Thatcher was right that every PM needs their Willy. However, as Edward II discovered to his cost, no political leadership benefits from elevating and maintaining a favourite. For political leaders, there is a vital difference between being advised by a wise and trusted confidante and putting yourself in the hands of a favoured and devious puppet-master. That King Boris has chosen to follow the model of Edward II and Piers Gaveston, rather than that of the Blessed Margaret and her Willy, is reflected in the way his Cabinet ministers have reacted. Rather than acting as responsible “equals” and at the very least withholding judgment, they have been willing overnight to risk the interests and the lives of the public by undermining their own lock down policy in order to save the PM’s favourite from dismissal. What we see is a jostling bunch of sycophantic courtiers sucking up to a fool for fear that his favourite will otherwise engineer their political demise. This is a simple and glaring disgrace but, as such, nothing more than we have come to expect from the overeducated buffoon who along with his favourite now holds sway in this country.
Published by Peter G Harris
Peter G Harris is a barrister and was a senior civil servant responsible for advising ministers in the UK on policy and legislation for reforming the civil law and civil justice system. He is now based at Exeter College in the University of Oxford where he teaches and continues to think about the law as an instrument of public policy. View all posts by Peter G Harris