Concerning the emperor’s clothes

This is an open letter to anyone currently supporting the Cummings/Johnson government. And I know some.

And while I’m disturbed, I come in peace; simply interested to know what it is you admire?

I’m not approaching this from a party-political angle; your allegiance to a party is not my concern. But your allegiance to a man is – and the man in question is Johnson.

I’m just wondering what it is that stirs your support for the path being presently followed?

I name some obvious issues here, not as gun fire; but as some self-evident truths which ask for reflection, at least.

We all care about the polity we breathe and inhabit. And who knows? Perhaps you, like me , are concerned with some of the following.

Routine lies – Where to start? But our ‘world-beating’ test and trace system is one of many from the Prime Minister. Simply not true. Other lies can be easily researched. Hancock, Raab, Cummings and Gove join in, eye tests, Barnard Castle etc. But the all-important modelling is done by Johnson. Sad days: we now expect our PM to lie.

Deliberate repression of truth – Like the Russia report, delayed since November. Dictatorship alarm bells ringing; as with certain newspapers being turned away from government briefings. Is this our vision for England?

Incompetence – Anyone who saw the documentary on the Foreign Office last year witnessed remarkable footage of Johnson’s incompetence as Foreign Secretary. More recently, we have seen significant incompetence in the handling of Covid. How did everyone else do so much better? Barring Trump, Putin and Bolsonara, of course, who increasingly – and what a bleak thought – look like his sort of people?

Racism – Johnson’s racist comments include black people referred to as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ and Muslim women as ‘letterboxes’. While the problem with Africa is not any legacy of colonialism or slavery but that ‘we’re not in charge’.

He also called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’, but that’s another matter. And we don’t want to be distracted here from Dominic Raab. He is Johnson’s appointment as Foreign Secretary, and recently stated that ‘taking the knee’ comes from ‘Games of Thrones’. Casual, jokey (or stupid?) racism; because that’s the climate Johnson creates.

Environmental abuse – It is clear that the desired trade deal with the US will mean collusion with significant environmental abuse, of which ‘chlorinated chicken’ – a truly horrible story from their birth – is the tip of a nasty ice berg.

Elitist – Cummings is allowed to play to different rules, as one of the elite; and multiple lies are wheeled out in his defence. Huge sense of entitlement here. While food support for the poorest is refused again and again and again, until a 22-year-old footballer, (and some increasingly embarrassed Tory MP’s) force a change. The elite are helped more promptly.

A personal life of significant disregard and disrepute; which returns us to where we started, with lies; though these are in the home rather from behind a plinth.

None of the above is controversial; all are well-documented by people more knowledgeable and savvy than I. (And there’s much else I have had to exclude because of word count.)

So the question I have to ask: what draws you to this man? What are you liking about this journey we are on? What is it in the above that stirs your soul, makes you proud?

What here is true, beautiful and good? What here would you like to pass on to your children?

I’m not often moved by St Paul. But towards the end of his letter to the Philippians, he wrote this:

‘Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.’

So if we were to follow his advice, how much would you be thinking on Johnson?

Does the emperor have any clothes?

And don’t we – whatever our colour, creed or political allegiance – all deserve better?

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