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Showing posts from October, 2018

The politics of banality

The essential circus of party politics in the UK is never more cringe making than at party conference time. The spectacle of socially awkward, physically clumsy individuals trying to get "down with the kids" in a vain attempt to assert a non-existent popularity is always a fairly barf-making sight. Even the best political figures tend to feel uneasy about the false ballyhoo of the conference set-piece speech; I recall Paddy Ashdown coming off stage amid a minor fireworks display and muttering a gentle imprecation at the slightly surreal farce he had been forced to take part in.

Neither Theresa May nor Boris Johnson are particularly good political figures. May is an exceptionally awkward personality: "a bloody difficult woman" as other Conservatives have long noticed. Her management style is authoritarian and insecure, her personality lacks empathy and is unusually defensive under pressure. By contrast the extrovert Boris Johnson is a warmer figure, but his charm is …