Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Christopher Jackson
Features Writer
9:08 AM 29th May 2020

From The Enlightened To The Egregious

Try though I might to dismiss it, we are living in an unparalleled era of self centred, incorrigible behaviour from those who supposedly lead us. It’s now more prudent to assume mendacity rather than truthfulness.

Yes I speak of Dominic Cummings. I confess to a liking for Boris, finding his optimism and bounce appealing, but the last week has exposed his hitherto hidden frailties; his perspicacity seems as suspect as Cummings’ eyesight. Maybe he will sack Cummings soon and claim his dithering was a test run for the big decision. Sadly, for us all, he has squandered most of his political capital in a matter of minutes.

But before the anti Tories get too animated, the Labour Party plumbed even deeper depths over Iraq. To hear Alastair Campbell beasting away on Breakfast TV about Boris not sacking Cummings beggared belief: oh he of the dodgy dossier! Dominic Cummings’ misdemeanours count as nothing by comparison. And what of Lord Mandelson? I could almost believe he was Uriah Heep reincarnated. A more smug, oleaginous politician you’d struggle to think of. Sacked three times before getting a nice peerage to soothe his social aspirations. Few deserve the sobriquet ‘Champagne Socialist’ more than him. Was the story that he thought a Hartlepool chippy was serving Guacamole (aka mushy peas) just apocryphal? I’d like to think not.

One cannot fail to look back in envy at the Age of Enlightenment. That halcyon time of great thinkers like David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Kant and Adam Smith. Often known as the age of reason - with truly high minded ideals of liberation, tolerance, progress, fraternity, reasoned thoughts and argument based on empirical evidence, or more prosaically, facts. Now it seems facts are simply ignored where it suits, or even worse, the facts are what the person says they are. Thus a politician can dispute evidence or simply recast it to suit the needs of the day. We see it in Trump, in Xi, and most obviously in Putin. Skripal? - poo sticks! These people write events to match their agenda and democracy itself can feel at risk.

The leadership has stuck up the proverbial two fingers to the electorate this week. I think many will bank this snub and make a strategic withdrawal at some future date. How richly deserved!