WHO IS THE BETTER MAN?
Much has been said, particularly by Boris himself, that he and the late Sir Winston Spencer Churchill share various personal characteristics, which reflect the aforementioned MPs statesman-like qualities. What frightens me more, is if our erstwhile wartime prime minister had characteristics ‘similar to Boris,’ because, that could easily account for many of the problems from the past, and the future too. But, let’s examine some of these characteristics, and see if they hold true.
Churchill believed that he should lead by right. He was from an old and distinguished family, which since the time of John Churchill – the first Duke of Marlborough c 1702 – had served the country well. Seeing the big picture of a then fragmented Europe, was not so unusual for an individual of noble descent, and Winstons bullying father, Lord Randolph Churchill, made sure of that.
Many of his forebears had squandered away their lives and their family fortunes in a degenerate fashion, which was not so unusual in those days, but his syphilitic father, Lord Randolph – who had squandered much of his life, in the brothels of Paris – was a staunch: “Don’t do what I do, but do what I say,” proponent. He encouraged his son Winston to look elsewhere for adventure and entertainment, which the young Winston wrote about so well in his autobiography, My Early Life.
Boris is of Turkish origin and born in New York, was educated at Eaton. After which he studied classics at Balliol College Oxford, and has spent much of his time as a journalist, particularly in Brussels. Claiming all sorts of convoluted European aristocratic ancestry, and probably more of a yarn than a reality, up until the referendum he was a staunch remainer. How his views have changed so fundamentally, and in such a short period of time, is a good question for any Brexiteer, but it does smack of opportunism.
Despite his later writing success, Winston claims to have been a dunce at school – allegedly overly concerned with pleasing his father on the sports field – and at Harrow School, was unable to gain entrance to university. But he did claim to have got his name and the date right on the entrance examination paper, and with so many of his hidden talents suppressed by a malignant home life, instead, he joined the British army. His mother was an American – please read Downton Abbey– and there is little doubt her wealthy family helped keep Churchill’s family afloat.
So far, it is difficult to see much similarity between the two men, other than the outward signs of obesity, because we all know, Winston was a great trenchman, enjoyed his food, considerable quantities of alcoholic beverages, and a good cigar to follow. Boris has similar looks, and like most politicians is invited to many functions, where large amounts of food are on offer, although it is hard to imagine him doing otherwise than speaking with his mouth full. He is also a very compelling writer, and gifted – as most journalists are – with an ability to change his guise like a chameleon changes its colour. But, we must not forget his stint as Mayor of London.
I think Boris was quite a good mayor, a charismatic populist, good on TV, and as the job implies, inclusive, and for a time at least, everyone’s mayor. London is a proper multicultural European capital, is staunchly pro-remain, and has had nothing to do with Boris or his Brexiteering. But he was behind a very successful Olympic Games, came out large with the Boris Bicycle, and managed to retire the famous London red Routemaster bus, in favour of a rather large and cumbersome replacement. He also appeared to have got both James Bond and the Queen to parachute out of a helicopter during the London Olympics. What he is not, though, is a good politician.
Churchill felt at home in the company of other European leaders, but as British Foreign Secretary, Boris absolutely did not. During the first world war, when Churchill was First Sea Lord, he blundered into military campaigns where he had no place and caused havoc. Gallipoli in modern Turkey was his worst mistake, a hopeless invasion causing huge troop losses, followed by the Norwegian campaign, during the second world, which was not much better.
He believed that there was glory in battle, which to some extent revealed his Boys Own mentality, and a firm belief that the British hero, was apparently immune to German manufactured machine gun bullets. But, in his defence, there was not much to be said about the British military leaders at the time, nor their indifference to vast casualties. But he held the British together during WWII and kept heart, for which he will always be loved, and remembered.
Boris is a paving slab politician, whose mantra is “It’s nice to know, you are nice to know!” He is not a conviction politician, nor is he an idealist, but is as previously described, an opportunist. But who were his supporters, and why did they jump onto his bandwagon. Let’s forget UKIP, the Black Country, the North East, and concentrate on the Home Counties and the twin set and pearls mob, and why anyone in their right mind can confuse Brexit and Boris Johnson, with being better off?
A common caution from day one of the referendum was that ‘The Devil is in the detail.’ We all said it, spotted the Good Friday Agreement, the customs union between the north and the south of Ireland, how this would affect Scotland, and its wish to stay in the EU, and so on. Well, two years on, and these are now the make or break issues.
We all knew it then, we still know it now, and it won’t go away. We wrote about it, laughed at the floundering British Cabinet, and yet none of the Boris Johnson camp seemed to take any notice. They all seemed to think that what was said in Westminster was the end of the story and that the EU would wise up, bite the bullet, and sign up. But, you may have noticed, that none of this has transpired.
Rather like Boris himself, many of his supports are not truly British at all. If you did a house to house census in the town of Reading, for example, you might discover that a considerable number of the faces have emanated from sunnier climbs, despite many being stalwart Tory and Boris supporters.
Moving on to the villages in Oxfordshire and beyond, how many of the twin set and pearl mob actually know who their MEP is, and are many Boris supporters under of a bit of peer pressure down the local pub? Would anyone visit the Pig & Whistle, loudly announce that they are against Brexit, and are going to vote Labour next time? Well, they might have to give up booze altogether, perish the thought!
This is our British society and called a democracy in which the media, the gasbags in the British Parliament: to some extent business itself, have all endeavoured to convince the general public that the EU is an irrelevance and that any disagreement could be dealt with by a bit of traditional smiley British diplomacy.
The reason for all this fuss? It is that Westminster wants its laws back, what does that mean, its borders secure, they always have been, and control over its own money, which it still has! So, which bits are in contention, and what exactly have I missed?
I don’t think that Winston Churchill would have told so many lies as ‘Boris & His Buddies,’ and tried to mislead the British public to the extent which they have, and that – even though we are well and truly still functioning within the European Union – we would be better off without it. As the Pound is already starting to crash, and the famous White Paper is torn to shreds in Brussels, what will be the newest reason be for taking control of our borders, our laws and our money, all of which is clearly a load of drivel?
Theresa May will be gone soon, and her whole tribe consigned to the back benches in parliament or beyond. But let’s not confuse the issue, nor elevate the individuals concerned with the status of heroes, when they clearly are not. Let’s not compare chalk and cheese, or Winnie with Boris, it simply doesn’t add up.