by Martin Odoni

Lazy label

One of the most tiresome lazy-labels, routinely used to mischaracterise the left of the Labour Party with great cheapness during the Jeremy Corbyn leadership, was “The Cult of Corbyn.” The perception that, most particularly Zionist, media-hacks wanted to give of the Labour left was that they all viewed Corbyn as a ‘Messiah’ of some description. That they were blind, unintelligent adherents to a fashionable trend.

I have no doubt that some Corbyn supporters genuinely were just like that, but not that many. Many of his supporters – I like to think I was among them – supported him for the ideas he stood for, rather than out of starry-eyed awe. The majority analysed his leadership objectively, and made constructive criticisms of it. As with any political leader, there were things he did well – his campaign for the 2017 General Election was the freshest breath of air in British politics in a generation – and other things he did not do well – his unwillingness to combat the anti-Semitism witch-hunt made him look feeble and totally at the mercy of events – and most supporters have praised what needed praising and criticised what needed criticising.

The media, on the other hand, criticised almost everything Corbyn did, often spinning in ways that even contradicted previous criticisms e.g. “He doesn’t engage the electorate!” one minute vs “He has so many supporters blinded by loyalty!” the next. In reality, between late-2015 and early-2020, the main cult in British politics was a ‘Cult of Anti-Corbynism‘, largely driven by pro-Israel advocates frightened by Corbyn’s history of support for the Palestinians, coming up with stories of irrational hysteria that, were they true, would have seen Corbyn behind bars by the time Margaret Thatcher fell from power.

A bull-in-a-china-shop Prime Minister

This is all in considerable contrast to what is happening right now, with the present Prime Minister. Boris Johnson, as I have already made very clear, has done an absolute stinker of a job. Be it on Brexit, in which he nearly destroyed the British Constitution, or the CoVid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, in which he has turned crisis into calamity, Johnson has been the worst of the worst.

(Excellent summary from NovaraMedia; – )

Johnson’s notoriously lazy disinterest in minutiae, and his lack of patience or respect for scrutiny by Opposition have been exposed on truly dictatorial scales. Probably the two worst crises – no hyperbole – to afflict the UK since World War II, and he has played a substantial role in creating or at least needlessly exacerbating both. And he has still only been Prime Minister for considerably less than one year. Everybody in Britain should be terrified of his mixture of authoritarianism and fumble-fingered incompetence.

In a general political climate of objective, critical thinking, there is no doubt that one of the major public debates right now would be whether Johnson is even fit-for-office. (Correction: In such a climate, it would have been widely-recognised long ago that he is not fit for office and he would never have risen so high.) But instead, Johnson has some bewilderingly high approval-ratings at present, with a lot of people around the UK apparently sympathetic on the grounds of the pandemic being so difficult to control.

Difficult situations are what we elect PMs to sort out

I wrote before that it is indeed a difficult situation to control, and that no measures a Government might take, even the most scientifically-correct ones, are guaranteed to halt the spread of the virus. But it is quite a leap from acknowledging that fact, to concluding that it is therefore okay to do nothing, which was essentially what Johnson was doing from the moment the world was alerted to the pandemic in January, until about three weeks ago. What did his Government do through late-January and February about stocking up on protective equipment for medical personnel? Nothing. What did his Government do during that time about stocking up on ventilators for patients with severe cases of fever? Nothing. (How lucky for Johnson that a ventilator was always on standby for him while he was in intensive care, even though they are now saying he was never in need of one. That ventilator might have kept someone else who did need it alive.) Healthcare workers up and down the country are overstretched to breaking point, and they are being exposed to the disease relentlessly.

This catalogue of failures, brought on by a mix of familiar upper-class complacency and over-narrow fixation of Brexit, would, if people were thinking rather than just feeling, have Johnson facing charges of criminal negligence. Instead, he gets sympathy, amplified by his stint in hospital, especially from Brexiteers who are blind to anything outside of their wish to leave the European Union.

The media, who keep receiving ever-worsening news as the UK death-toll daily hovers closer and closer to 1,000 souls, should be confronting the Government and demanding answers. Instead, they have spent the last couple of weeks focusing principally on Johnson’s illness, and then pushing the population into celebrating with great joy his ‘deliverance’ from intensive care. Johnson’s sycophantic she-puppy at the BBC, Laura Kuenssberg, genuinely declared this week, on a day when the UK death-toll registered its highest daily loss of over nine hundred (since superseded by yesterday), that it was “better news” for the nation, apparently on the basis of Johnson feeling slightly better.

