Johnson. Is he fit to be Prime Minister?


I have taken an active interest in UK politics for more than 60 years. For most of that period I have respected the senior members of our government and have been confident in their democratic principles. You will not be surprised that I was horrified by the pathetic behaviour in the House of Commons on 31/01/22 by Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister.

He said "Sorry" but did not explain how he was going change his habits and become less selfish. Without any justification he suggested that Kier Starmer was responsible for Jimmy Savile not being prosecuted. He also implied that there would have to be personnel changes in Downing Street and in the Cabinet. Perhaps so that blame for his recent problems could be transferred to his staff and ministers as well as to the European Union?   In my experience, the most successful countries, businesses, schools and clubs are the result of great leadership. It is impossible to rescue a bad organisation without changing the leader. 

Johnson tried to convince MPs that his problems would not interfere with the great work which he believes his government is doing with major issues. However, on the same day, he cancelled his planned conversation with The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and he seems to have overlooked a few self-inflicted problems such as:

Covid-19

Johnson appears to have ignored, or probably did not read, the internal government report about managing a pandemic which was leaked during September 2019 but never published.

He has regularly failed to respond promptly to scientific advice and has been rescued by the brilliant work of our scientists, NHS staff, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the UK people and businesses.

Despite claims that the government has recruited thousands of doctors and nurses, there appear to be 200,000 vacancies in the NHS and Social Care including approximately 20,000 NHS staff who have left the country after we left the EU.

Brexit

Johnson rushed into a Brexit deal without understanding it. Then he threatened to break the international legal agreement. The ONS has estimated that the agreement will cost the UK 2% of its GDP. Boris has infuriated the citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, UK businesses and EU leaders. Import and Export trade has been damaged. Brexit has created a mass of documentation and government has had to employ more expensive staff in order to minimise delays and complications. Dominic Raab has said that benefits may take ten years to appear.

Local Councils and the Lib Dems

Councils have had to deal with increasing problems without corresponding increases in finance (NB "balanced and proportionate increases" in government parlance).

Liberal Democrats not only want to remove our Prime Minister in order to improve government at a national level. We are determined to provide better management at local Council level. Our councillors will protect green spaces, ensure that new housing will not harm local communities and the economy, work to address concerns over anti-social behaviour, and ensure that the voices of local residents and businesses are heard by councils.

Management of UK Government

Johnson's poor performance as mayor of London should have been a warning that he would be a dreadful PM. He is incapable of choosing quality staff or of retaining them. (eg Dominic Cummings, Lee Cain, Sajid Javid (when Chancellor of the Exchequer), Lord Agnew and civil servants). His Cabinet includes few ministers with business experience. He has consistently failed to provide UK citizens and businesses  with relevant guidance, advice, and active assistance.  

Johnson and his acolytes have a standard answer (with slight variations) for all problems: "We are taking it seriously and working very hard in Downing Street  to  produce  a balanced and proportionate approach."   Unfortunately it is not apparent. 

The UK has a leader without any leadership skills as confirmed by Sue Gray.

European Relationships with International Leaders

Johnson has had poor relationships with USA, Iran, India, Scotland and European Union leaders. He is not trusted to adhere to agreements. Can he be trusted to negotiate with Putin, support the leaders of the Ukraine or work with EU leaders for our mutual benefit? The UK will probably be distrusted and hated for many years to come long after he is gone. 

Economy

Many years ago I occasionally spoke on behalf of the Conservative Party. I, and other speakers, would be given a card with the Party's standard answers to frequent questions. Johnson and his ministers are so repetitive that I suspect that the old system is still in use. "The UK has the fastest growing economy in the G7 countries" is a regular response when the economy is being discussed. However, this is misleading as according to reliable sources, the UK could be the fifth or sixth fastest depending upon the dates used for the assessment. There seems to be more certainty that the UK suffered a fall in GDP of almost 20% in the first year of the pandemic because of a lack of preparation.

Another misleading answer they give is "The UK GDP has recovered to 0.9% above its pre-pandemic level ". However, if increases had continued at the pre-pandemic rate, the GDP would have been about 3% higher at the beginning of 2022.

Cost of Living and Inflation

Most economists agree that, during 2022, there will be a rapid increase in the UK cost of living. This is the result of several factors (Inflation in world energy costs, Brexit duties and administration cost increases, national insurance and other tax increases, etc.). There is no evidence that the government is taking effective action to minimise the potential problems and the damage to peoples lives due to this disproportionate increase in their expenditure. 

Security and International Relations

The magnificent co-operation of European nations in the post-war period was the result of fantastic efforts by the leaders and citizens of  countries to build back better. The citizens of the UK have enjoyed huge security and economic benefits created by these heroic people. Sadly, they have been severely damaged by Johnson in just a few years. 

Foreign Aid

The UK was the only G7 member to cut foreign aid last year, It reduced aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP with the result that several groups of starving and/or threatened people lost essential aid and may not survive.

 

For all these reasons and more, Liberal Democrats in Loughborough Charnwood and Melton would say that Boris Johnson is a failure as a Prime Minister and a danger to our economy, our security and to our country's reputation. 


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