,H,”Walking with Destiny”.
So the UK is to get a new “leader” – at last.
For a precedent of similarly historic dimensions, and apologies to those of you who do not do history – come back with me to 1940.
The press then as now were highly critical of Appeasement and the incumbent Prime Minister Chamberlain – “too dreary..sorry record..lacking any qulities of leadership.” But the Conservative Party mistrusted Churchill – “debating with Winston is like debating with a brass band” – who appeared unconcerned with populist opinion and had always followed his own and Britain’s trumpet rather than that of the Party.
On April 4 1940 Chamberlain in the thick of appeasement was still stubbonly “ten times confident in the outcome” and that the german chancellor had “missed the bus”. Then hitler invaded Denmark and Norway – the winds changed in Parliament and Leo amery led the charge quoting Oliver Cromwell “You have sat here too long – depart I say, let us have done with you. In the name of God go.” Chamberlain hung on for 4 days more. King George VI, reflecting the nation’s confusiion, preferred Lord Halifax as a replacement. Halifax demurred. Churchill, conscious all his life of “walking with destiny,” accepted. The rest is history – Churchill’s hour of destiny had indeed come – he went straight for the jugular of parliament with the first of his great war speeches – “I have nothing to offer but blood, tears and sweat…what is our policy?…it is to wage war by sea, land and air with all out might against a monstrous tryanny.”
So who will replace stubborn, incompetent May? Who will command the house with their first game changing speech as Prime Minister? What will they say?
There wil be the usual squabble of contestants – llittle people all flawed, all looking for political kudos out of the moment – few with the spine for the job and they will know it. It looks like Boris Johnson – in many ways a luke warm version of Churchill – certainly mistrusted, disliked and self indulgently amoral – but by far the people’s favourite and a ray of waspish sunlight compared to the stubborn May. No blushing violet he has compared himself to Churchill and spoken of his own “Walking with destiny”.
Whoever wins this contest has the mantle of greatness before them. They must:
– produce a stratgy for Britain’s next economic leap forward,
– complete the Brexit negotiations one way or another,
– destroy the vacillating Labour party and the extremist factions in the nation and unite the country behind a coalition of power players – much as Churchill did in 1940.
We will know within 6 months whether the mantle will be worn to a new level of achievement or whether it will cover up the continuing failure of the British Administration. And we will know whether Boris’ walk with destiny is a self serving illusion of a Churchillian step to greatness.
Don’t hold your breath. Have a good day, James.