Crime and punishment

In a piece in the Guardian yesterday, Vernon Bogdanor reflected on how history may judge Johnson’s period in office, recalling Churchill’s remark that “history would be kind to him since he would be writing it”, and suggesting that

Johnson, an admirer of Churchill, may feel the same, and will no doubt seek to polish his record. He should be allowed to do so, free of the vindictiveness and self-righteousness which so often disfigures the liberal left. Loss of the premiership is punishment enough.

There are three problems with this.

The first is that however much you polish a turd, it is still a turd.

Second, it will never be a case of ‘allowing’ Johnson to polish his record. He’s never felt that he has needed anyone’s permission for anything. And so he is already hard at work. You only had to listen to his farewell speech this morning.

And last, why should loss of the premiership be punishment enough? Johnson is a conman – entitled, slippery with truth and facts, a rule breaker, and above all indulged: by his family, his friends, his party, the media, the public. As Bogdanor notes, the central weakness of his administration was Johnson’s belief that “rules are for others, not for him.”

The failure effectively to call him out has got us to where we are – we should not be precious about holding him to account.

Potted up

Sunday afternoon in the garden, after a quick trip to find some suitable pots. I bought John Innes No2 and perlite as well – quite unnecessary as they were lurking in the potting shed . . .

Don’t do it (part 2)

A blistering piece in the FT this morning by Cat Rutter Pooley (paywalled) – City lawyers cannot hide behind the law over Russian clients – on the dilemma for law firms.

And a very clear message that this should not be a dilemma,

But mealy-mouthed statements should not be allowed to provide cover for a lack of real action. Firms do not need to shout about dropping Russian clients. It nonetheless needs to be clear that they will not carry on as they were before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Lawyers always profit in bad times. You’d be naive to think otherwise.

Nonetheless, how they do it is what really matters. And how we will judge them.