Another strange week

Donald Trump invokes in me a heady cocktail of emotions. On the positive side he creates a strong sense of amusement; I find it hilarious that so many people in the US take this orange faced clown so seriously; I find it hilarious that he takes himself so seriously! Saying this also makes me sad. In all seriousness, this man has mental health issues for which he does not appear to be getting any support. A year or so ago I listened to a programme on Radio 4 in which a panel of psychologists analysed his behaviour. Their verdict? Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you look up the symptoms you will see that they fit him to a tee. Knowing this really helps to explain his behaviour, not least because he really does believe what he says: He must have won the election because he knows that most of the electorate admire him so much that they just would not have voted for Biden, so any result that appears to show the opposite must be fraudulent.

However, this sadness quickly gives way to anger when I realise just how much harm can occur when such a dangerous person is allowed to be in a position of so much power. I only hope than he leaves the White House quietly and that all his equally mad conspiracy believing, gun loving supporters do not try to interfere with the transition of power. If they do things could get really nasty. I have a growing fear that they will, and I really do not want to imagine what would happen if they did.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, things are not going too well for our ‘clown-in-charge’. We quickly seem to be entering that all too common state of British politics when the incumbent Prime Minister is just incapable of doing anything right; when everything they decide or announce falls apart as rapidly as changes in the weather. The decision to place 97% of England into either tier 2 or 3 has invoked the anger of some 70 Conservative MPs to such an extent that he may be forced to modify his proposals in order to get them approved by Parliament. And this was hot on the heels of him deciding to support the Home Secretary despite the widespread accusations of her bullying and the resignation of the top civil servant in charge of monitoring the ministers code of practice.

The problem that I have commenting on any of the government’s Covid decisions is that I am not an epidemiologist. In all honesty I am unable to say what I think the correct course of action should be, I simply do not know. But whatever the PM’s thinking is, he seems to be totally incapable of selling it, or even explaining it, to the vast majority of us. Put simply, he seems incapable of displaying leadership. This may seem to many like a bit of an old fashioned character trait, but I think the art of leadership is much undervalued. There will always be, there should always be, a multitude of opinions on any given situation, but in order for there to be effective action someone, the ‘person in charge’, needs to be able to evaluate them all, decide on a course of action, and then explain that course of action to everyone such that even if they disagree they are prepared to go along with it. However much the PM may aspire to be a second Churchill, he simply does not have these skills.

Having said all that, I warmly welcomed one element of the PM’s announcement on the new tier structure – that gyms and leisure centres would reopen, even in tier 3 areas. I would like to think that this was in part due to my lobbying of our MP the previous week, but I somehow doubt it. Nonetheless, I am pleased. I am pleased on behalf of Bridport Leisure Centre, a much needed community resource that we just can not afford to lose. I am pleased on behalf of all those people across the country that rely on gyms and leisure centres for their exercise. But, to be honest, I am most pleased for myself. I simply get so much out of my daily trips to the gym that daily life is just not the same without them.

Another highlight of the last week was the monthly (virtual) meeting the Bridport Philosophy in Pubs group. This months topic, ‘Faith outside of religion’, attracted a good ‘turnout’ for a virtual meeting, but it’s really no substitute for the real thing. I am so looking forward to us being able to meet in person again, and in an actual pub! I know that I’ve said this many times before, but I really do value the ability of ordinary members of the community to meet up and discuss a serious subject in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and in a spirit of genuine enquiry. It’s an ability that I think many politicians could do with acquiring, and I think it a skill that should be taught in our schools.

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