As the last of the summer slips rapidly away, and the nation prepares for its return to chilly reality in the autumn, the old persistent problems of politics begin to loom larger.
Among the most worrying of these is the determination among some MPs to kick Boris Johnson when he is down.
The House of Commons Privileges Committee still grinds on with its futile inquiry into the Prime Minister’s lockdown misdeeds, a kangaroo court which could conceivably end by forcing him to undergo a by-election.
Powerful arguments are emerging against this course of action, as The Mail on Sunday reports today. The Premier’s supporters reckon with some justice that the procedure amounts to an attempt at impeachment. They have assembled a formidable case in his defence.
Most voters will be shocked to learn that Mr Johnson will face evidence from anonymous witnesses, and will not be able to cross-examine them.
The old persistent problems of politics begin to loom larger. Among the most worrying of these is the determination among some MPs to kick Boris Johnson (pictured on August 12) when he is down
This treatment, and in fact the whole process, will do nothing but harm to Parliament in future, through unintended but foreseeable consequences.
The Committee’s desire to pursue Boris Johnson for misleading the House is impeachment in all but name. It is an extraordinary use of parliamentary power against an individual who has already been compelled to resign his office.
We have to wonder what good this sort of behaviour does. If simple resignation is followed by unending pursuit, why should those affected resign? They might well be tempted to hang on to the bitter end.
The inquisition could also have a disastrous effect on all future Parliamentary proceedings. It is, in reality, virtually impossible for Government Ministers to answer oral questions on the spot without sometimes risking an error or an inaccuracy. For centuries, this has been understood and allowances have been made.
But if the distinction between intentionally and inadvertently misleading the House is dispensed with, how can oral questions continue as before? Nobody will be safe. If they are wise, Ministers will cease to be helpful and will stonewall such questions with bureaucratic non- answers. Who will gain from that?
Friends of Mr Johnson have described these procedures as ‘Kafkaesque’, and they are right. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the expression as meaning ‘nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority’.
It is also striking that the recently knighted Sir Tony Blair faced no such investigation even though he took this country into a catastrophic war, surely a far more serious matter.
In fact it is difficult to think of a former Premier, however troubled, who has faced anything of the kind.
Boris Johnson has never stood before the nation as any sort of saint. Nor is he one.
But there is something peculiar and worrying about the vindictiveness directed against him.
Foreign wars, even very important ones, have a way of fading into the background. We cannot hear the screams or smell the acrid smoke.
Warfare, despite its cruel and nasty nature, is repetitive, and the human mind sickens of its details.
So there is a danger, after six months of hard pounding, that Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine is losing its power to shock and anger us.
Our concern for the people of Ukraine should continue as strong as ever. And we should be wary of Continental efforts to humanise the aggressor, Vladimir Putin (pictured on August 19)
We must not let this happen. Our concern for the people of Ukraine should continue as strong as ever. And we should be wary of Continental efforts to humanise the aggressor, Vladimir Putin.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has already been led down the garden path by the Kremlin, just before the invasion.
Now this popinjay has renewed contact with Mr Putin, supposedly trying to avert an urgent nuclear threat at the Zaporizhzhia power station.
He may have good intentions but should ask himself who is using whom in this exchange.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group