James O'Brien: The PM's "ludicrous pantomime politics" are useless during Covid

23 October 2020, 13:07

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien explains why Boris Johnson's "ludicrous, pantomime-ish politics" of sending out false promises has no place during a pandemic, in a scrutinisation of the PM.

"The danger for offering false hope seems to be growing: it'll be over in 12 weeks, it'll be over by Christmas...they've got no idea. And why can't they admit that?" James said.

He theorised that it is to do with how we're raised; generally, female leaders are "rather better at acknowledging the fundamental unknowability of life."

He acknowledged that this was a broad generalisation: "The female leaders seem more comfortable with the unknowability of existence. Men, particularly men with leadership ambitions, convince themselves from a very early age that they can do anything, that they can control, that they can fix, that they can fight their way out of any problem.

"But we end up bankrupt, there is nothing in our toolbox, for tackling problems like this. That for my money is why female leaders have generally performed a lot better during the coronavirus. They're not more risk-averse, they're just more information hungry."

James said that in Westminster, there is a Prime Minister "twisted enough inside to genuinely think he can say out loud to the public....I'm in favour of having my cake and eating it" - a phrase which is "a reflection" on his whole life.

The Prime Minister is "psychologically incapable of processing choices where every outcome is bad and your job is simply to identify the least bad one.

"He keeps throwing us bones that are dressed up as good news: it'll be over in twelve weeks, it's world-beating, it's Moonshot, folks. It's getting silly now and dangerous, this ludicrous, pantomime-ish politics that Boris Johnson is very good at."

James reflected that it is great when you are campaigning if you care about winning more than truth, but it's "no use here" in this pandemic era.