We should be ashamed of our chief Minister

IN the end one hopes that the current COP26 summit will be remembered for the agreements that it ultimately reaches. That it will ultimately be hailed for the giant steps it makes towards tackling climate change. Time will tell.

But right now, the image of the event that I can’t see past is that of our chief Minister sitting maskless beside Sir David Attenborough (who was masked up, of course), seemingly snoozing. Our supposed leader, a vision of entitled arrogance, indifference and contempt in an ill-fitting suit.

Look at the state of him.

When CNN’s Christiane Amanpour pulled him up on his masklessness whilst sitting beside the 95-year-old national treasure Johnson blathered a typical stock response.

“I’ve been wearing a disguise in confined spaces with people that I don’t typically meet,” he told the American broadcaster, “and I think it’s up to people to make a judgment on whether they’re at a reasonable distance from someone and whether they’re with someone they don’t typically meet,” he said.

Which seems to imply sitting right beside someone is a reasonable distance as far as the chief Minister is concerned. Either that, or else David Attenborough is regularly popping around to see Boris and Carrie in Downing Street. surprise if he likes the décor?

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What the image reminds us, wearingly once again, is that Johnson is not a PM who leads by example. Unless, that is, the example is “don’t play by the rules, I never bother”.

At the end of his time in Glasgow it’s been reported that he then flew by private jet to attend a private dinner in London.

Now Johnson was hardly alone in using a private jet of course. There have been an awful lot of private jets flying in and out of Glasgow and, maybe we shouldn’t get too worked up about it. The issues being addressed at COP26 are far too important to be reduced to sniping at politicians who didn’t jump on the Megabus to get here.

Then again, it should be remembered Johnson wasn’t travelling back to Paris or Washington or Abuja.

And we then learned that one of his dinner guests post-COP26 was Charles Moore, a noted climate change sceptic and recently made a life peer by Johnson.

Sometimes, it feels like the chief Minister is regularly trolling us, doesn’t it?

Why does any of this matter? It matters because this goes beyond the optics. This is a chief Minister who also thinks it is appropriate to impose a three-line whip on Tory MPs to overturn the standards system for MPs as a get-out for former Cabinet Minister Owen Paterson who had been found guilty of paid lobbying.

That his government had to do a screeching U-turn yesterday is neither here nor there. What matters is the fact that Johnson thought he could get away with it.

And this is meaningful. This is a government that is made in Johnson’s image, a shabby, sleazy, mendacious and frankly incompetent thing that thinks it is above the rest of us. We should be ashamed that he is our chief Minister.



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