My friend Simon Garrett was quick to point out that he means bathos.
Johnson, “a revered classicist”, would have corrected him immediately. Pathos, from the Greek for suffering, is a quality which evokes pity; bathos, from the Greek for depth, is a descent from the sublime to the ridiculous.
My point is not that of a pedant. It is that of a political activist.
What Peston was reporting and what his words reinforced is a new narrative which is emanating from this government.
According to this narrative and these sources, Johnson is a hard-working prime minister who is working day and night to fight this virus. He should be supported all the way by a responsible opposition in an informal parliament of national unity. Instead, Starmer is constantly carping, cavilling and criticizing. He is undermining the heroic struggle of Johnson and Cummins and thus the national effort to overcome Covid in the UK.
The ebullient Churchillian prime minister is gone. He’s a victim. We should feel sorry for him.
I don’t. But nor will you hear from me stuff about him lying in a bed of his own making, although he is.
The problem is that the whole country is in the same bed that was (un)made by Johnson and Cummins. We are all in this together.
Unless you are Johnson and Cummins. Unless you are one of their cronies. Unless you are Serco or a Russian oligarch or Green or Dyson.
Of course, Starmer has barely been critical at all. All these shenanigans rate hardly a mention in his speeches or questioning. A new leadership would appear to be no leadership at all. There are no policies being announced. There are no debates or discussions within the party. In fact, the party is not allowed to discuss anything of any import.
I acknowledge that Starmer is smarter than Johnson. (I have only just realized this is an anagram.) But right now, and despite protestations on both sides to the contrary, the differences are minor if they exist at all.
“Strange all this Difference should be
‘Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!”
Today from the everysmith vaults: I gave up both whiskey and whisky more than thirty years ago and have eschewed them ever since. But that hasn't stopped me listening (on my smart toaster) to the new Theme Time Radio Hour from Bob Dylan. Two hours of banter and music about whiskey/whisky.