Ed Miliband: Our Knight in Shining Adenoids

When Ed Miliband stepped into the shoes of leader of the Labour party, like a new-born baby, he came out kicking, screaming and trying to make an impression on the world. He didn’t. His case was not helped by the fact that he was solely elected above his far more charismatic, and in many eyes more favourable brother, David, due to the alternative voting system; otherwise ‘Red Ed’ would have been on the first train back to 62 West Wallaby street.

It is hard for any politician to make it out of such a quagmire of scandal and hatred into a successful career, the equivalent to going on a pleasant yachting holiday off the coast of Somalia and then being invited onto the pirates’ boat for a cup of tea and a picnic. Unluckily for Ed, we have become a world of vain materialists, obsessed with image, of which he has none. Furthermore his party was bankrolled by the malevolent and mysterious force that is the Trade Unions, suspected by many to have a far larger part in politics than is let on. Expectations were that he would make an inevitable and imminent flop into a think tank. However, something happened, that was unexpected to the Unions, the public, and the Press. Ed decided not to conform.

Modern politicians focus on their image and how they look in the public eye hence the arrival of the beautifully polished David Cameron and the ‘down with the kids’ Clegg. We see all too often these ‘figureheads’ of parties that have good hair and good teeth but no actual political intelligence. Miliband has a nostalgic whiff of Eau de Thatcher about his person, not for his policies but for his unsurpressable enthusiasm in improving the country. Miliband could be the first we see in a fantastical marching return of real politicians, ones that think for themselves and actually listen and care about the electorate of this country. Ed did what no Labour politician had the guts to do; he stood up to the Unions and severed their tentacles of puppetry from a party that was in danger of falling back into their grasp since the departure of Blair. He also took a stand on behalf of every single one of us against the ‘Big Six’ energy companies who charge families an average of £1,412 a year with prices forecasted to do nothing but rise further in the coming years. He has also turned around the disastrous results from the previous election headed up by one of the worst smiles in politics, Gordon Brown, who managed to lose 91 seats. Compared to the last election, predictions are now at a 56 seat Labour majority in the upcoming election in 2015.

All of these things have been done in little over three years of party leadership, more than most politicians could hope to do in a lifetime. His branding of ‘Red Ed’ by his critics does not connote communism as they imply, but it is an expression of his regality, and that a new visionary and political royalty has been born into the sparse world of Westminster.

Contributed by Daniel Gibbs

Is a Democratic Government a Necessity for Modern Society Today?

A democratic government can be found in approximately 120 countries today, however the direction of travel in the last four years points towards freedom declining around the world. Although a democratic government is best for popular opinion being listened to it is not necessarily best for economic growth in a country.

Human beings are generally rule-following by nature and they conform to the social norms that they see around them. A democratic government would therefore normally make laws based on popular opinion – especially if this supports the governing party gaining re-election – which would be followed by the majority of people in the country because that is what their innate nature would tell them to do. However, in America, people’s ideological views can be seen by where they choose to live. Therefore a democratic government across the entirety of the country would be less beneficial than a system of state governments which make decisions for the local citizens. This results in more satisfaction and agreement amongst the local population as it would be aimed directly at their needs. Overall though, only social and limited financial policies can be dictated on a state by state basis with (for example) foreign and military policies requiring a national decision as it would affect the entire country and therefore some form of national government would be needed.

The positives of a democratic government can be seen in Denmark where good political and economic institutions have been put in place. It has a stable government, is democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive and has low levels of political corruption. However, it is not clear whether Danish political order could be implemented into different cultural contexts where technology is less advanced and people have been under the rule of a dictatorship all their lives. A prime example of this is when the US administration was under the impression that once they had removed Saddam Hussein as President of Iraq, conditions would automatically revert to a democracy with a free market economy and were surprised at the levels of looting and civil conflict that resulted. Therefore, although a democratic government would be ideal for most countries, it is a laborious process that must take place with technological improvements and many countries are not at the stage where this transformation can take place. The recent political unrest in Egypt is a prime example of this.

Location can also play an important part in whether democracies are necessary. In Europe, most countries are full democracies though there are a few flawed democracies, particularly some of the countries which were part of the former Soviet Union. However, when looking at East Asia, successful authoritarian modernization is commonplace with countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China benefiting. However, the question must therefore be asked as to why similar systems are not successful in Africa and the Middle East. Overall, it is therefore evident that different locations are seemingly better suited to different forms of government.

