The Churchill comparison is oft made. But a more apt parallel is the famous – indeed, infamous – Henry VIII. A giant among Kings, and an iconic figure even today, over 400 years since his glorious reign, Henry could teach Boris Johnson a few good lessons in statecraft.
Every schoolboy knows that Henry had six wives. Johnson, to date, has only had two, but it is the ruthless manner of those terminations that holds the lesson. The first marriage ended in divorce, but not before Henry moved Heaven and Earth – quite literally – to make it happen. Breaking from Rome presaged the modern breaking from Europe, but second time around Henry acted far more swiftly. Imagine how much smoother Johnson’s path would have been had he been permitted to execute Jennifer Arcuri.
It was not just inconvenient wives that Henry executed. Political opponents were also disposed of in this swift and effective manner. One is left to speculate whether, in more enlightened times, Johnson could have disposed of Keir Starmer, in the same manner as the turbulent priest, Cardinal Wolsey. Perhaps this would have managed to quell the endless mutterings about alleged incompetence and corruption.
On which, Johnson could learn a thing or two about financial management from Henry. Henry managed to bankrupt the country at least twice. Johnson, although obviously doing his best, has neither drained the treasury nor provoked war with France. These must remain as key objectives for his second term in office.
Scotland is another key area for Johnson. Henry endured mutinous rumblings from north of the border, but established control through battle. Nobody would suggest that a war with the treacherous Scottish Independence mob and their de facto leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is desirable. But the Jocks must not be allowed to dictate matters. Ultimately, leadership is all about taking decisive action. Sturgeon must be dealt with harshly, as one would with a filly who has taken ideas above her station. A period of rough wooing may be necessary.
And yet, Henry had achieved all this at a younger age than Johnson. Hurry up, Boris!