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The Milwaukee Protocol was lined up for this week’s article; a medical protocol more interesting than it sounds.

But there is so much going on in the world that I have to shelve it until next week, or the week after … Mind you, it’ll give the readers – if there are any – time to swot up on that extraordinary leap into the darkness, taken by American doctors nearly two decades ago. The United Kingdom (UK) joined the headlines this week. It’s a group of four countries brought together over time and now rather more individually nationalist than gloriously united. But no one is likely to get too nasty about it. And for one simple reason – a mature democracy will work because its participants have learned how to compete peacefully and, where necessary, consult the people.


Democracy holds the high moral ground in world politics, but where you have any regime that, in essence, is diametrically opposite to democracy, you must take any transition a step at a time. A switch overnight simply does not work. And on the way, where there is trouble, dialogue is always going to be the most productive route to resolution. The mantra of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was ‘while you’re talking you can’t be fighting’; it worked. Dialogue should produce a roadmap, with implementation capturing popular support as progress is made. And no mercy shown to those who go around killing people.

The UK political situation is especially interesting because it is showing democracy at work. You might ask how, in any stable democracy, can you have someone like Boris Johnson, outgoing Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Conservative Party, winning a landslide victory in the national election three years ago yet now shown the door in no uncertain manner? Sounds like a mess. Did the political system get it all wrong? No, it’s democracy at work. Johnson made mistakes, behaving carelessly and lacking sharpness in political strategy. And he was held accountable for it. There is now a fight for the leadership – no punches, no threats – and you have a remarkable diversity among the contestants. Four out of 11 are the offspring of parents who came to the UK as immigrants. The favourite is a British man of an Indian family. That is interesting and encouraging for greater ethnic integration in the future. But more importantly, the leader will be chosen for proven integrity, not just for being a fast talker.


Having said that, possessing a degree of integrity doesn’t necessarily mean they also possess a degree in any relevant subject (lol). Most sound rather lightweight in the area of economics. The essence of peace and prosperity in a country is stable politics, solid economic growth and jobs for nearly everyone. Most of the leadership contenders have shot themselves in the foot by promising to cut taxes. They appear – accidentally or deliberately – to be ignoring the challenged social welfare system of the UK being operationally dependent on national tax revenue. You cut the taxes and you cut the quality.

In the end, of course, the contenders are politicians. That’s how they’re behaving. A cut in the level of taxes is music to the ears of every voter in the country. Although leadership of the Conservative party, the very next prime minister, is ultimately decided by party members across the UK – only a tiny proportion of the national electorate – nevertheless, these contestants know that tax cuts will make their party popular ahead of the next national elections, theoretically in two years’ time.

Let us, in the meantime, reflect on the highly unsuitable duo of Johnson and former American President Donald Trump. They reached the very top while both carried a huge contradiction to their premierships, having come from extremely privileged circumstances yet able to impress an electorate, most with very little in the bank. Trump inherited a multi, multi-million property empire in the United States, while Johnson, a member of a high income family, attended Eton College, the most elite high school in the UK, where you are educated alongside the sons of business magnates and landed gentry. When you leave Eton you believe you are destined for greatness. David Cameron also attended Eton, and until Harold Wilson burst the dynasty in 1964, pretty well every previous UK prime minister was an old Etonian, or occasionally from the nearby, and similarly elite, Harrow.

But both Trump and Johnson, the latter more intelligent and educated, had what is called the ‘common touch’. People liked them despite their elite status, questionable standards and glowing vanity. The Boris hairstyle gave the impression of an enduring nostalgia for when his Eton school-mates perhaps dragged him through a nearby hedge. Those two men were able to climb to the top of two of the great democracies of the world. Frankly it was an anomaly, but democracy came to the rescue by their being shown the EXIT door before too much damage was done.

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