In conclusion, democracy seems to be the best form of government only in areas where technology is advanced enough and also where there are high levels of entrepreneurship that will benefit a free-market economy and where a robust law-and-order regime is in place. However, in other locations authoritarian governments are more suited because it is a system where the economy can develop more effectively when it is regulated, such as China.

Contributed by Gregory Lobo

Would Nationalisation put UK Rail back on Track?

The turn of the year has seen David Cameron pledge to secure the “triple lock” system for pensioners, French company Total confirm British fracking plans and, most noticeably for public transport users, a rail fare rise of 2.8% on average, causing some annual tickets to now rise over £5000 a year. Many campaigners are arguing that fares are rising three times higher than incomes; another sign of Cameron’s ‘cost of living crisis’. A highly possible solution to this, supported by over fifty MPs, is a renationalisation of the UK’s railways.

First privatised under John Major’s Government between 1994 and 1997, customer rail services are divided into regional franchises run by private companies. These companies, of which there were 25 initially, bid for seven or eight year contracts for the franchises across the country. Twenty years after privatisation, train fares have not risen uniformly; season tickets rising around the same as inflation (55-80%), whilst single tickets have risen by 208%. Although privatisation was hoped to create competition, therefore meaning reduced travel prices for customers, the number of different train operating companies has dramatically reduced, with major firms such as National Express and Stagecoach running multiple franchises.

When rail services were first privatised, it was intended that the private firms would fund investment in rail infrastructure through private borrowing. Although it was agreed rail would always have to involve some form of government subsidy, the balance between this and private funding has been a constant conflict from the offset; both pro and anti-privatisers agree that the current balance is incorrect and inefficient. Government spending received by British Rail almost trebled from 1994 to 2005, from £1,627m to £4,593m, despite a lack of real investment in improving infrastructure within this period. Privatisation has therefore led to the cost of the railway doubling in real terms for the tax payer, causing the supposed benefit of this privatisation system ‘costing the tax payer less’ to become completely unfounded.

Moreover, nearly half of the so called ‘privately owned’ companies running UK train services are actually owned by French, German or other European national operators. As Christian Wolmar wrote in November 2011, “The British railway system is slowly being renationalised, but not by our own government. Rather, it is being taken over by foreign state-owned railways that now have an interest in almost half the franchises”. The German government’s Deutsche Bahn, the largest state owner of British railway, has announced they’re “skimming profit from the entire Deutsche Bahn” to invest “in the rail network here in Germany”. If the rail system is profitable, then surely the UK should nationalise their rail network keeping that investment within Britain to make the much needed improvements to it, instead of Germans benefiting from the overpriced rail fares faced by Britons every day. This argument can similarly be used for the renationalisation of other sectors, with over 65% of people supporting the nationalisation of Royal Mail and the energy sector in a recent survey by YouGov.

East Coast main line is the most damming case against the privatisation of train services. The train line was nationalised in November 2009 after its two private owners left the job, leaving publicly owned Directly Operated Railways to keep it running. A recent report by the Office of Rail Regulation reveals, however, that the line is the most efficiently run franchise when considering its reliance on taxpayer funding. Moreover, it is reliant on just 1% government payments, with the other franchises ranging from 3 to 36%. Despite this clear sign that rail nationalisation prospers over privatisation, the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced plans in 2013 to resell East Coast to the private sector, claiming “Now it is the right time that we invite bidders to put forward proposals for investing in and improving services” even though East Coast has a record of improving customer satisfaction to a higher level than ever before.

The opposition have grasped at this serious blunder by the government; Labour’s shadow Transport Secretary Marie Eagle said “Considering the East Coast service makes one of the highest annual payments to the Government, receives the least subsidy and is the only route on which all profits are reinvested in services, it makes no sense for the Government to prioritise this privatisation”. Rail nationalisation does not look likely to be implemented anytime soon however, with none of the main three political parties committing to renationalisation as of yet; another sign of consensus politics between the UK’s three main parties creating little real choice for the electorate.

The Green Party, however, are supporting the renationalisation of the rail network with their MP Caroline Lucas launching a Private Member’s Bill last year with the backing of over 50 Labour and Plaid Cymru MP’s. According to the Greens, nationalisation would not only allow an ‘increase in investment, re-open lines and reduce fares’ but would create a more ‘integrated green transport system’. With the ever rising price of rail fares, the spiralling government subsidies and prospering publicly owned rail networks, in the UK and abroad, it’s hard to argue against a renationalisation of rail in the UK.

