Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
And like so many popular entertainers, Boris can be identified by his Christian name alone. Refer to him as Johnson and you’ll be asked to clarify.
I didn’t want to write a politically charged post, but catharsis rules. Whatever your political persuasion, its clear British politics, British democracy is sick.
It would be all too easy to write about Boris Johnson’s misdemeanours, his dubious moral code and his fair-weather political positioning. It would be a simple task to raise up the flag-pole the plethora of self-serving falsehoods he’s told in order gain power and the threats of violence used to silence his critics. So, I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to go on a self-medicated ramble about the situation in which we currently find ourselves.
There is something clearly wrong when numerous members of the same boyhood coterie find themselves orbiting the same political gravity well. If I ran a branch of Tesco and after investigation it turned out that the management team consisted solely of members of my high school Chess club, questions would be asked. Not so for politicians.
Boris believes in survivor bias, just go and read his biography of Churchill. He doesn’t believe a man or woman reaches their position by making moral choices. He believes that the winner is the one who hits the fewest branches on the way down. The lucky one who chose the most effective route to power regardless of the value of the decisions they made on-route.
Watching Boris’ first speech as PM outside 10 Downing Street today reminded me of the time that my ten year old son tried to convince me that . Everyone goes along with it, but no-one believes it.
Every wild gesticulation is reminicent of a toddler learning to throw, each jabbed finger too deliberate, each wave, much too limp. It’s as though his body is struggling to follow the diatribe spewing forth from his mouth. Point now! Wave now! Smile now! His face holds a constant veiled smirk, as though his mouth is desperate to blurt out, “You’re really letting me get away with this?!”
It’s a mirror rehearsed fantasy, Churchillian in tone but Govian in execution. Boris Johnson’s language, deliberately tailored to enamour the broadest audience possible, conjures up a strange rose tinted concoction of 1950s World War Two pulp novels, English literature classics, and an awkward mangled synthesis of pop culture references. Make Britain Great Again on blue baseball caps are demanded.
For Boris, and populists like him, the world is theirs to be moulded. The laws of man must bend to their desires and only the distant echo of evolutionary tumult, dimmed by religion and a callous use of tradition to their own self-service, can limit their design.
On the outside Boris is vintage Brillo pads, Campbells soup, and Dig for Victory, while on the inside he’s a run of the mill populist willing to take any leverage he can to ensure his own political victory. Take a look at his disturbing relationship to Trump’s Steve Bannon, his ties to Russian oligarch’s whose names strangely appear in the Muller Report, and his willingness to state bold faced lies in public.
I write it here now as a record of my own thoughts, but for those whose minds are set on Boris delivering Brexit, please know that he holds this position not because he believes it is the right thing to do for the country, or that the “Will of the People” must be attended to; he does it because it gives him the political leverage that has resulted in him taking the highest office in the land. As soon as it becomes personally detrimental to his designs on power, Boris will switch his position, while at the same time convincing his audience that he was always an ardent Remainer. It will happen subtly, but it will happen. Be careful what you wish for.
Like Theresa May before him, Boris Johnson will fail spectacularly in his aims, and Britain will either fail with him or drop him off back at the Bullingdon Club. For those on the right of traditional Conservative politics, as recent events have demonstrated, there’s no way out of this one.
And while the ship is sinking some will remain on the bow jumping for joy, welcoming the sea all the way until the icy cold water hits their ankles and they realise the mistake they have made. Maybe the only way out of this is to sink so deep that all are forced to face reality.
Despite my strong dislike of May, I don’t believe she set out to fail. She may have been incompetent and lacked any leadership qualities, but I honestly believe she tried her best. My problem with Boris is that I don’t believe he cares one way or the other.
Like so many populists before him, Boris Johnson has moulded himself into a figure of fun. The bizarrely quaffed hair, the rambling verbal gaffs, and the dawdling gait are all designed to give him an air of accessibility, of friendliness. But history tells us this never goes well.
Is this Britain’s best? Of a population of 70 million people, is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson really our greatest mind, our finest politician? Is this multi-millionaire tabloid provocateur really the best we have to offer the world?
I guess so, and in the meantime the endless conveyer belt of the political class chunters on.