Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister
- Credit: PA
I have always felt it is wrong to use this column to launch personal attacks on politicians - you can criticise individual policies, question the wisdom of decisions and on occasions, particularly in the wake of election results, be pretty blunt.
But I felt personal attacks should have no place in political life.
However over the last week I have become so angry that I've had to change that view.
The simple fact is that Boris Johnson isn't fit to be Prime Minister.
That's not because of failings with his political philosophy or that there is any democratic deficit with him. He won the Tory leadership with an overwhelming majority and then gained the endorsement of the British people with the biggest general election win since the Blair era.
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It's because his personal morality - his apparent lack of understanding of the importance of being truthful and frankly his total inability to see the consequences of his actions on other people that makes him so unsuited to his current role.
I've been critical of many, most, of his actions since the pandemic hit the world. The one thing we got right in this country was the vaccine development and roll-out.
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His handling of the Matt Hancock affair last month demonstrated his lack of clear thinking when things rapidly go wrong - what would he have done if he'd been in No 10 during the Falklands Crisis?
But what really sent me over the edge and forced me to come to this conclusion was his behaviour over the weekend after Sajid Javid went down with Covid.
Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both "pinged" on Saturday evening after meeting Mr Javid in the hours before he became unwell and returned a positive Covid test.
Anyone who has followed the news over the last 10 days knows that the "pingdemic" has become a huge issue - forcing businesses to close, public services like hospitals to put off vital work, and preventing individuals from doing their work.
Yet the first instinct of Messrs Johnson and Sunak (although I'm not sure what say Mr Sunak really had in the decision) was to use a little-known loophole available to a tiny group in Whitehall to get around the rules that are blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens.
They then sent the hapless Robert Jenrick around the Sunday morning TV political shows to defend their indefensible behaviour . . . before a lightbulb moment when they realised their actions WERE indefensible and changed their minds.
It then got even worse - Mr Johnson put out a video on Twitter where he said: "We did look briefly at us taking part in the pilot scheme . . . but we think it's important everyone sticks to the same rules."
I'm sorry but that's not being disingenuous, it's not being "economical with the truth," it's a downright lie. You didn't "briefly look" at the pilot scheme. You looked at the pilot scheme, decided to take part in it, and put out a press release saying you were taking part in it!
You only changed your mind 157 minutes later when you realised MPs from across the political spectrum, every national newspaper and political commentators everywhere (not to mention "ordinary voters") were astonished at the level of hypocrisy you were prepared to display!
There was no contrition in his statement, no sense that he had done anything wrong. There was a total absence of any humility or understand of how he had enraged the nation.
As I say this is not a political attack on Mr Johnson. Some of his policies I personally agree with, some I think are wrong.
I've been following politics for 50 years now (I was interested even as a young teenager) and I've been writing about them for more than 30.
There have been Prime Ministers that I didn't feel did a good job. There have been, more actually, Prime Ministers (from all sides) who I felt have done quite a good job in difficult circumstances.
History is already treating John Major and Gordon Brown far more favourably than they were seen during the tenancy of Number 10 - and even Theresa May's efforts at getting a deal with the EU are being looked on much more positively than they were seen two or three years ago.
I have never seen a Prime Minister that I thought was unfit for the office he or she holds. That has changed now and it makes me rather worried about the future of the country over the next few years.