On Monday 2 September, Boris Johnson galumphed into ‘back-to-school’ week fully immersed in his role as ‘Boris Johnson’.
By Wednesday evening, the role had been stripped away by the whipping winds of reality. The actual Boris Johnson was left, not so much a broken man as a howling toddler, sitting among wreckage of his own making. A series of woeful performances and disastrous decisions had removed any sense that he could be the saviour of the Tory Party, let alone the leader the country needs. Starting the week with an effective working majority of one, he’s now lost over 20 MPs, meaning his effective working majority has declined by over 40. Almost instantly, he’s become the lamest of ducks. As Jeremy Corbyn has helpfully pointed out, Johnson has “no mandate, no morals and… no majority”.
Stability with Jeremy Corbyn or chaos with Boris Johnson
Corbyn is now on his third Tory PM. It’s unlikely he’ll need to deal with a fourth. And he’s remained fundamentally consistent throughout. On day one of The Canary, Bex Sumner wrote about Corbyn’s calm and statesmanlike response to the hysterical nonsense emanating from Johnson’s Bullingdon Club chum David Cameron. That he’s still having to fend off waves of raging entitlement from another gilded son of the elite says much about the Tories’ lack of imagination when choosing a leader.
Despite the dogged refusal of the establishment media to understand it, Corbyn’s position on both Brexit and wider politics has remained impressively steady. It remains glaringly obvious to all except those who don’t want to see it that Labour’s main aim is implementing the transformative policies detailed in the 2017 manifesto. It stands to reason then that Brexit can’t be ‘do-or-die’. It has to be servant not master to the more fundamental repairing of the Tory-wrecked country. Hence no-deal has always been out of the question. This contrasts sharply with Johnson’s yo-yoing between, “We will do a new deal, a better deal”, and “we are getting ready to come out on 31 October, come what may… Do or die. Come what may.”
A busted flush and a flustered blush
The character ‘Boris Johnson’ relied on ‘charisma’, oratory and some indefinable ‘energy’. It would have come as no surprise had he announced plans to run the national grid on gumption. ‘Boris Johnson’ was bumbling and eccentric but never less than loquacious. We now know the real Johnson is mumbling, histrionic and barely comprehensible. In one brief spell during his first Prime Minister’s Questions he swore unnecessarily, was casually sexist, and earned a reprimand from the speaker for forgetting to address Corbyn in the proper parliamentary way. He followed this up with a frankly disgraceful attempt to bat away Labour MP Tan Dhesi’s heartfelt plea for an apology over Johnson’s previous racist utterances.
The US’s own meta-Johnson, Donald Trump, reckons the current UK PM (at time of writing) “knows how to win”. But the sage of Mar-a-Lago was saying this when Johnson had already suffered the first of three defeats in his first three votes. Johnson is looking less like a winner by the minute. Even the pound seems to have taken a dislike to him, rising at the moment he lost his majority. And now his own brother has given up trying to be kind to him and resigned.
As he showed on Monday, when the seeds of his disastrous week were sown, Johnson has no credible plan for the country. At this rate he’ll soon be back to the overpaid writing, if anyone will still touch such a tainted brand. His tenure as PM, which could well be the shortest ever, will be no more than a squalid footnote in British history. But it’ll serve as a reminder that allowing the Conservative Party into government, and letting its tiny nostalgia cult of a membership choose the nation’s leader, is a mistake we should never make again.
Featured image via Guardian News – YouTube
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