Fictitious times and magical thinking

It’s high time we got real and faced up to the disastrous performance of the Johnson government and its damaging impact on our lives argues David Knopfler.

We live in fictitious times, where magical thinking has replaced facts:

  • where we pretend that pandemics are over despite the bodies piling up at our mortuaries in ever increasing numbers.
  • where we pretend that a war (one we aren’t engaged in) has, uniquely for Britain, caused a 13 per cent rise in food prices last month and not the policy of tearing us out of our sensible, friction-free, trading relationship with our main food supplier;
  • that we have better full employment figures, when actually we are fully employing fewer people than seven years ago;
  • that our debt to GDP ratio isn’t now more than twice what it was when we suffered through austerity to stop it rising;
  • that our new trading “opportunities” have compensated for the ones we wrecked, when they are actually worth about 5 per cent of what we lost;
  • that our cost of living crisis is global when it’s largely national;
  • that we are building forty new hospitals when we are building two, and the ones we already have are falling down around our ears, exacerbated by world-beating labour shortages within them;
  • that we can deliver tax cuts just in time for the next election despite our economic performance delivering less revenue than in 2015 and despite introducing a raft of tax hikes;
  • that Freeports can somehow compensate us for screwing up everything else.

How could this list of abject failures possibly be otherwise when we are led by a braying liar, one who routinely knowingly misleads parliament, one whose entire life has been merely a long series of dreadful messes and blunders,both personal and professional, from which, miraculously, he has fallen upwards at every turn?

Not that it’s exactly a fabulous stock pool of talent to begin with, but his choices of ministerial and other appointees seems little better, whether it be his controversial, now-sacked, former advisor Dominic Cummings, his little goose-stepping Home Secretary, his now-dumped Health Minister Matt Hancock, his uncultured ignoramus and liability Nadine Dorries as minister for culture (was he having a laugh?) and let’s not even intrude on the private grief of his wunderkind chancellor from the Caymans, India or the US, depending on which legal tax fiddle best suits his personal sunny uplands that day! All seem to have been selected capriciously and carelessly by our prime embarrassment.

I could have extended this list effortlessly because, frankly, by any metric you can think of – rivers, farming, green spaces, the music industry, energy, just anything – you name it, surely things are getting worse in the UK?

I am in my 70th year on this island and I have genuinely never seen such comprehensively low-grade, failing-the-public leadership. It’s surely to god high time this clown car of self-serving, lying shysters and chancers were shown the door, isn’t it?

Well, isn’t it? Am I wrong?