Boris Booster!

Asked a few months ago what his philosophy is, what his politics represent, what his programme means, Boris Johnson, new UK Prime Minister, said,  “ …boosterism!” The notion of boosting morale, of boosting services, boosting business, boosting…Britain! This was and is great news, at least, from the man who during Brexit, said, f***, business!

Boosterism, is not a half bad philosophy of government, come to think of it. Certainly with more of an appeal, than say, “frugalism!” It might be the philosophy of government for the future! Whatever the concerns that populists only stand for populism,” boosterists,” of course, might not in fact only pander, to popular opinion, whether that is good or bad opinions. The public contains individuals for whom different policies might be popular. The “will of the people,” from a Liberal view, can mean, what, all the people?! Lincoln was correct; you can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people, all of the time, but not, all of the people all of the time! Boosterism might need the mood of the people, but could gain from the leadership, of the politician. What needs a boost, what are the priorities?

The new Prime Minister got off to a bad start, as a test of his approach. Not much boost to anything much, in a boot up some of his own parliamentary party, whips applied, rather than boosts, and whips withdrawn! So too, not much evidence of this new dawn for a new way, in at least as far as the public opinion goes, backing HS2 and Huawei!

The lack of significant evidence bothered some of us more recently. Doom and gloom, flippancy and inactivity was what we feared the government approach might be, on the Corona virus. We called for more action, not to disagree, or criticise, or oppose, for the sake of opposition. No, not those of us, myself often, who prefer to work, cross party. We called for more and different, ideas, actions, efforts, because we think it needed. The new measures, many, provide a real boost! We need more, of this, boosts galore, especially, in favour, of the poor!

I have to admit something. I have always rather liked Boris Johnson, as a personality. Often more of a clown, at his worst, and pantomime villain, not really ever. At his best he is a big personality. He stands for little, but, indeed, “boosterism.” If his government, in changing their tactics to do more, can do much more, and help us get a boost to the country, trying to gain a boost to our immunity, we might get through this crisis in better moods and with happier prospects. Who can say how much a personality can in such a crisis, contribute? A policy is more relevant.

I am glad the Prime Minister is listening to those of us who want a stronger policy. And I prefer, crisis or not, but in a crisis, especially, to like, rather than dislike, a person, and a personality. These are very difficult and horrible things for leaders to deal with, and for the whole of our nation, for the whole of our population and that of the world. We need light as well as shade, there is darkness also.

As a little boy, my brother and I had the delight to meet H. E. Todd, author of the, Bobby Brewster books. These stories of the tousle haired schoolboy were popular, even in the seventies, as was the author, in his. Thinking of the school kids, having to stay home, and those in their seventies, and older, even more, I am glad, the new Prime Minister is doing these things, and yet, want us to do more. I have a new name for this new head boy. To encourage him and us, if we can.  Boris Booster!

* Lorenzo Cherin is an actor, writer, and regular contributor to politics as a member of the Liberal Democrats. He is based in Nottingham.

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  • I was never enthusiastic about the thought of having Boris as a Prime Minister. I simply did not think that he had the qualities that the job requires. Today, I feel sorry for the man. No Prime Minister deserves the burden of office that the Corona virus has inflicted.

    It is early days but I have to say that he is doing a reasonable job, maybe even a good job. When one considers the myriad of decisions required each and every day to cope with a situation of which we have no experience, it is difficult to think of anyone who would do a better job.

    It is very easy to think of those who would probably be less impressive. I am rather relieved that his predecessor is not in office. The leader of the opposition and his entire team fail to fill me with confidence. I am afraid that I cannot think of better candidates within the hierarchy of this party.

    I suspect many here will disagree or even be appalled by my comment, but he and his team are doing a very difficult job and deserve our support and gratitude.

  • Yeovil Yokel 19th Mar '20 - 7:18pm

    Johnson should be dispatched on a lengthy vacation. Like when Fawlty Towers was better managed and more stable in Basil’s absence, the UK would be better off without BJ’s eccentric, insincere and self-interested leadership style. Whenever he appears on the tv or radio I hit the off button.

  • “Like when Fawlty Towers was better managed and more stable in Basil’s absence,”

    I’m not sure this is a metaphor that bears much examination as I seem to remember this involved several doors being built in the wrong place 🙂

  • David Allen 19th Mar '20 - 8:12pm

    Here is the counter-argument. “Boosterism” and a relentless optimistic perspective generally provide a good camouflage for self-interested, venal or lazy politicians, who love to sneer at their more serious-minded opponents who worry about real difficult issues, and call them killjoys. It does matter who runs the country in difficult times.

