MPs need dis­ci­pline, not bla­tant am­bi­tion and bad man­ners

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

THE de­par­ture of Trans­port Min­is­ter Jo John­son is hardly one of the great prin­ci­pled res­ig­na­tions of his­tory. It is hard to see what cause it serves, ex­cept Jeremy Cor­byn’s.

While the Prime Min­is­ter was rightly pre­oc­cu­pied with mark­ing the centenary of the end of the First World War, solemnly lay­ing wreaths at the graves of the dead, Mr John­son chose to hurt her and dam­age her author­ity.

Ig­nor­ing the tra­di­tional cour­te­sies, he gave no warn­ing and sent no let­ter, sim­ply re­leas­ing the news on Twit­ter at a mo­ment de­signed to gain the max­i­mum pub­lic­ity and do the max­i­mum dam­age to Mrs May.

It is hard to see how his ac­tion will in any way help Bri­tain get a bet­ter Brexit deal.

He claims that the coun­try is now in the worst cri­sis since Suez, but in fact the Suez dis­as­ter was not brought about by the pol­icy of care­ful, in­tri­cate com­pro­mise pur­sued by Mrs May, but by rash ac­tion, taken against the ad­vice of many at home and abroad. Jo John­son’s call for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum is it­self rash, as it would serve no pur­pose ex­cept to deepen the divi­sions in the coun­try and post­pone a res­o­lu­tion of them.

Mr John­son has been blessed from the start by the favour of his party, which se­lected him for one of the safest seats in the coun­try and swiftly re­warded him with min­is­te­rial of­fice.

He chose to re­main in the Govern­ment af­ter the ref­er­en­dum and af­ter Mrs May be­came Premier.

He must have known, when he ac­cepted th­ese priv­i­leges, that this would in­volve him in awk­ward com­pro­mise. Why break away now?

Manyothers have man­aged to sti­fle doubts and mute their finer feel­ings, in the knowl­edge that the coun­try will suf­fer if they do not.

We are very close to the fi­nal stages of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ev­ery­one in­volved is go­ing to have to swal­low some doubts, ac­cept terms he or she dis­likes and aban­don cher­ished aims. That is what pol­i­tics and diplo­macy have al­ways in­volved.

But the good of the na­tion re­quires dis­ci­pline and calm, not ram­pant am­bi­tion, bad man­ners and ex­ag­ger­ated lan­guage.

Hon­our the dead, re­spect the liv­ing

ON THIS day we com­mem­o­rate courage and self-sac­ri­fice.

De­spite the over-use of the word ‘heroes’, th­ese great mil­i­tary virtues were in truth dis­played by thou­sands of or­di­nary men and women who of­ten felt deep fear and hoped with all their hearts to sur­vive the wars in which their lives were lost.

And yet, de­spite the ter­ror of bom­bard­ment and ma­chine gun fire, de­spite the in­ces­sant dan­ger, the cruel sepa­ra­tion from home and loved ones, de­spite the hardship and squalor of the trenches, they did their duty, not just once, but again and again.

And it is in our dis­ci­plined Armed Forces that th­ese tra­di­tions of courage are main­tained, nur­tured and kept alive for the next gen­er­a­tion.

We never know when we will need them again. On this day of sad songs and mourn­ing, min­gled with gratitude and pride that our fore­bears saved us from the mis­eries of de­feat and con­quest, it is fit­ting to think of those forces.

And it is fit­ting to re­solve that we should do more to ob­serve the pact be­tween mil­i­tary, peo­ple and govern­ment, which de­mands that we en­sure that com­bat­ants are prop­erly cared for when they are in­jured in body and mind, that they are prop­erly armed and equipped for the tasks that they face, and that their loy­alty is re­warded and re­spected for their whole lives.

To­day’s lead­ers, as they lay their wreaths, need to think very hard about th­ese obli­ga­tions.

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