(For context, I type this blog just minutes after Johnson and Hancock have tested positive for COVID-19.)
When the electorate cast their vote in December 2019, multiple factors influenced each decision. Chief amongst those reasons was a question of party leadership. When placing the X, most people’s decision comes boils down to this: in a time of impending doom – such as a war – who would you trust most to steer us through?
Above all else, people demand a competent – if not brilliant – leader.
Going into the election, Corbyn’s poll ratings were the worst for any leader of the opposition, ever. Only a person of extreme arrogance and/or incompetence would have led their party when they were fully au fait with the polling. It was the incompetence and intransigence of Corbyn, aided by the follow-the-leader-at-all-costs mentality of the Corbynistas, and abetted by the spineless Labour MPs who wouldn’t derail such an obvious loser, which gave Johnson his commanding majority. Brexit didn’t lose Labour the election, it was toxic Corbyn.
Though Boris must be the least moral of the Prime Ministers in my lifetime (my kids love to ask Alexa how many children the PM has – given that there are a few different answers), as much as it pains me to write it, given our parlous predicament, I’m glad that he beat Corbyn. It isn’t that Johnson is competent – he isn’t – it is that he is more competent than Corbyn. The same can be said for the Cabinet versus the Shadow Cabinet. Bizarrely, faltering Diane Abbot was front and centre of the Labour campaign, whereas Jacob Rees-Mogg was forced by Cummins to self-isolate, given his penchant to put his foot in it.
Now imagine Corbyn, in a national broadcast, asking those who despise him – including 90% of the media – to stay at home. Imagine Corbyn, flanked by McDonnel, introducing what is a Universal Basic Income and nationalising the railways. I don’t believe that most people, even if Corbyn had won the election, would have listened. The Daily Mail and Express would have taken a Trumpian – it’s just the flu – line. We would, therefore, be in a worst position.
But just imagine just how much better a situation we would be in now, particularly in terms of the funding for our beloved NHS, had we not gone through such unnecessary, cruel austerity since 2010. The mad dash to create 10,000 ventilators wouldn’t be a story. The calibre of the leader usually swings an election, but the calibre of the policies makes for a prepared, caring country.