Once upon a time, a Chancellor of England, Sir Thomas More, had his head hacked from his body as a consequence of his failure to swear loyalty to his king. In the dramatised version of his life, ‘A Man for all Seasons’ the following exchange with his son-in-law Will Roper (the man who sold him to the King’s spies) was reported:
Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.
This argument came to mind when a column in the FT (It won’t be nice liberal Boris Johnson, By James Blitz, December 16, 2019) ended with these words:
“These are early days. But people should give up on the idea that Mr Johnson is going to be a nice moderate Harold Macmillan dressed up like Donald Trump.”
Oh dear; could it be that Dominic Cummings is determined to revenge himself on the BBC, the Supreme Court, Parliament, foreigners and all liberals as starters, before he moves onto his main course – us?