Are we back at such a point of 1930s ‘power-worship’ that we now treat the survival of Der Führer as more important than the survival of the population?

Move over Kim Jong-Un, you are now superseded as a personality cult

It is ironic that the opponents of Corbyn who were warning, at great variance with all the evidence, against a North Korea-style Government are now treating Johnson the way the state-controlled media in North Korea lionise Kim Jong-Un. Indeed, some of this ‘worship-at-the-shrine-of-Boris’ rubbish is becoming disturbing in itself. Have people been following the Twitter feeds of Nadine Dorries and Allison Pearson recently, just for examples? Seriously, look. They are talking about Johnson in a mixture of “The-Leader-is-the country” rhetoric and actual religious, Messianic terms, while speaking about him in no way at all like the way Corbyn supporters tend to talk about Corbyn; –

(Tactful choice-of-words in the midst of a pneumonia-like pandemic and a shortage of ventilators, Nadine. “Country can breathe again.” Good grief!) People online are quite genuinely taking bets on whether Johnson discharges himself from hospital tomorrow, so the media can rave about an ‘Easter Resurrection’.

Pearson’s position is somewhat nearer reality, but is a little like the medieval idea of an Absolute Monarch. Of course the health of Boris Johnson is not ‘the health of the nation’. That is both self-evident, and consistent with the actual physical evidence. In the last week, while Johnson has been getting better, the daily death-toll from the virus has twice hit new highs. Fortunately, today’s figures are slightly down at 917, but still horrifyingly high – about five times higher in fact – when compared with the day-to-day figures at the time Johnson was diagnosed with the virus. The country appears to have hit ‘critical-mass’ in the pandemic this Easter week, and relative to when the first cases landed on British shores, that has happened earlier in the process than it did in Italy.

Orwell predicted the future with Animal Farm as well as Nineteen Eighty-Four

With all this absurd hagiography-like noise Dorries and Pearson are making, I am starting to think of them as pigs from Animal Farm. Truly. Pearson is starting to resemble swift-talking propagandist Squealer, while Dorries, with her vivid, poetry-like, and entirely fictitious panegyrics, is beginning to sound like Minimus, the Animal Farm Poet Laureate.

If you approve of this sycophancy and choose to partake of it yourself, just remember that ‘Big Boris‘ is now Comrade Napoleon.

The cult extends to His Holiness the Prime Minister’s family. When record death-tolls are being published, but Johnson is unavailable for comment due to hospitalisation, the BBC choose to interview the father of the Messiah, Stanley “Joseph-The-Carpenter-If-Joseph-Had-Been-A-Rich-Ultra-Privileged-Posh-Drunkard” Johnson. Yes, a lot of use the opinion of a smug, do-whatever-I-like-and-boast-about-it rich man who has no experience of science will be. Really good use of the license fee there, Radio 4, brilliant.

The BBC think interviewing Stanley Johnson will be illuminating

How often did the BBC interview Tony Blair’s Dad about key policy issues affecting the nation, tell? Did they want the views of John Major’s family on Black Wednesday?

In fact, Johnson Snr‘s remarks were so patronising, they spilled over into outright insult. He said,

“[Boris becoming ill has] served an amazing purpose in that it’s got the whole country to realise this is a serious event”.

Now sure there were exceptions, but as far as I could see, most of the country were already reasonably aware that there was serious trouble before mid-March. It was the Johnson family themselves who were idly boasting about shaking hands with the infected, and going to the pub in fully-aware contradiction of Government guidance. Now Johnson Snr is lecturing the rest of the country about how slow-on-the-uptake we were?

I have a response to ‘Joseph Johnson’, one I will not share here, except to reveal that it has an impressively-high proportion of the letter F in its content.

The cult is a distraction

This cult is serving as a useful distraction for a failing Government. When journalists at the now-discredited ‘daily press briefing’ should be asking Cabinet Ministers about people not always included in death-tolls e.g. people who died while remaining untested, or why deaths in care homes are being overlooked, or why measures to secure PPE and ventilators now were not carried out two months ago, or why over 900 deaths is a disaster when it happens in Italy but not even headline news on UK websites when it happens in the UK, instead they ask how Boris is doing, and join in the singing-and-dancing when told he is improving.

Any lesson Johnson might have learned from his hubris will evaporate in the face of this deranged worship his blinkered supporters are giving him. Embarrassingly, and poisonously, those supporters are being cheer-led by the very people in the media who should be informing them, but instead are egging them on.