It’s perfectly acceptable for Her Majesty’s first minister to crack jokes, provided he doesn’t become one himself.
Alas, Boris Johnson is rapidly becoming just that, a broad joke, a Monty Python caricature of a bumbling Englishman without much of a clue about anything. The latest step in that direction came yesterday, when, speaking of the French reaction to AUKUS, he addressed Manny Macron with a Franglais spoof.
“Prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break,” he said. That’s neither clever nor funny, Prime Minister. Yes, I sometimes resort to a similar trick myself, in light-hearted pieces about Macron. But what’s allowed in a jocular article by a man who represents no one but himself doesn’t belong in a speech by a politician who statutorily speaks for the whole country.
If I were Macron, I would have told Johnson to go baiser himself, but of course Manny is cut from the same gossamer cloth, if with a hole where a sense of humour ought to be.
That buffoonery came in the wake of Johnson’s trip to Washington, where he played supplicant to Joe Biden.
Approaching foreign powers with an outstretched hand and an Oliver Twist mien ill-behoves a British prime minister. Britain may not be a great power any longer, but she’s still a great nation that deserves better than being publicly humiliated. And make no mistake about it, a prime minister assuming a prostrate position demeans not just himself but all of us.
Mr Johnson can bang on till the buffaloes come home about the special relationship we supposedly have with the US, but that’s a fiction – especially when the US president happens to be a leftie halfwit whose policy towards Britain is informed by the burred voice of his Irish blood.
An interesting question: How would Johnson respond if Biden told him that the price of a trade deal was a united Ireland? What would he say after his usual complement of gollies and crikeys? I can’t offer an interesting answer, but I’m fast learning to expect the worst.
Having emerged from Washington empty-handed, Johnson hopped over to New York where he played the latest Carrie On film to a UN audience. There he re-emphasised his newly acquired credentials as an eco-maniac.
Turning on his knack for metaphoric flourishes, the PM spoke urbi et orbi of the urgent need to “blow out the candles of a world on fire”. To that effect, all foreign leaders must follow his example by undertaking first to impoverish their people and then to beggar them. Trying to blow out the candles of a world on fire, they’ll punch its lights out.
Playing the buffoon again, Johnson referred to the Muppets, making himself sound like one. He cited Kermit the Frog’s song, insisting that it’s “easy being green”. That wisecrack doesn’t work even on its own puny terms: Kermit was green originally, while the modern economies weren’t.
As to the word ‘easy’ in that context, Johnson should take the trouble of thinking before opening his mouth. His pipe dream of zero carbon emissions by mid-century is just that, a pipe dream. Any attempt to make it come true may be described by various adjectives: self-destructive, foolhardy, ignorant, deleterious, insanely woke – choose your own.
One adjective that definitely doesn’t belong in this sequence is easy – unless, of course, Johnson thinks that converting Britain from an agricultural economy to an industrial one was a doddle. But at least, first Britain and then the rest of the West suffered the excruciating pains of the Industrial Revolution for a self-evident promise of future economic benefits.
However, the reasons for the green revolution our eco-sceptic turned eco-zealot is touting are solely political, and politically correct. Its consequences will be catastrophic or rather, in all likelihood, near-catastrophic.
Reality is bound to shove harsh truths down ministerial throats, forcing their woke owners to dismount their hobby horse in mid-gallop. They’ll realise that a real disaster is looming on the horizon, not its mirage. One can only hope that by then it won’t be too late.
Towards the end, our aspiring muppet blithely dismissed both Testaments in one sentence: “We still cling with part of our minds to the infantile belief that the world was made for our gratification and pleasure and we combine this narcissism with an assumption of our own immortality.”
The first part of that “infantile belief” comes from Genesis, while the whole New Testament communicates the second part, the promise of immortality. As a student of history, Johnson must realise the formative significance of those scribbles to our civilisation, both broadly Western and parochially British. After all, our current head of state was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury – even if the next one may well be blessed by Greta Thunberg.
“My friends, the adolescence of humanity is coming to an end,” concluded the muppet, proving yet again that weakness of character nullifies such incidentals as learning and cleverness.
Johnson should take his own advice and grow up. Being a man involves more than just an ability to father children on either side of the blanket.
P.S. A friend of mine suggested the other day that, if Greta Thunberg shows her face in Britain after the harsh winter we are facing, she’ll be torn apart limb from limb. We both agreed that such an outcome would justify any deprivation.