Boris, final thoughts
If Boris was as well versed in The Classics as his not-so-humble bragging suggests, he would have been able to predict his inevitably sticky ending. People like this are never struck down by a single blow, instead death by a thousand cuts. It was sleaze that lead to his rise, and so it seems almost appropriate (a word not usually associated with our great leader) that sleaze should be his downfall. Sticky ends do after all, come most naturally to those of sticky origins (please see contact details if you’ve a weak spot for nice bums and sticky endings – I can be of assistance). But seriously, we all know someone like Boris. You’d trust him to bring a 6 pack of lukewarm beer to your BBQ – 90 minuites late and in yesterdays clothes, but what else would you trust him with? Your wife? Your child’s education? The tax money of an entire nation? Well of course if you’ve been contemplating divorce anyway you can always accelerate the process by introducing your significant other to Boris, but otherwise there can be no more conclusive evidence that we are a nation of masochists than the election of Boris as leader. We are a nation engaging in the mother of all toxic relationships with a man who couldn’t be trusted to manage his own household let alone your country.
It’s more nuanced than that of course, Boris = Bad, palpable dislike of Boris = Good is to simplistic a narrative. So try this one. We are all flawed (if you think you’re not flawed then being a narcissist is your flaw). The good news is flaws are what make people beautiful. The more endearing someone is, the more we feel they offer us, emotionally, spiritually, financially, whatever… the more likely we are to tolerate their flaws. And we understand that everybody tells lies. We have all been hypocrites. Sometimes we cut corners. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to behaviour we should call out. And so on. We tolerate these traits in other people because we tolerate them within ourselves. For this reason it can take a while to identify the person who is always a hypocrite. Always cutting corners. Always lying. We don’t go through life expecting everyone with a flaw to have fundamentally bad character. And because so many of us feel ashamed of our flaws or wish to change them – we perceive those whon “own” or even promote their flaws, to be somehow braver and more worthy of admiration than us.How could we ever trust anyone or function with a more pessimistic mindset? By the time you’ve elected a Boris, the journey climbing down from your position of support is a painful one. This is a human relationship. Unconditionally, we rely on our political leaders to do right by us (a moments pause here for the hilarity of Boris becoming the nations father figure). Admitting that you, I, the nation have made a fundamental mistake is so hard to do that (as I did at the beginning) you start to make excuses for behaviours you know to be objectively wrong. You come up with all kinds of theories like “It’s a double bluff. The person who appears beyond all reasonable doubt to be a fool, is actually a genius who’s hiding it very well”. You ignore all historical standards whilst concocting another theory that “Because he’s better than the other guy he’s good”. Or perhaps you adopt the most ridiculous but philosophically pure option “Yes I know about all that, but I like him so it doesn’t matter”. In the end “I like him so it doesn’t matter” became the mainstream line of support. You wouldn’t hire a bad surgeon because he was likeable, you wouldn’t hire an awful hairdresser because she made you laugh, yet despite us allegedly being more intelligent than ever, political tides have moved to populism. Never before has it been so easy to win: the electorate now judge what people say rather than what they do (a recurring theme in wider society where mere words, mere verbal missteps can render an entire life of tangible good deeds “cancelled”). Who cares what Boris has to say? He doesn’t write those speeches himself anyway. Why has it taken so long to start caring about what he’s actually been doing? Have we really become so bed wettingly naïve that a frisson of excitement may be obtained by mere “words of affirmation” from anyone with a plummy accent?
Therapy should come free on the NHS.