Contributed by George Waddell

Is our Police Service in need of reform?

The British judicial system is widely regarded as one of the world’s best – a variant of it is used by countries such as the US, Canada, and Australia and it has set a precedent for many other legal systems around the world. But can we really stake a claim to justice when the enforcer of our laws, the police service, has been proven on numerous occasions to be inherently flawed, and even corrupt?

In the last couple of years, three high-profile policing scandals have come to a head: the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, and the killing of Mark Duggan in 2011. The police have, by a number of different means, tried to take justice into their own hands, and the question has to be asked that if the police are accountable to the same laws as everyone else, why has more not been done to try and solve this problem, or at least assess the extent of it? Altering statements, testifying falsely in court and generally acting outside of the law are not acceptable – it isn’t the police’s job to decide who is innocent and who is guilty.

The probe into the Hillsborough disaster found that the South Yorkshire Police were at fault for the deaths, through negligence and inefficiency. While these can be attributed to human error, the more damning finding was that police accounts and witness statements were doctored by the police, in order to shift the blame away from them, and onto the victims of their negligence – a verdict that stood for over 20 years. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry of 1999 found that the Metropolitan Police was “institutionally racist”, and in 2006 some were found to have perverted the course of justice by withholding evidence. It took 19 years for Lawrence’s murderers to be held to account for their actions. Mark Duggan was shot dead by the police in 2011 despite having disposed of his firearm, provoking riots on a national level – but the killing was found to be lawful. Duggan was a known gangster, and the official verdict did not find the police at fault – but the reputation of the Met Police had been further damaged in the eyes of the public, and given the track record of judicial failings when the police are involved, who is to say that this decision too won’t be overturned in 20 years time?

One of the key issues is that despite the alleged equality of testimony in our country, the police are invariably trusted to testify honestly, and the Duggan case is just one example of how police testimony is viewed as almost indisputable evidence – the unconditional trust in the police is clearly misplaced. It could be argued that as officers of the law, this is deserved – but given the examples of occasions on which they have been found, in retrospect, to have perverted the course of justice (such as with the recent ‘Plebgate’ scandal), is it not time for this privilege to be revoked? And given that it appears to take decades of campaigning to ensure justice, how do we know that these goings-on aren’t even more commonplace than we think? Police testimony is regularly used in the execution of justice, often as outright evidence – if even a tiny minority of police officers cannot be trusted to act honestly and follow legal procedure, then surely their position as law enforcers is compromised?

Such a widespread investigation into police conduct would not be entirely without precedent – in 1997, a Royal Commission found that in the police forces of New South Wales, Australia, “corruption and misconduct” were “systemic and entrenched”. Crucially, this verdict left no alternative to a thorough reform of the system, restoring the integrity and reputation of the police in that state, and acting to enhance the administration of justice. An investigation into the police forces of Great Britain, with more powers than the largely ineffectual IPCC, and a commitment to widespread reform should it be found that the police services are fundamentally ineffective, would go a long way to bringing down the wall that has been built up between the police and the general public over the last 30 years. There is little doubt that the vast majority of police officers are honest, and committed to assisting the course of justice, but the failure to address the minority that are damaging our judiciary has left its reputation in tatters, seemingly beyond repair. Until a detailed investigation into the police force as a whole has been carried out, we cannot truly claim to have a just and fair legal system – and it is vital that we address this issue before the international reputation of our judiciary, as well as the trust in it of our people, is compromised any further. It would be a complex and expensive process, but the potential positive consequences easily outweigh any negatives that may be incurred.

Contributed by Charlie Worthington

Was Margaret Thatcher beneficial for this country?

‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’, the catchy tune sung by Judy Garland and the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, is currently on the rise in the charts, in the wake of the death of Baroness Thatcher, the ‘Iron Lady’ who was Britain’s first and so far only female Prime Minister, as well as the longest serving one in recent times. A Facebook group was set up years ago dedicated to promoting this song the day the ex-PM dies, in response to the extreme criticism that Thatcher received during her time as PM in the 1980’s, a time of economic turbulence and extremism. There could be no denying that those were troubled years, and perhaps the pinnacle of the decline in post-war Britain. So what did Thatcher do that was so divisive? Why is she still a controversial figure, to this day and to her grave?

