“Don’t take politicians seriously and you may find yourself electing as prime minister a man whom you regard as a bit of a card because he made you laugh when he was on a television panel game.” So writes Emma Duncan in “The Times” today.
But did we ? Our electoral system is such that many more of us voted against Johnson and his Party than voted for him. It can happen elsewhere of course – Trump only made the White House because of the antiquated Electoral College, Clinton won the popular vote comfortably. But in Britain millions are disenfranchised.
More proportional systems guarantee restraint. The checks and balances are inbuilt in coalitions. Yes it can be a pain for leaders to be forced to debate and often compromise within their own administration but wouldn’t we rather have that than the current quasi-dictatorship?
Ms Duncan writes that we would never elect a Fascist and I agree that we would laugh at a Roderick Spode type leader and Party rather than elect them. Johnson doesn’t do uniforms and his own predilection for Upper Class scruff isn’t followed by his colleagues. But beware. He may not be a uniformed military style fascist but he is unquestionably the most authoritarian leader in Britain of modern times. And some of his colleagues would not look out of place at a Nuremberg Rally.
We pompously pride ourselves on our status as a nation by flying flags and referencing the past – “Blitz Spirit” etc. Sadly the truth is that 🇬🇧 status has never been lower internationally. And it hurts. The rise of Nazism was in part attributable to Germany’s loss of international respect. The meme of Macron and Merkel laughing at Johnson’s latest absurdity has been well used but it is uncomfortably close to the truth. To be a laughing stock, as for a time in the 1920s Germany was, can have unintended and deadly consequences.
One thought on “To be an international laughing stock can have unintended and deadly consequences.”
I am very much afraid Britain’s government has already reached the status of ‘laughing stock nation’ in the eyes of most European leaders. Johnson has become a pariah among democratic leaders in Europe and has few friends around the world. The Americans of course need to keep him onside as the Biden administration struggles to get a united Nato to confront Putin. Herein lies an opportunity
War in Ukraine could save Johnson in the same way as the Falklands war saved Margaret Thatcher. If Johnson involves Britain in defending Ukrain he will very likely go from zero to hero very quickly. I am pretty sure he’s already considering it. However, I shudder for the lives that are going to be sacrificed in the name of defending democracy.