    Opponents of the Right should not be cowed into silence by the seriousness of the situation. Gordon Brown faced a major crisis in 2008 which was not of his making, and the Right harried him relentlessly. They did not offer sympathy and seek to help the Government rescue the economy. Instead they exploited the Crash by falsely blaming Labour for causing it, and sought to gain power rather than rescue Britain. I do not suggest we should stoop to the same depths, now that the Tories have their own crisis to contend with. But nor should we give them a free ride.

    George Monbiot explains how “In the UK, the US and Australia, the politics of the governing parties have been built on the dismissal and denial of risk.” The denialist lobbyists who honed their techniques for the tobacco industry went on to apply the same methods to deny climate change. They lobbied against any form of regulation that could interfere with the enrichment of the rich. They lied about EU regulation so that they could escape it and profit from doing so. And when coronavirus came along, the denialist approach was instinctive.

    Gradually, the weight of evidence is forcing Johnson away from medical denialism. Not before time.

  • Sensible counter-argument from David Allen. It is worth remembering the belief of George Orwell, an admirer of and contributor to the BBC in its glory days, that the ultimate threat to our liberties came from those who abuse our language. Vacuous labels as claims to believe in something are part of their stock in trade.

  • @ David Allen – EU regulations are published. What lies about them do you refer to? Just interested.

  • Phil Beesley 19th Mar '20 - 10:14pm

    One of the unfortunate choices made by Johnson before and after the general election was to remove government ministers who were seen ‘not to be onside’. In the last weeks of the Brexit parliamentary process, the Conservative Party lost MPs who might be described as sensible heads and Johnson chose to push some of the most talented from his cabinet. Thankfully, he also removed some Brexit hardliners of limited ability from junior posts.

    I don’t like playing party politics on a day like today, but it says a lot about depth of talent in the Conservative Party that Priti Patel, Dominic Raab and Matt Hancock run ministries during a crisis. Johnson should be making some emergency House of Lords nominations, not necessarily members of his party, who can be called on as steady hands.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Mar '20 - 11:22pm

    Rather sensible range of commentators, and thoughts.

    Peter, though not feeling sorry for the holder of the top job, we can see his task as a big one, for this man of big projects.I want us to all unite around a lot more of what has to come, the most ever seen in an effort to isolate this dreadful virus.

    David means to put to us all, another way to view this, my own is the truth is in between, the fact Boris Johnson changed course, but volunteerism the way, is a development welcome, rather than the previous, intended, herd immunity. What nobody other than journalists seem to realise, is the pm is getting advised to do all this, it is the advisers seem in ways unclear, incapable of compulsory measures.

  • The only thing Boris Johnson wants to boost is himself.

  • I want our government to use new laws to trace the contacts of infected people using their mobile phone and credit card movements, like South Korea is doing.

  • COVID-19 has already been added to list of notifiable diseases under existing regulations.

  • A question, Lorenzo, where you the one Johnson was citing yesterday when he referred to Booster in his totally stage managed performance? Rather than giving a politician a platform to start their next election campaign, we should have professional communicators and experts from the appropriate specialisms discussing and being questioned. The aim should be to find the real concerns of real people with a format that allows for people to phone in – and questions from the press being phoned in.
    I suppose I should declare my interest. I am in the group who because of my age is being asked to self-isolate. I popped out early this morning to buy a paper and some fresh food. The shop was empty. I spoke to the assistant who said that every day the deliveries were coming as normal, but there were people on the look out and followed the vans to the store. Then the queues started. By the end of the day almost everything has gone.
    I listened to a phone in on the radio and was horrified that many callers were begging for advice on how to get by that day.
    While the Johnson clowns around on TV, the basics are not being faced.
    My memories of the war are hazy, but we should be realistic. I remember struggling with words I did not understand – words like “spits”,” black market” and “under the counter” – and this was in a country where we had rationing.
    When is the government going to start governing? The election is over!

  • Sorry for spits read “spivs “ . My fault I should have pressed the word to show I meant it!

  • Boris is failing, to date.
    Completely insufficient levels of Corona virus testing.
    Pathetic lifeline to businesses, costing HMG even less now interest rates are 0.1%.
    Vague warnings about future limitations of movement for the public, generating panic buying and empty supermarket shelves on a national scale.
    NHS staff have shortage of vital PPE.
    So many staff have left the NHS, they are now being asked back – ok not all Boris’s fault.
    HMG response might get better, but I’m with Yeovil Yokel, and hit the off button when our PM starts spouting off!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Mar '20 - 12:27pm

    Indeed Tom, nice to be mentioned by the pm!

    I think that the advice to the government is not clear. Thus the govt is not. They began with Hancock, that led to the chief medical, adviser in the frame, then Johnson more. The pm, is by nature non ideological, and for this, yes, dithering,but changing to, in the ways needed.

    But the persuasion of us to change volunteerism, is a failure. People need compulsion and rationalisation.

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