There used to be a Public School word for people behaving like Boris Johnson, even if we discount for a moment – because he denies it – his alleged squeezing of the inner thighs of female journalists. The word is ‘cad’. I don’t think we’ve had quite so notoriously caddish a Prime Minister since Lloyd George; and he wasn’t Public School. Boris excuses his sexual predations on the grounds that he’s ‘got more spunk’ than most men. Ugh.
This obviously affects Boris’s trustworthiness. Whether it necessarily disqualifies him from the job he has now is a matter of opinion. It’s arguable that a bit of caddishness is acceptable – even an advantage – in politics. (I’m trying to remember if Machiavelli said anything about this.) And ‘innocent’ people do not always make the most successful leaders.
Maybe this generalisation will be tested soon; if and when the spunky Johnson comes a cropper, and holy Jeremy – his very antithesis – gets his turn.
Right – with the Donald. It’s one of the reasons I’m getting very pessimistic about our political prospects here in Britain. Although the polls you mention are all over the place.
Interesting that despite the manifest disunity of the party and misbehaviour of its leader, the Tories are miles ahead in the latest poll. For true believers, caddishness is not – as you concede – a drawback for many voters. It is a marker of the transgressiveness that right-leaning voters appear to crave in their great leader. Like truth, virtue has become identified with the left and is rejected as a consequence. We have seen this before of course.
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