By Paul A. Nuttall, a historian, author and a former politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019 and was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.
Now I would never begrudge anyone a nice holiday, especially after the past 18 months, but should the PM really be sunning himself in Marbella on the Costa del Sol when the country could be on the brink of another ‘winter of discontent’?
There can be no doubt that the UK is in crisis at the moment. Energy bills could rise by as much as £800 next year, there are fuel shortages, crackpot climate change protests, a migrant crisis in the Channel, empty supermarket shelves, and now a shortage of toilet rolls.
However, in the midst of all this, the PM thinks that it’s acceptable to have a holiday. As a historian, I was reminded of a former PM who was photographed on a beach at a time when the country was falling apart, and whose reputation never recovered.
The PM I am referring to is James Callaghan, who led the UK between 1976 and 1979. In January 1979, when the country was mired by an economic and industrial crisis, Callaghan was photographed on a beach in Barbados.
Whilst Callaghan was on the beach, rubbish was piled high in Central London, gravediggers refused to bury the dead in Liverpool, NHS workers were on strike, and so were road hauliers, ensuring that supermarket shelves were bare… which is reminiscent of today.
The winter of 1978-79 was so bad that it has become known in history as the ‘winter of discontent’. Moreover, Callaghan’s political reputation was wrecked, and he was dubbed ‘Sunny Jim’ because of the Barbados jaunt.
The ‘winter of discontent’ eventually led to the fall of Callaghan’s Labour government and the election of Margaret Thatcher. Indeed, it could be argued that Callaghan’s ill-judged photos and the controversy they caused opened the door to the 18 years of Tory rule between 1979 and 1997.
Now I know Boris Johnson is a scholar of political history – he has written a biography of Winston Churchill – so I can’t understand why he would put himself in a situation similar to Callaghan in 1979. Are he and his wife so desperate to get away for a week that they are prepared to make themselves look so out of touch?
The PM’s cabinet colleagues are, unsurprisingly,. Brinkwire Summary News. For more information, search on the internet.