The general consensus amongst the electorate was that in 1979, Britain was a failed state, the ‘sick man’ in post-war Europe: 3-day weeks, continuous and unregulated strikes, constant power cuts, and the culture of hands-out-exploiting-welfare-state. The ‘winter of discontent’ (1978-1979), in which there were a series of strikes co-ordinated by public sector Trade Unions was deeply embarrassing for the country – uncollected rubbish was left in the street for weeks, loss of power happened regularly and even human bodies were left in the streets as the Undertakers went on strike. With all this in mind, were the policies and actions of Thatcher really that radical and wrong? When she came into power in 1979, her promise was to clear away all the troubles of socialism and bring back the ‘great’ in Great Britain.

She immediately set out to reduce the influence of the state and bolster the economy by promoting free-market economics, famously declaring that ‘it is businesses, not government, who make money’. She believed that there was a spoon-feeding culture in the UK and that it was important for individuals to get up and work, citing ‘pennies don’t fall from Heaven – they have to be earned, here on Earth’. Tax and spending cuts were soon implemented, alongside the introduction of several Parliamentary Bills, designed to curb Trade Union militancy; state industries such as transport and power were sold and privatised; and most importantly council homes were sold to homeowners, enabling many to climb onto the property ladder for the first time. It is a wonder why the opposition opposed these reforms – many say that Labour hated the fact Thatcher was removing the power of government and giving working people more power over their lives – ironic isn’t it?

However clever this move was, politically and economically, there were drawbacks. The increasing wealth of the City of London and the enginered decline of traditional industries such as mining lead to mass unemployment, and financial insolvency in those sectors. This is what fundamentally lead to people disliking Thatcher, even to this day, as many felt she ruined the country and ruined peoples lives. However, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that it was ultimately a successful move. The country was directed away from the old manufacturing industries, now subject of intense international competition, but managed to re-establish itself as a leading global economy with a booming financial sector located in the City of London. To this day, despite the criticisms of Thatcher, we have yet to return to the mining and shipping country we once were.

Thatcher deeply distrusted the Trade Unions. No one is denying that Trade Unions are good – they are an essential part of our democracy and key to ensuring that the voice of working people are heard. However, the militancy and power that Trade Unions wielded in the 70’s and 80’s was beyond monstrous – it was purely undemocratic. The year long strike in 1984 of the National Union of Mineworkers, called for by their leader Arthur Scargill, despite him failing to call for a ballot, showed clearly how the Unions thought they could impose their views undemocratically on the government. Having seen her party defeated over power cuts during Edward Heath’s premiership, Thatcher was determined not to make the same mistake, and had built up considerable reserves of coal in the years leading up to the strike. This meant the strike was defeated, and it lead to dramatic declines in the coal industry and influence of the Trade Unions.

Thatcher was also successful abroad. The victory over the Falkland Islands in 1982, the early identification of Mikhail Gorbachev as a future Soviet Leader and thus her involvement in bringing the Cold War to an end all helped put Britain back on the world map, giving it a renewed sense of its role as a global influence.

But, as with all politicians, she was not without her faults. Her infamous ‘Poll Tax’ in her third term of office led to widespread protests and riots in the streets, and is still unanimously seen as a mistake; her desire to see off the reunification of Germany, as she feared European federalism, was also unpopular and her stance on Europe would ultimately lead to her downfall. The culture of consumerism and unregulated capitalism that she ushered in can also be seen as a few of the many reasons which have lead to today’s recession and economic failings.

Therefore, in conclusion we must look at her overriding achievement: despite remaining a controversial and divisive figure today, she did make this country great again. Her ideology and leadership oversaw the transformation of a declining and failed state to the global power that we are today. Several of her key ideas have now become accepted in modern politics, similar to the welfare reforms of the 1940’s; and even when New Labour won a landslide victory in 1997, they built on the legacy that Thatcher had left behind, and she is still having that impact on us today. She was an undefeated PM in electoral terms, but she was also a national and cultural figurehead, which is why she is arguably seen as the greatest peacetime Prime Minister of all time. Many will forget Major, Brown and Cameron, but Margaret Thatcher will never be forgotten.

The easy way to answer the title question is to compare Britain now to when the Iron Lady took office in 1979, and to decide in which year you would like to live. And that is now for you to decide.

Contributed by Benjamin Vicary

How Powerful is the Prime Minister?

Without doubt the Prime Minister is the most important figure in the United Kingdom political system. Prime Ministers are powerful because they are at the head of three crucial relationships. Firstly, the cabinet, including individual Ministers and their departments. Secondly, their own party of which they are head of and through it, Parliament. Lastly the public and the electorate, with help from the media. However, Prime Ministers are not all the same, and differing leadership styles and motivational skills can have a big impact on how powerful they can be.

