Opinion

Incompetent Captain Johnson is steering the British state to disaster – but there is no one capable to take the leadership

24 Dec 2021 3 minutes Read
Boris Johnson. Picture by British Embassy Belgrade (CC BY 2.0).

Cynog Dafis, former Plaid Cymru AM and MP for Ceredigion

Elderly observers of the current catastrophic state of the UK Government may recall Herman Wouk’s prize-winning second world war novel The Caine Mutiny (1951) and the subsequent film in which Humphrey Bogart starred as the hapless Captain Queeg.

Queeg is given the command of the Caine, a clapped-out destroyer turned minesweeper with a crew of roughnecks, despite his lack of experience in running such a ship and his record of repeatedly failing to acknowledge his frequent mistakes.

The Caine having put to sea, Queeg’s subordinate officers become increasingly uneasy at the poor quality of his leadership, to the point of considering his removal. The duplicitous Lieutenant Keefer however, while recognising Queeg’s dangerous incompetence, has cold feet and withdraws his support for such a move.

When the Caine finds itself at the heart of Typhoon Cobra, Queeg is utterly incapable of taking the decisions necessary to save the ship. In extremis therefore a Lieutenant Maryk, supported by some junior officers, displaces Queeg, takes charge of the Caine, turns its head into the wind and saves the situation.

In the subsequent trial of Maryk for mutiny, Queeg is exposed as the arrogant incompetent that he is and Maryk is exonerated. Keefer is regarded with contempt by his fellow officers.

The parallels hardly need spelling out. The clapped-out former destroyer is the British state. Boris Johnson is elected to lead it for all the worst reasons, having twice failed to turn up for the interviews. He refuses to acknowledge his errors (a poor trade deal with the EU and an unsustainable Northern Ireland protocol are just two examples). When typhoon pandemic arrives he is incapable of decisive leadership.

Unfortunately, this is where the parallels break down. True, a lage part of the crew are insubordinates but the officer class is full of Keefers and there is no honourable and courageous Lieutenant Maryk to do his duty, remove the incapable captain and assume the leadership.

While our British Caine has not actually sunk in the typhoon it is headed for the breakers’ yard where it belongs.

In this miserable situation what we can look forward to is the equivalent of the trial. Johnson-Queeg will blame everyone else for what went wrong but the court of history will find him guilty of gross negligence and conclude that he was entirely unfit for leadership from the outset.

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Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

“One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.”

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
1 month ago

Bonking Bozo is determined to drive Wales onto the rocks by his despicable lies, duplicity, corruption and sheer incompetence. It’s high time that we voted to boot the tory enemy out and save us from the Brexit Disaster Scam – Independence for the caring, responsible, economically strong Welsh Nation, working together with our European colleagues to create a greater prosperity.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Over half a million people in Wales voted for this. Unbelievable, innit?

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

And we must remember that Kerry.

These include our friends, workmates, fsmily members and those who stand next to us at the school gate.

They are not bafoons, stupid or enemies of Wales – or all incomers from England !

We must respect their reasons and engage, inform and involve them
in being part of the journey our nation is on….and the benefits that await our children and grandchildren.

Mewn undeb mae nerth – our country has a tolerant, inclusive and careing history and minds can be changed.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

I don’t blame Johnson personally, but Brexiteers and the Tory party totally.

****** Come out fighting for Yes Cymru and Independence in 2022! ******

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

I am waiting for the dream team: Liz Truss and Chris Grayling.

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
1 month ago

I was going to raise you Truss and Raab, but thinking about it you may be right.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

The really sad thing is that all of his faults were known about before he even became Prime Minister.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Public enemy no 1, what price on his head ?

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