2007 - 2022

Thank You Mr Johnson

Dear Mr Johnson,

Some people uplift humanity by offering a mirror of the greatest qualities of humankind. They inspire us to see our own potential by giving us someone to look up to. I don’t know that might be for you? Other people might inspire us in a different way, by showing us how not to be

Mr Johnson, I thank you for bravely offering this latter service to so many people around the world through your visibility as leader of one of wealthiest nations in the world. I realise it’s unfashionable on the left to offer any gratitude to you, but I’ve never been one for fashion.

There are those who would say the correct emotional response to your actions is anger. Indeed, a long-standing slogan of one of Britain’s radical left news services for twenty years (Schnews, 1994-2014) was “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” I’ve since discovered that this slogan is also popular among far right groups in various places, which leads me to wonder – is resentment revolutionary after all?

The poet-philosopher Nietzsche called resentment the moralising power of the weak. In other words, when we feel weak, when we don’t know our inner strength, we are likely to resent others or even resent life itself. It seems the obvious antidote to this is practices and programmes that empower people to see the tremendous qualities that we all have within us, just waiting to be nurtured. “Like seeds beneath the snow,” as the gentle anarchist Colin Ward described the possibility of a truly egalitarian society, great potential lies in every heart.

I’ve been very lucky, some might say privileged, to have had tremendous support to discover depths of strength within myself and it is very clear to me, Mr. Johnson, that you have not. I understand that ruling class indoctrination functions largely through bullying, abuse and a deep sense of insecurity which is wall-papered over through attempts to appear very grand indeed. 

Of course, this approach to education is more widespread than boarding schools and many of us have tried to hide our insecurities in all kinds of ways. And this is why I am writing to thank you. When I see your lack of integrity, it reminds me to attend carefully to my own. Like anyone, I can be tempted to do things in a half-hearted way or focus on myself above others. But when I see your performance on the world stage, it reminds me that integrity is essential. 


You help me remember to not let my fear of not having enough, of not being enough, get in the way of being kind, compassionate and attentive to those who might benefit from my support or simply my presence. I don’t say this because I think I’m special, but because the quality of presence itself is special. Really being present with someone or with something in a way that makes it clear that a person, a project, an emotion, time in nature – whatever it may be – really matters. That life really matters.

It is presence that is empowering. It is presence that helps us all see the beautiful qualities within ourselves, each other and the world. It is presence that is an antidote to resentment and the sense of powerlessness that drains so much energy from our lives, from our institutions, from our movements.

Mr Johnson, your actions invite each of us throughout the UK and around the world to step up and discover that within us all is the ability to live in a truly honourable way, with respect for all life. You invite us to be a good example to government because we are finished waiting for you to be a good example to us. 

You are doing a most excellent job of being a bad example and for that I am genuinely grateful. 

Yours sincerely,



Comments (13)

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  1. Ian Wight says:

    Very well said – grateful to yourself. Yes – integrity is essential.

  2. Tom Ultuous says:

    Well put Vishwam.

    From Gaurdian Australia

    “In May 2016, Australia held 1,193 people on Nauru at a cost of $45,347 a month per person – about $1,460 a day or $534,000 a year.

    By August 2021, the number of asylum seekers and refugees held on the island had fallen nearly tenfold, but the costs of running the offshore program remained broadly static. In that month, there were 107 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru at a cost to taxpayers of $464,486 a month for each person, or more than $15,000 a day.

    The average monthly cost in 2021 is $358,646 for every refugee and asylum seeker held on the island, equal to $4.3m per person each year, a Guardian Australia analysis of government figures provided to the Senate shows.”

    That equates to £2.4 million (up from £302,000 in 2016) per person per year.

    I’ve no idea what the Tories intend giving Rwanda per person but clearly what they’re hoping for is that it will stop refugees seeking asylum in the UK. Will it though? If the Rwandans treat them well then for many refugees it would still be preferable to being killed in their own country. So, what the Tories must be hoping for is that they’ll treat them badly but not that badly that the UK can’t airbrush the treatment. This is guaranteed to go horribly wrong eventually for the Tories but they’re desperate to hang on to their fascist voters long enough to let them complete their Britannia Unchained project.

    At first I was thinking they were outsourcing their “hostile environment”. Now I’m thinking it’s more like they’re outsourcing death camps.

    Were Scotland independent we could embarrass them by offering to give those refugees a good life for less than the Rwandan costs and use the money to fund a massive house building project.

    1. Judith Brennan says:

      What will happen to refugees whose application for asylum fails? Will they then be flown back to their point of departure, or left in Kigali? If the latter, aren’t they actually being sold to Rwanda – trafficked in other words?

      1. 220417 says:

        I expect that, if their asylum applications fail, they’ll be deported from Rwanda.

        However, Rwanda has an excellent record in providing asylum to people who are fleeing war and persecution. Of the 204 applications it received in 2020, it accepted 100%.

        It also welcomes migration. As of 2015, migrants comprised 5% of Rwanda’s permanent residents.

        Perhaps Tom Ultuous is right; perhaps an independent Scotland could undercut Rwanda in the international trade in asylum seekers to help grow its economy/signal its moral superiority over the English.

      2. Tom Ultuous says:

        I’ve no idea Judith. Trafficked sounds about right.

  3. 220416 says:

    Nietzsche didn’t call the moralising power of the weak, the genesis of morality itself, ‘resentment’; he called it ‘ressentiment’ (from the Latin ‘res sentire’ – matters of perception) For Nietzsche, the genesis of all morality isn’t envy or resentment; it lies rather in modes of social interaction (Marx’s ‘relations of production’) in which one perceives one’s self or identity as being assailed by others and to which ‘assault’ one reacts with active or passive hostility, depending on the position one occupies in the master-slave dialectic, in the matrix of power relations that prevail in the society into which one finds oneself thrown. Morality, in this scheme of things, is the passive hostility of the weak, their will to power. It’s from this ‘suffering’ of ressentiment, its wheel of eternal recurrence, his own life-denying ‘weakness’, that Nietzsche sought to liberate himself through his career als Übermensch.

    Anyway, from a Nietzschean perspective, moralising doesn’t do any good; indeed, it’s positively harmful. As an act of passive aggression, it leaves intact and is parasitic upon the modes of social interaction that leave us powerless. At best, it consoles us by giving us feelings of superiority over our transgressors, which compensates psychologically for their assault sense of identity and self-worth.

    The point isn’t that Boris Johnson is ‘a bad man’. The point is that there are deep structural inequalities of power in our society that issue in harmful perceptions or ‘false consciousness’ like morality. Abolish those structural inequalities, through the cultivation of radical democracy and der Übermensch, and those harmful ‘res sentire’ would wither away.

    1. Vishwam Heckert says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful commentary which I believe I might mostly understand. As far as I can tell, we are in agreement. I never said Boris Johnson was a bad man, but rather he’s doing a wonderful job of being a bad example for us all. A mirror of what we might be avoiding about ourselves. The article is an attempt to demonstrate an alternative to moralising. Apologies if I failed in that.

      1. 220418 says:

        Being a bad example is Boris’ virtue, perhaps; his excellence power, or art; his ‘virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtù, virtue free of moralic acid’ as Nietzsche put it in the Antichrist.

        1. Vishwam Heckert says:


  4. Robbie says:

    Nice way of exposing them Vishwam, They use expensive wallpaper too don’t they.

  5. Sophia says:

    Just perfect. Thank you.

  6. Bill says:

    Once again I refer you to the speech of Aneurin Bevan, Manchester July 4 1948 – “what is Toryism?….but organised spivvery”


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