ENTERTAINMENT

STEPHEN GLOVER: Why I fear Boris Johnson's silence about the exam fiasco will lead to arrogance in incompetence


Where is boris We are told that he is camping in Scotland with his fiancée Carrie Symonds and young son Wilfred. It's hard to imagine him hitting tent pegs or leaning over a flickering Primus stove.

Perhaps he's not actually camping and being bitten to death by mosquitoes, but instead is sheltering at a friend's house on a pleasant Scottish estate.

Either way, he needs to be aware that the government is embroiled in another crisis thanks to incompetent and unconventional Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

I know Prime Ministers deserve their vacations like everyone else, but it surely isn't too much to ask if Mr Johnson could have a moment to say how sorry he is that the lives of thousands of school children have been spoiled , and to assure them that he will do his best to make sure the mess is resolved.

Boris Johnson is pictured here at the VJ Day National Remembrance Event in Staffordshire on August 15th

A quick interview with the BBC would be enough. A few words to show that he regrets the fear of the students and their parents.

Confirmation that despite all the signs of chaos, this flawed government is on the move.

But all we get are proposals which, just as Mr Williamson has absolutely no intention of resigning for presiding over one of the biggest political problems in recent years, the Prime Minister has no plans to dismiss him.

Why not? It is not true, as some have suggested, that the Education Secretary was dealt an unplayable hand of cards when No. 10 decided schools would have to close due to Covid-19 and therefore exams could not be held this summer.

Granted, every result would always not be perfect.

But Mr Williamson has taken the worst of it, ignoring warnings from the Commons Education Select Committee last month that the disadvantaged could be punished by an algorithm that overrides teachers' grades.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been asked to resign over the government's treatment of this year's A-level results

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been asked to resign over the government's treatment of this year's A-level results

He failed to ask Ofqual – the quango he is ultimately responsible for – about the flawed algorithm he was developing.

In fact, his allies claim it was only revealed to him for the first time eight days ago.

Even after the Scottish government abandoned a similar system in favor of teachers' grades, Williamson kept plowing anyway.

Only an uprising by students and numerous Tory MPs eventually forced him to change his mind on Monday.

He was right, but much damage had been done. Universities that turned away students with insufficient grades are now besieged by the same students whose results have been graded.

Less high-profile institutions are wondering how they will fill their places. Today's GCSE results are likely to cause further turmoil.

Mr Williamson says he is "incredibly sorry for the hardship" that has been caused, but he has not apologized for causing it.

His sadness is that of a man who sees a city destroyed by a tornado. He's sorry, but it's not his fault. If there is any fault with the division, let it be Ofqual.

Sally Collier is Ofqual & # 39; s Chief Regulatory and Chief Executive

Roger Taylor is the chairman of Ofqual

Sally Collier (left) is Ofqual & # 39; s Chief Regulatory and Chief Executive. Roger Taylor (right) is the chairman of Ofqual

But it's his fault! He is a hopeless minister who, after a previous shame, got a cabinet job for his machinations helping Mr Johnson secure the Tory leadership.

Worse than ineptitude – for there are more serious mistakes in life than sheer stupidity – is his shameless handing over of money and dishonorable evasion of responsibility.

The puzzle is why the Prime Minister would let him get away with it. It's possible, of course, that he won't.

Shrouded in Scottish mists and trying to keep Wilfred amused, he may not be aware of the extent of the damage Mr Williamson has done to the government.

More likely, he really believes that no great damage has been done. He probably believes this is yet more media hype – he's seen his fair share over the years as a newspaper columnist – that will soon pass.

There has been a pattern of recklessness since he became Prime Minister. Possibly influenced by his journalistically despicable chief advisor and effective deputy Dominic Cummings, he does not want to hear from the media what to do.

Dominic Cummings is Boris Johnson's Special Advisor. Here he is pictured outside 10 Downing Street last week

Dominic Cummings is Boris Johnson's Special Advisor. Here he is pictured outside 10 Downing Street last week

During last February's severe flooding, he remained holed up in Chevening's official country house (Checkers was being repaired), ignoring newspaper warnings to show his face, even though he eventually swung a mop.

In a way, this determination not to be pushed around by journalists is admirable. It conveys the desire to be one's own man.

But what if the media reflects public opinion? Then it becomes dangerous to close your ears.

We might argue over whether housing secretary Robert Jenrick should have resigned after it was revealed in June that he had changed the planning rules in favor of a billionaire real estate developer who was a Tory Party donor.

The rather haughty-looking guy didn't leave, but there was a hint of rot in the air.

More outrageous, in my opinion, were the various violations of Mr Cummings during the lockdown, which Mr Johnson did not take seriously at first before bizarrely turning the Rose Garden on Downing Street over to his advisor to make an unconvincing case. Whatever he'd done, he couldn't be sacrificed.

The Prime Minister's political enemies made a fuss on both occasions, as was to be expected.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick faced calls for resignation earlier this year after it was revealed in June that he had changed planning rules in favor of a billionaire real estate developer who was a Tory Party donor

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick faced calls for resignation earlier this year after it was revealed in June that he had changed planning rules in favor of a billionaire real estate developer who was a Tory Party donor

The increasing unrest of many on his side was remarkable.

This also applies to Mr. Williamson. Many Tory MPs and normally sympathetic newspapers are appalled.

Yet Mr Johnson does not seem to care – or more precisely, he appears, while removing concerns, to not share the values ​​of many on his own side.

Obvious arrogance increases Mr. Williamson's incompetence. It's like the Prime Minister believes that there is no political shame that is impossible to ever recover from.

I suggest that he is too influenced by his own experiences here. In his personal life, he has suffered countless public humiliations when his infidelity was exposed.

People couldn't help but smile when he was thrown from the family home twice by his then-wife.

Other politicians would never survive such absurdities, but Boris always has. He's so brilliant at soaking up embarrassment and encouraging people to laugh at his field trips before he usually forgives him.

What is true of Boris Johnson, however, does not apply to other politicians, and certainly not to governments.

Now that he's prime minister, he probably won't be spoiled anymore. At the forefront of politics, bad and reckless actions have consequences and cannot be magically wiped off.

Of course, if Mr. Johnson spares Mr. Williamson, as he seems to do, life will go on, and soon many of us will have forgotten the particular sayings of the Education Secretary. But a residue will have been left behind.

This scandal will merge with the accumulating evidence of reckless and inappropriate behavior.

It was not long before the government could be publicly defined as arrogant and unresponsive, as John Major's government gained an irrevocable reputation for division and incompetence between 1992 and 1997.

Such a result is of course not inevitable. Boris Johnson can still show us that he doesn't believe that he and his friends are occupying a privileged moral universe.

An excellent start would be to get rid of the abysmal Gavin Williamson.

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