‘Strong and stable’? What happened to ‘compassionate’ and ‘open-minded’?
- Credit: PA
What qualities do you look for in a leader? If your unthinking response to that question is 'strength and stability', you've fallen victim to the most blatant piece of vacuous propaganda in an era of vacuous propaganda.
Someone told Theresa May and all her Tory colleagues to repeat the phrase 'strong and stable leadership' at every conceivable opportunity – and every inconceivable one too.
Whoever it was takes a pretty dim view of the intelligence of the British electorate. It seems that dim view may, sadly, be an accurate one.
Until June 23 last year, May was a Remainer. Now she's a gung-ho Brexiteer. How strong is that?
And how stable can any government that includes Boris Johnson really be?
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What Johnson has always known – and what the coiner of that 'strong and stable' soundbite knows – is the principle of the Big Lie. Say it often enough and people will believe you. And they'll keep repeating the formula as if it was their own.
The act of calling the election we're now facing was not strong or stable. It was entirely unnecessary. An act of weakness on several counts – as the Opposition would have made clear to all if its own leadership had been strong and stable. And if it had had a fair crack of the media whip.
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The qualities I want in a leader? Intelligence, compassion, far-sightedness, an open mind – all in shockingly short supply in today's corridors of power.