Tag Archives: Politics

With friends like Barack and Boris …

Eddie Marsh, Winston Churchill‘s Private Secretary, offering advice to the then Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, said: “We should kiss America on both cheeks”; to which Churchill replied, “Yes, but not on all four”. I’m indebted to Boris Johnson for that quote, which you’ll find 19 minutes and 14 seconds into this video …

It would be very interesting to know what the British public made of Barack Obama‘s speech alongside David Cameron at No. 10 yesterday, doing everything he could to encourage the UK to vote in favour of staying in the EU.

The trouble is, the British people tend to react against being told what to do, whether by their own government or even more so by foreigners. Obama’s tone was gentle, not hectoring. He spoke in the guise of a friend, merely offering advice, notwithstanding the veiled threat that the UK would find itself at the back of the queue for trade deals with the USA if it went it alone. He has an easy manner, persuasive, analytical, with a breathtaking grasp of the geo-political landscape worldwide – and a winning smile.

But, as a Lefty who’s very much in favour of retaining EU membership – primarily because of our cavalier attitude to human rights, rather than the financial benefits which are the only meaty items on the EU menu as far as the media are concerned – it worried me a bit to see “David” sucking up to “Barack” in a way that might well have prompted another terse witticism from Churchill, were he still with us.

I’m not a great fan of Boris, but he’s such a wily campaigner, highly knowledgeable and a great communicator. He doesn’t really do gravitas, of course; but that’s a commodity that went out of fashion years ago, another casualty of the cultural revolution in the Sixties. Harold Macmillan and Harold Wilson did their best to resurrect the Churchillian style of oratory; but after Wilson’s infamous “Pound In Your Pocket” speech fell as flat as a pancake, subsequent leaders have tended to adopt a more relaxed approach – with the notable exception, perhaps, of Thatcher‘s successes with her Iron Lady persona.

Every now and again, politicians with real charisma bubble up to the surface. The “surface”, of course, is that cultural ocean we all nowadays swim in, called the media – broadcast, social and print. As time goes on, it appears that charisma is becoming more and more significant as a political weapon. Logic, analysis and basic communication skills can still hit the mark. But that magical ability to use the media to inspire and engender devotion can torpedo all purely rational approaches.

So if by chance (and I for one fervently pray it doesn’t happen), Boris Johnson runs for the post of Prime Minister after leading us out of the EU’s back door, he may well find that charisma will carry him through to the winning line.

Churchill’s greatest personal quality was perhaps his ability to translate his charisma – of which gravitas was a key constituent part – into the arena of global influence and world politics.


Whether a Johnson-led government of a Britain operating in splendid isolation could command such respect on the world stage is highly debateable, in my view. And after the British public made their feelings towards one particular candidate for President of the United States very clear recently, we must all surely doubt whether charisma alone could be a Trump card in what would have become a rather “unspecial relationship”.




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Scientists hail discovery of a new human species in Britain

The discovery of a completely new type of human being living within Britain has been hailed by scientists as a breakthrough which could have profound implications for Mankind.

testtubesThe announcement, made early yesterday morning, was quickly followed by a series of developments during the day in areas such as politics, religion and sport. The new hominid, provisionally known as ‘Woman’, is believed to have been living unnoticed in many parts of the UK for a comparatively long period, though Professor Patrick Obvious insisted that considerably more research would be required before investigations were completed.

“More work is needed to establish the nature of this new species and how it fits into our overall understanding of the human race”, insisted Professor Obvious. “Without additional funding to provide our laboratory with the kind of equipment we need – for instance a new PlayStation, one of those George Foreman grill thingies where the fat just rolls into a tray underneath and one of those electric whirry-whirry things for scraping dead skin off one’s heels – we may never be able to deduce the precise significance of these quite revolutionary new insights”.

The Church of England was amongst the first to react to the discovery, immediately voting to allow any “women” found amongst their number to be ordained as bishops. “Clearly if there is this other form of human being moving among us we will want them to have equal rights without delay”, said the Right Reverend H. O’Lierthanthou. “I haven’t noticed them myself, but that is not to say that they don’t exist. I have enormous faith in their existence and indeed I look forward to meeting one of them one day”. By the end of the day a vote had been passed in the Church’s General Synod which will allow the new humans to become fully-fledged bishops.

brylcreemMeanwhile at Westminster Prime Minister David Cameron took charge of a hastily-convened meeting of SlowWorm, the special committee formed to deal with matters of pressing national importance. “The opportunity to divert attention away from the child abuse scandal is clearly in our own national interest”, he told our reporter. “I shall be insisting that we stand firm and react with appropriate restraint in the light of this enormously troubling but positive development. Sorry, what was the question again?” Mr Cameron later sacked half his Cabinet, promising to replace any male ministers not wearing Brylcreem with female alternatives.

As the day wore on, further repercussions were felt. In sport, for instance, Kia Motors agreed the first sponsorship deal with the England Women’s cricket team after it was discovered that “women” cricketers had been playing matches at various cricket grounds up and down the country.

The Kia Motors marketing department were quoted as being happy to support the newly-evolved species. “Supporting the hugely successful England women’s team cherylcoleis the next evolution for Kia in cricket”, said Paul Philpott, President and CEO of Kia Motors (UK) Ltd.

And in showbiz well-known entertainer Cheryl Cole yesterday revealed that he himself is, in fact, a “woman”, and indeed was taking the opportunity to announce his (apologies … her) upcoming engagement to French restaurant entrepreneur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini.

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