year (quadruple 2019’s number), with no sign of abating – the public demand the borders are closed. Send the boats back, no matter the short-term unpopularity amongst those who despise you anyway. Your voters will thank you, which is what you should care about.
8. BLM: thus far under your stewardship, Britain has been treating BLM, Extinction Rebellion, Antifa, and all subsidiary malcontents with kid gloves. It’s time to treat them like an OAP who hasn’t paid their TV licence, no matter how well they shout ‘racist’.
9. Employment: positive discrimination is illegal in Britain, so why is Khan openly demanding 40% of the MET come from non-white backgrounds? Best gender-nonconforming entity for the job remains the only credible criteria. End of discussion.
10. Self-respect: Finally, on a lighter note, you’re the PM. The country cannot be held to ransom to loosen the bra straps of your current squeeze. Prince Harry tried that, and you might have noticed how well that’s going for his credibility and popularity.
Love and kisses, Tory voters x