Leader comment: Boris is the new Ole Gunnar Solksjaer

THERE is a phenomenon in football management which sees fans clamour for the direct opposite of their current situation after a poor season. Charismatic foreign managers with wild hair are replaced with safe steady club legends with tight crops. Defensive-minded bosses are thrown out to be substituted for attack-minded equivalents. It’s the Mourinho for Solksjaer strategy. As if grabbing the polar opposite is the elixir.

And so also it seems in politics.

After safe, steady and awkward Theresa May failed to deliver promotion from the European League, so Tory MPs are trusting that the charming and eccentric Boris Johnson is the answer.

As with football there is little discussion about tactics, formations and structures. Instead, changing the top man or woman will solve all.

This is politics by panacea.


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Indeed it’s almost as though an intellectual paralysis has enveloped Conservative MPs, leaving them blind to the realities of their situation. Professionalism and competence are being ignored.

Few are asking the obvious question – “But Boris, how will you deliver Brexit by 31 October?”

“Are you going to persuade a majority of MPs to endorse May’s negotiated EU withdrawal agreement?” Doubtful.

“Are you going to persuade the EU to re-open the deal?” Doubtful.


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Do you have the skills, character and respect of Europe to change the game? Also doubtful.

It’s the strategy of fans who shout for the youngster to be thrown on in a big match because if you haven’t see them they could be brilliant – and a wee gamble’s always good, right? In this case it’s ‘throw the older guy back into the big cup final’ because he hasn’t played for a while and few of us remember how bad he was a couple of seasons back.

The reality is that a No Deal would be catastrophic for Scotland and the UK and there’s isn’t enough time between now and 31 October to put adequate preparations in place. Businesses are reluctant to spend on No Deal contingencies after the last false start. The window is too short for industry, legislation, customs and the civil service.

Johnson is bluffing as he did during the Brexit campaign itself. And yet again, people are falling for it.