June 16, 2020
Author: Ralph Berry
‘This open and apparent shame’ is the charge Hal brings upon Falstaff. Falstaff has often been likened to Boris Johnson—both in girth and lifestyle—who is now in dock for a grave offence. He has allowed the Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to board up the Whitehall statue of Winston Churchill, together with the Cenotaph. The world gapes upon this spectacle: Churchill, the hero of the 20th century, shrouded to keep him safe from the attentions of a British mob! Was it not possible to station a couple of police before these monuments to the nation? No, because of supposedly health & safety considerations. The police might be in danger from the mob, as indeed they were. These considerations were paramount, and Churchill is now invisible. No visitor to London will see him this summer. Did nobody take a photo of the act of vandalism? Again, no. I had thought that a thousand cameras would leap from their cases to record this event. Those same cameras were trained upon the protesting crowds in central London. We can be sure that no infraction of civil liberties would have passed unnoticed. Only Churchill, the saviour of the nation in 1940, was ignored, together with the memorial to the nation’s dead. We do not know when the boarding of his statue and the Cenotaph will be taken up, if at all, and the decision will be left to the Mayor. Sadiq Khan is said to have ‘lost control of London’; on the contrary, he has asserted control. The Left mob has scored a massive propaganda triumph.
The most misconceived, wrong-headed, and frankly dumb comment came from Boris Johnson. He was reported in the Telegraph as saying that the commission he was setting up on race and equalities would guide us to solutions. This, he claimed, was substance, far more important than ‘symbols’. He appears not to understand that symbols have an ever-widening importance in today’s world, since their visual impact has immediate global prominence. And he will override the symbolic importance of Britain’s shuttered-up past!
The storm clouds are gathering over Britain. Boris Johnson will surely pay for his moral cowardice and inept response to the corovid challenge. To me he is looking more and more a re-creation of Alexander Kerensky, the socialist-liberal leader of the Duma who lost to the Bolsheviks. There may be an echo to come, for Kerensky made it out of Russia to America. He spent most of his time in Stanford University, bankrolled by the Hoover Institute. The way of a failed liberal is not always crowned with thorns.