Friday, 11 October 2019

Where can we find the kryptonite?

As a child, I used to enjoy reading DC comics with their array of superheroes, each of whom had his or her own unique superpower.  Superman was the first and I always thought the best.  Who wouldn’t want to be able to fly as well as having super strength and being generally invulnerable?  I doubt that the PM would have read such comics.  I could be wrong, but they don’t strike me as typical Eton fare and, as far as I’m aware, they aren’t available in an ancient Greek or Latin version.  On the other hand, when you have a whole pantheon of Greek gods to choose from, each with their own special abilities, who needs to burden their minds by reading about more modern superheroes?
In the real world, superpowers are much more mundane.  Boris Johnson’s seems to be a remarkable ability to look people directly in the eye, tell them the most outrageous lies, and be believed.  And then repeat the same trick, with the same people, time and again – even after they’ve discovered that all his previous statements were lies.  It’s quite a party trick.  In the last couple of weeks, he’s pulled the same trick on members of his own party, the DUP and the Irish Taoiseach. In an absolute triumph for hope and optimism over experience, they’ve all said that they believe him when he says he can produce a deal which will satisfy everybody, if they’ll just leave him in power for long enough to do the opposite.
In the comics, there was always a limit on a superpower.  It would have been boring if there was never any possible means by which the superhero could be vanquished.  In Superman’s case, it was kryptonite, which came in a complete spectrum of different colours, all of them having different effects either on our hero or else on other key characters in the plot. It was an update on the more classic concept of an Achilles’ Heel, something which would probably be more familiar to the PM.  The questions to which all those of us wishing to put an end to the Greek tragedy playing out before us need an urgent answer are what does ‘Johnsonite’ look like, and where do we get some?

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