If you give Boris Johnson the benefit of the doubt, and if you believe – why shouldn’t you? – that he didn’t mean to walk into that party…
Or any other “party”, which might have seemed indistinguishable from a routine workplace meeting, of which there were so many, because after all, he’s the prime minister!
If you accept that he didn’t recognise any of those events as parties, not even with hindsight; if you believe he spoke sincerely to parliament about regulations being observed scrupulously, that he was truly angry about Allegra Stratton’s mock-press conference, and Matt Hancock’s breach of lockdown;
If you feel that, like all of us, he’s human and liable to make mistakes, and you forgive him for those mistakes, because who are you to judge him, even when the media keeps showing photos of the Queen mourning, alone;
If you feel relief that he paid the fine, and you approve of his remorse, and contrition;
If you believe that that saying sorry is enough, and that this time he really means it;
If you think this removes any need for further sanctions against the first prime minister to have broken the law in office, and that this won’t affect his ability to demand anybody else’s resignation at any time in the future;
If you can explain how it is that a man as flawed as the rest of us can possibly be irreplaceable;
If you feel that he can’t be removed at a time when there’s a war on, even though this country is not engaged in that war;
If you feel that keeping him in office despite his wrongdoing will not encourage other wrongdoers, from petty criminals to Vladimir Putin;
If you feel that he should be judged “in the round”, and that his good achievements outweigh this law-breaking;
If you can be clear about just what kind of bigger, greater error would justify removing him, and you definitely aren’t saying that he can do whatever he likes or that, having stunningly achieved Brexit and the vaccine rollout, he can stay in office for as long as he likes;
Unlike Winston Churchill who got kicked out after WW2, or Margaret Thatcher, who copped it eventually despite the Falklands and three general election victories;
Well, I salute your gentleness of heart, your willingness to see the best in him, to believe that somebody can change for the better;
And I confess that I don’t believe you are being entirely honest.