Firstly, Prime Ministers are powerful as they possess the power of patronage. This is the ability to sack, hire, promote or demote all ministers in government including Secretaries of States and other members of the cabinet. The Prime Minister can ensure ministers who are supportive, share in his ideological views or agree with his policies are promoted to powerful positions, whilst rivals or critics can be limited to junior positions or kept out of government completely. As ministers in government know, the Prime Minister can influence their political careers, and this ensures they remain loyal and supportive as they understand they ‘serve’ the Prime Minister. For example, Gordon Brown carried out the largest cabinet reshuffle in 100 years, sacking 11 members of the cabinet and hiring/promoting 9 MPs to cement his authority in government. However, certain cabinet members can possess a high level of power if they have a high public profile or have one of the ‘plum’ jobs. It is in the best interests of the Prime Minister to conciliate key cabinet colleagues as resignations can be extremely damaging to the Prime Minister publicly. For example, Margaret Thatcher’s reputation as Prime Minister was damaged by the resignations of Heseltine, Lawson and Howe. Furthermore, the current Prime Minister David Cameron is unable to wield the power of patronage to its full extent as the coalition means he is unable to sack Liberal Democrat ministers.

Secondly, the Prime Minister is powerful as he is the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons. This sets him apart from all the other ministers and gives him/her an ‘aura’ of authority across the wider governmental system and in cabinet. Party members recognise that the party’s fortunes and successes are closely linked to the Prime Ministers personal standing which discourages public criticism and party splits. Nevertheless, party leadership is a responsibility as well as a position of power. As the party leader, the party looks to the Prime Minister to provide leadership that will ensure unity and stability, as well as delivering electoral success. Party loyalty can evaporate rapidly if the Prime Minister is viewed as unpopular or as an electoral liability. For example John Major was badly hamstrung by Eurosceptic backbenchers during his tenure as Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997. Another example is that more than 80 Conservative MPs defied Cameron’s orders and backed a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union in 2011.

The Prime Minister can be described as powerful due to the increased access to the media in recent years. Due to the rising flow of information being fed out to the public on a daily basis through television, radio and the internet, this gives the Prime Minister a greater ability to influence. The Prime Minister is deemed powerful as the media tends to focus most on the political leaders, giving the Prime Minister the ability to appear ‘over the heads’ of their parties and governments. Prime Ministers have the power to control the flow of information to the public through the increased use of special advisors. For example, journalist Alistair Campbell was Tony Blair’s main advisor and ‘spin doctor’. This leads to emphasis on ‘spin’ whereby seemingly ‘bad news’ can be released at opportunistic times and the releasing of information close to media deadlines to prevent them checking the reliability of it. However, the use of ‘spin’ can be counter-productive as it undermines trust in the government and the credibility of the Prime Minister. Furthermore, due to commercial pressures, the media is under pressure to make politics ‘sexy’, leading to a tendency to ‘hype’ news stories, such as turning a criticism into a scathing attack. The media can also have an impact on the Prime Minister himself; for example, the constant media scrutiny of Gordon Brown’s personality and image, “unable to smile”, during the 2010 general election was a huge constrain on his electoral prospects.

In addition, the most significant factor when assessing how powerful the Prime Minister is, is the electorate. This is arguably the most important factor as it underpins all other factors. When the Prime Minister and the government are popular such as in 1997, the Prime Minister has a personal mandate to act and make key decisions. However, when government popularity dips and electoral chances are in doubt, the Prime Minister’s authority in cabinet and the party are not assured. For example, Tony Blair’s authority was weakened by Labour’s reduced majority in 2005 and increased support for the Conservative party in the polls.

Also, Prime Ministers can be viewed as powerful due to the build-up of bodies and advisors who support him/her. Tony Blair extended the cabinet office hugely and created many new departments such as the Delivery Unit and the Women’s Unit. Furthermore, Prime Ministers now receive far more institutional support from special advisors. However this is still incomparable to the institutional support received by the United States President. Prime Ministers still lack a department of their own, whereas US Presidents are not limited in terms of who they can pick to fill their cabinet as the executive and legislature are separate.

Another factor is that Prime Ministers can be seen as weak due to events that are out of their control. They are now held responsible for mistakes wherever they occur such as war casualties and economic problems. For example, Tony Blair’s public reputation was scarred by the suicide of David Kelly in 2003: this intensified media speculation about the basis on which the decision to go to war in Iraq was made and the trustworthiness of the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, Margaret Thatcher’s decision to go to war in the Falkland’s in 1982 brought her huge popularity after a victory and was a big impact on the comfortable success in the following general election.

