Boris Johnson, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, makes General Melchett from TV show Blackadder Goes Forth look like a genius, writes Susan Morrison.
At this time of year, my thoughts turn to remembrance. I wear a small enamel 1920s vintage poppy. Sometimes I wonder who wore it before me and why. My great-aunt wore hers in memory of her two brothers, working-class lads caught in a war we still don’t fully understand.
I’ve never bought into the “lions led by donkeys” view of the officer class in the First World War. The high command and the titled lads in the trenches were far more complex than the caricatures of General Hogmanay Melchett and dear Lieutenant George of Blackadder fame. Not even the upper classes could be that stupid.
And then I look at Boris Johnson and I think, “Oh, I dunno”. This is a man so stonkingly obtuse that you wouldn’t send him for the messages without a note, even if it was just for a pan loaf.
They say he is a man of towering intellect, with a massively expensive education to boot, so we all know he must be a smart cookie, because education is one of those things that business delivers so much better than the state. Well, just look at the American healthcare system, eh?
In fact, private enterprise is so darned good at running things like rail networks, I’m surprised we don’t start flogging off chunks of the Armed Forces, or at the very least attempting to crowdfund an aircraft carrier.
When Treeza appointed this notable hunter of her Prime Ministerial job to be Foreign Secretary, even I, no fan of the Maybot, thought this was a Machiavellian move of sheer genius.
After all, it’s difficult to foment backbench revolt when you’re off at an official reception for the cultural attache of Kiribati, the day before leaving to attend a state dinner in Uzbekistan. It seemed that she knew this was a clever boy who had to be kept busy. However, it seems that Mrs May has unleashed a weapons-grade nincompoop on the world stage. This is a man who opens his mouth and instantly outrages a foreign power which happens to have a British citizen in jail, which immediately kicks off and starts threatening to extend her jail time. It’s obviously escaped BoJo’s attention that part of his job description includes coming to the aid of folk in foreign jails.
There’s no doubt that a lot of British citizens deserve to land in chokey, but Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Right now, Bojo, for all his costly education, looks like the sort of lawyer who shows up in an American prison to defend some poor schmuck on a charge of dropping litter, only to watch his client wind up with a 20-year stretch on a Mississippi chain gang.