Is it Cabinet Cognitive Collapse or unbridled cynicism? Which is worse?
Whatever you may think about Boris Johnson’s character or fitness for the great office of Britain’s prime minister that he currently occupies, there has never been any serious questioning of his brain capacity. This is deemed to be sufficient to negotiate with the EU in Latin while simultaneously writing his book on Shakespeare and beating Emanuel Macron at strip poker.
However, something horrible appears to have happened to the Johnson grey matter. An early symptom of this affliction (which he seems to have contracted directly from an earlier and distressing victim of Cabinet Cognitive Collapse, Michael Gove) was his evangelical promotion of “net zero” carbon emissions to arrest “climate change”.
Through this policy, he intends to fleece the poor for the high-minded privilege of freezing to death, ramp up inflation and cripple the economy while undoing much of the industrial revolution. This is in order to alter the composition and course of the climate, a system which is impenetrably complex, non-linear and chaotic but whose alteration he seriously proposes to achieve by reducing one already minute factor in its composition — the equivalent of the attempt to extract sunbeams from cucumbers in Jonathan Swift’s satirical island of Laputa.
Further evidence of alarming prime ministerial brain malfunction emerged recently when, in the wake of the row over the England football team being booed by fans for “taking the knee” before a qualifier match for the Euros, the prime minister first urged fans not to boo the England players for “taking the knee;” but after pressure to go further in backing the team’s gesture, his spokesman then said:
The Prime Minister respects the right of all people to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices.
But “taking the knee” is not to protest against injustice. It is to support the agenda of Black Lives Matter, a violent, anti-west and anti-white movement which pioneered the gesture. This has been adopted by well-meaning but ignorant people, who naively believe they are signalling their opposition to racial prejudice and injustice when in fact they are signalling their support for racial prejudice and injustice — against white people. So deeply has this mind-rot penetrated society that, as one journalist told me in all seriousness the other day in a radio discussion:
There’s no such thing as racism against white people.
There was a time when Boris Johnson would have called this out as a dangerous and delusional ideology. Yet now he nods in the direction of this Orwellian mindset and its credulous acolytes as protesting against “injustices”.
But worse yet was to come. After the G7 meting in Cornwall over the weekend, Downing Street’s answer to Pericles declared:
We're building back better together and building back greener and building back fairer, and building back more equal and in a more gender-neutral -- and perhaps in a more feminine way. How about that?
How about that indeed. This burst of babbling balderdash managed cynically to include in the same meaningless sentence green, gender and women — three of the four horsepersons of the cultural apocalypse (he had already nodded towards the fourth, “anti-racism”, over the genuflecting footballers).
It really is beyond parody. And from the look in his eyes, as he searched his mind for every cliché that would tick all the approved boxes, there was perhaps a hint that he knew this perfectly well — that he was actually sending up what he was choosing to say.
Is this cynicism to the highest degree? Or does he actually believe all this nonsense? Which is worse??
But here’s the thing. If he doesn’t stop this this melt into wokeish jelly, he will squander his most important and precious political achievement — his capture for the Conservative party of Labour’s erstwhile “red wall” working-class constituencies.
For if there’s one thing the former “red wall” voters really can’t abide, it’s the “woke” agenda. The damage that Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer did to his party’s prospects in those down-to-earth, deeply patriotic constituencies, when he tweeted the picture of himself and his deputy “taking the knee” in his House of Commons office, was incalculable. “Red wall” voters fully understand this this gesture embodies hatred of their nation, their culture and themselves. If Boris Johnson wants to turn their unprecedented support into unbridled contempt, he’s going the right way about it.
The rest of us, meanwhile, can only look on aghast.
Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, broadcaster and author - you can follow her work on her website HERE.