I got short shrift from the Prime Minister on Monday for daring to ask him to his face what so many of his own MPs are saying behind his back. I asked him if he should quit. Actually, I asked him if he’d thought of making way for someone with a skillset, better suited to getting us through this crisis.
This is the kind of situation that should bring people together but that’s not how it’s coming across. Instead, the confusion caused by Boris Johnson’s government is creating a mood of frustration, anger and increasingly an attitude of noncompliance.
I’ve thought long and hard about this, it comes down to character. Real leaders get us through a crisis because they possess character that engenders respect.
Margaret Thatcher had total determination whether we loved her or not. Tony Blair was always confident and in command of detail. Churchill could of course tell people just how desperate things were and then inspire them to fight on rather than give in.
Sadly, it looks as if the only thing Boris Johnson’s determined on, is looking after number one. Anyone who saw him in the Commons on Monday would have been shocked at the lack of detail. Sometimes, it seems that he just can’t be bothered to do the basic homework.
Why can’t he be straight with people? He always gives the impression that he’s stringing us along. He ridiculed Keir Starmer’s call for a circuit break, wasted a whole three weeks, and is now doing just that. The smart thing would be to offer Starmer a seat at the table. The PM dismissed footballer Marcus Rashford’s call over free school meals but I’m willing to bet he’ll be forced to backtrack on that also, because he’s wrong again. He couldn’t even bring himself to mention Remembrance Sunday during his ramblings on Saturday night and he’s repeatedly misled us over Christmas.We need forthrightness and character to get us through.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. We’ve got the wrong man for this situation. As Amery said to Chamberlain, ‘In the name of God, go’
Steve McCabe MP weekly column for Birmingham Mail