Well, I’ve just polished off half a bottle of cheap Sangiovese (disappointing, to be honest) so I’m in the mood to have a rant. And my target is that fluffy metropolitan demon, Boris Johnson….
Boris (‘dizzy blond’) Johnson created predictable outrage with his recent speech about the genetic background to financial inequality, enterprise and intelligence. It was The Guardian, though, which highlighted the redeeming note of humanity with which he concluded his talk:
“I hope there is no return to the spirit of loadsamoney heartlessness – figuratively riffling banknotes under the noses of the homeless – and I hope that this time the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous” … “for what they give and do for the rest of the population, many of whom have experienced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”
I’m not an expert on this, but I recall that in the seventies there were many small and medium-sized factories around the UK producing widgets and stuff. A manufacturing facility tends to require people of varying degrees of intelligence, from sweeper-uppers to research chemists; and it may also provide an environment in which people are encouraged to acquire more skills and experience, allowing them to migrate upwards throughout the firm.
Perhaps if the UK had not so cheerfully abandoned its industrial sector we would not have many of the problems now facing the economy. I’m sure there are lots of experienced managers and consultants out there who can offer evidence to support or demolish my suggestions…”
Of course, this point has been made countless times in the past and with more force and elegance than I could ever muster; but I think it’s still true, and maybe our cousins in Germany have maintained a level of respect for manufacturing and craft skills that we should think about copying.
Journal Entry, 25 July 2019:
This is ridiculous. Boris Johnson is now the UK Prime Minister.
The world has gone mad.
And all because he promised us – on the side of a Big Red Bus – that we could gain 350 million pounds a week for the NHS simply by leaving the European Union.
Journal Entry, 02 May 2020:
Zamoyski’s 2004 book about Napoleon opens with the birth of the Emperor’s son in March 1811. The entire French nation was swept up in wild celebration when it became apparent that the new arrival was a boy.
It is a pity that the UK public were not so effusive in the welcome afforded to Boris Johnson’s sixth (?) child, a baby boy who arrived on 29 April. Instead of rejoicing at the wonderful news, people seemed more concerned with their own petty, selfish concerns.
For example, a number of commentators pointed out that Boris and Carrie weren’t actually married, but were living in sin. This sort of thing might be okay for some morally deficient kids from council estates; but the Conservative party should expect more dignified conduct from its own Prime Minister.
In 2019, when Boris was running for the post of party leader, police were called to Carrie’s flat by an anxious neighbour, concerned about the yelling and crashing noises late at night. Fortunately the happy couple were soon able to leave their cramped inner-city apartment and set up a love-nest in the flat over 10 Downing Street.
Boris is a keen adherent of the Uncertainty Principle; nobody knows exactly how many offspring he has sired, and nobody seems to care. This is somebody who amused himself as an undergraduate by trashing restaurants with fellow members of the Bullingdon Club, and who has been dismissed (not once, but twice) from his job for misconduct.
Perhaps we can make amends to Boris by offering to build a huge marble bridge between Stranraer and Larne, which would be decorated with glorious baroque statues of Boris and his wives and his children. It should be an easy enough task – after all, he successfully managed the construction of the legendary Garden Bridge across the Thames, at a cost of just 37 million pounds. (Oh, sorry: the bridge was never actually built, it was just the planning report that cost £37m)
Anyway, the petty, selfish concerns of the British people: the Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed over 27,000 lives in the UK (many of the victims were NHS staff) and is likely to bring about social upheaval – transport and leisure facilities will be required to operate on less than half their capacity when the lockdown is eventually lifted. Airlines are expecting to lose thousands of workers; farmers are being forced to discard vast quantities of unsold milk, breweries are pouring beer away, and schoolchildren have missed out on weeks of crucial exam preparation.