It is fair to say that the Prime Minister’s powers are now largely informal as oppose to formal. This includes persuading and debating, and building and maintaining relationships as opposing to dictating. Although many factors play an important part in the power of a Prime Minister, for example how big his/her majority is in the House of Commons and the power of patronage. It is ultimately down to the leadership style and personality of a Prime Minister which truly determines if they are powerful or not.

Anonymous Contributer

Boris Johnson: Prospective Prime Minister or Bumbling Buffoon?

Last week, the citizens of Birmingham experienced the sort of frenzy one would usually expect during a victory parade of an England sporting team, or a well publicised walkabout of a global musical sensation such as One Direction or PSY! Yet, the centre of attention and the ‘target’ for the Midlands’ paparazzi, was in fact a politician: a politician who has a very distinct charisma.

As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is accountable to over a tenth of the UK population, with responsibility for the smooth running of arguably the world’s most vibrant, dynamic and influential city. Back when the Mayoralty of London was created in 2000, few politicians could have foreseen the danger that this post would create.

Boris Johnson is not an MP. He is not part of the cabinet, or indeed any other government body. He does not need to tow the party line when it comes to legislation, since he is not part of it. In fact, the Mayor is completely independent from any other political programme apart from his duty to the people of London, and his allegiance to the Conservative party. This means he can say and do whatever he wants, regardless of the position of the coalition government. A thorn in David Cameron’s side no doubt – but even he would not dare get rid of the flamboyant and extremely popular Boris.

The Mayor has been very vague on the matter, as is his way. On the one hand, he keeps proclaiming his undivided loyalty to Cameron, saying that he is the man who is needed to turn this country around and put it on the track to recovery. Yet, if this is the case, why is the Mayor constantly lobbying for a new airport in the Thames estuary, rather than the governments’ proposal to expand Heathrow?; or why did he make a point of outshining the Prime Minister during the Olympics this summer, boosting his popularity and diminishing Cameron’s popularity? And back to last May: surely David Cameron could not have missed the irony of losing many council seats throughout the country to Labour, whilst Boris Johnson surged to victory in the Mayoral election in London.

It is obvious that Boris is the most popular politician in the country at the moment, as the polls suggest. It is also obvious that he is clever and witty; likeable and pragmatic. Now would be a very good time to challenge for the leadership of the Tory party: his rather right-winged political stance would appease the backbenchers of the government, who probably fear the direction in which David Cameron is taking them, in order to meet the party’s Coalition obligations, as well as Cameron’s attempt to appeal to the masses by declaring himself ‘centre’. Furthermore, as the leader of the party, Boris would have more chance of getting the Tories into a second term of government because he is a politician who has shown he is not interested in appeasing everyone but who sticks to his promises and his ideology; the sort of ‘no-nonsense’ public figure we need at the moment and who would be voted in, compared with all the career politicians such as Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

But the other question is would he deliver? There is no question that, if he wanted to, he could become Prime Minister. But he has shown to us in the past that he is not the most decisive character. He has many ideas, but does not appear to be responsible enough to carry out official and solemn occasions with the necessary decorum. Boris at a state funeral? Boris meeting the US President to discuss economic troubles? Boris speaking at the United Nations about world development and helping developing countries? It just all seems a little too far-fetched.

It has been said on many occasions that Boris Johnson just is not serious enough to run this country. But ask yourself this: who is capable of running a country, with no experience otherwise? Every Prime Minister we have ever had has always been voted in as a popular person, but a person who has no experience in running a country. Some succeed, some fail. Some are more serious than others. But every Prime Minister “learns the ropes” as they go along. As long as the policies are popular, and the professional assistance is there to help the government do their job properly, then anyone can be a Prime Minister.

My summary of Boris Johnson is this: He is a man who has shown capability in the organising and smoothly running of a major world event. He is a strong, influential character who follows ideology and not, public opinion. He is no doubt a leader, a distinct representative of the capital with whom everyone can feel slightly happier. He elevates himself in terms of charisma – a jester above ‘dull’ politics. He is exactly the sort of person who, with a little training in running a vast enterprise such as the UK, and a little time to help prove himself, could easily bring us out of the current economic depression and bring out the ‘Great’ in Great Britain.

So why not?

Contributed by Benjamin Vicary