The answer to the question was: The Warsaw Pact. The naming of this organisation of countries providing a buffer for the Soviet Union has recently struck me as being significant over the last few days. Warsaw was the city that the Red Army let bleed to death in 1944. As its soldiers were being sacrificed at Driel and Oosterbeek, near Arnhem, the people of Warsaw were involved in an uprising against their Nazi conquerers and needing assistance from their allies. The Russians stopped their advance short of the city and let the uprising fail.
To subsequently use the name of the city in such a manner was to rub the noses of those involved in fighting for their freedom further into the dirt. To add further insult to injury.
The question had come from a TV quiz.
It seems apposite that this week Boris Johnson was named Foreign Minister by the newly appointed British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
The man who led a campaign to have Britain remove itself from the European Union and who then, upon winning this victory, ran from the responsibility, has been welcomed back on to the front bench of the party he so incisively partitioned and washed his hands of. It smarts. To hear two of his colleagues laugh and joke about the implications of this appointment on BBC radio the evening of his appointment smarted too. They referred to him as an intellectual. They lauded his abilities. They championed him as a political force. Their laughter displayed all the compassion and understanding of a French Queen. Unfortunately my ire at their words meant I forget to write down their names; not that their names would mean much to many anyway. Needless to say, they were Conservative MPs with as much regard for the nation’s pulse as any Conservative MP.
I am furious that Britain has voted to leave the EU. I am incandescent with rage at the manner in which those who won a victory have behaved. It’s wonderful but it isn’t enough that Johnson’s neighbour has put a “sorry world” sign on their fence. It isn’t enough that the comedians on their twitter feeds are pointing out just how quickly it took Prime Minister May to screw-up her premiership. It’s isn’t enough that the governments and press of the world turn as one and laugh at the appointment of this man to this office. It isn’t enough.
Seventeen million plus people voted for Boris Johnson’s promises in the recent referendum. They believed him and his Gove and his Farago and his Leadsom and they voted to leave the EU. They voted for these people to lead the way and fulfil the promises. One by one they have slithered away. Farago back to eating the hand that feeds him. Leadsom to a ministerial position – please the Lord it isn’t Minister in Charge of Proofreading and Telling the Truth on CVs – (a cumbersome title for a cumbersome weight of emotion). Gove mistakenly thinking. That’s it, that’s all on Gove. And Johnson. Boris Johnson. It should be that these seventeen million march on parliament and demand to be led by the man they had faith in, the man they believed. The man who promised them they could have their country back. Why haven’t they? Has the curtain been pulled back? Have they realised that the man was lying to them? It makes you want to grab him by the scruff of the neck and drag him to the despatch box, thrust him down in front of the Speaker and say, “Now, get on with it. Do what you said you were going to do.” Emperor’s New Clothes.
And what of the Poles? In 1939 we promised them we would help them. In 1944 we betrayed them. In 1955 their capital city’s name was desecrated in name. In 2016 we tell them to leave, we call them vermin. This is not a game show. Boris Johnson is not a character. Boris Johnson is a c-word but it isn’t character. Boris Johnson is a conniver, a con-man, an equivocator (not quite a c-word but alliterative enough).
“Sorry World” – it isn’t enough. Many comparisons have been made between the leaders of the Leave Campaign and those who walk away from the messes they have been made. The hit and runners of the political world, if you will. Some have argued that by including Leadsom and Johnson in her cabinet May is handing responsibility back to them to fix up the mess they’ve made. I don’t buy that argument. They are all French Queens, and whilst those words may never have been uttered by Marie Antoinette, the contempt, disdain and disregard for the public of Britain has never been more explicit. This unelected Prime Minister and her coterie of conspirators haven’t the mandate to oversee this next period of British history. The one man who did ran away from his responsibility: David Cameron.