Politics and sport – what else is there?

People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.
They went out and happened to things.

Seriously, is it so hard for politicians to act like normal human beings? Normal human beings with thoughts and feelings and empathy for others?

We’re onto our third Prime Minister in six months, all because the guy who started the year in the hot seat couldn’t understand why people might think badly of him for a) lying, b) seeming to condone the actions of a known-groper and c) lying about it again. This is the modern way. With the virulent beast that is social media, nothing is ever hidden for ever and everything can be discovered. If you promote someone, or reward them, you are assumed to be tacitly approving of pretty much everything they have done since they were knee high to a grasshopper. This is the modern way.

So, when our new Prime Minister gives a Cabinet post to someone about whom he knows there have been behavioural complaints, it says as much about his judgement as it does about the petulant behaviour of Sir Gavin Williamson. The former Defence Secretary/Education Secretary/Minister Without Portfolio has now resigned from a post that he probably shouldn’t have been in. To lose one Cabinet post is unfortunate, to lose two seems like carelessness, to lose three smacks of, well whom am I to bandy about the phrase ‘incompetent’…

What bothers me is that we spend so much time mithering about all this when there is so much more to be concerned about. The unseasonably warm weather means the heating hasn’t gone on yet, so that’s helping with the eye-watering gas prices, but it’s a mark of how far we still have to go – and a scarily short time to do it in – to combat the worst effects f climate change.  Mortgage rates have stabilised for now, inflation has stabilised for now, but we still have a cost-of-living crisis. We have a climate change crisis – the Just Stop Oil protestors are a damn nuisance, but their message has a point. And we still have an unjustified war in Ukraine, started by a man who has a power-complex and way too many people who are prepared to listen to him. Or scared to tell him no.

The BBC Panorama programme this week about the destruction of Mariupol is on BBC iPlayer (link here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001f0j7) and should be watched by everyone. It’s horrifying, it’s harrowing, it’s shocking – at least to anyone who doesn’t remember what happened to Aleppo. It’s reminder that there is a wider world out there that is more important than the argy-bargy of civil servants and Ministers.

I was told the other day that I seem to write about little other than politics and sport. So, having done the politics bit, cast your eye at this, finished by Abby Dow, but, actually, a real team effort. When the team works, it really works. And set your alarm for 6am on Saturday and settle down in front of ITV to watch the Red Roses take on the Black Ferns in the Rugby World Cup Final. It’s going to be an epic game.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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