We’re asked to move on from partygate. Just like we were asked to move on from the paterson scandal- move on from PPE VIP lanes, move on from late lockdowns and lacklustre pressers with poorly articulated advice. We’re asked to move on from a brexit that has pushed inflation up and contributed to (though not caused) the cost of living crisis. How many times will we be asked to move on, how many scandals must we endure before our society simply gives way. Johnson courts the rage of a wounded nation and asks our forbearance.
I say no- do you?
The first time Boris Johnson faced recompense for his lies was the last 1980s. He’d shot off an article to the Times newspaper which included a quote from one of his relatives which described a salacious relationship. Readers were enthralled by his piece- until it turned out that Johnson had quite simply made the quote up in its entirety- in fact, his family member had died over 13 years before Johnson had described the events in his now fictional piece. The Times, quite rightly, fired him and Johnson faced a tough brush to scour clean from- that of a lying journalist. But many who know and have known Johnson have always been happy to make excuses for the man- ebullient, funny, a people person. All admirable qualities, until you contrast this with the other side of Johnson. A liar, a philistine, homophobic and most of all desperate to claw his way to the top.
Dominic Cummings today reminded us that Johnson described himself as “the fucking fuhrer” and as Mhairi Black harkened to with her haunting speech against encroaching fascism in Parliament only this week, this is all too close to the truth: Johnson’s unrelenting assault on parliamentary standards, aided and abetted by his cronies and a coalition of people who think he is the best man for the job and people who simply don’t care because they don’t trust any politician, has been an unprecedented ruination of the long standing pillars of democratic surety that have underpinned British living since long before our forefathers began casting out to other nations. Johnson’s ravening of the political codes of honesty, transparency and decency has led to a paralysis within parliament, an impossibility of holding the man to account. Prominent political journalists and MPs alike cringe in embarrassment as they see him trotted out to other nations, ostensibly to serve the role a prime minister should by making links with our fellows across the globe- but, always, without fail we await another gaffe, another stupid quote, another silly outfit or ostentatious speech punctuated with “forgive me…forgive me… forgive me” as he shuffles through his poorly prepared notes.
The office of prime minister was always meant for the best of us- for those amongst us who could rise to the challenge of overseeing a nation of people hopeful to live up to our nation’s history as world leaders, as a nation of hard workers who respect each other. Where has this proud history gone under the frizzy haired stormclouds that forment a Johnson rule.
We often hear “isms” when referencing other political leaders- Blairism being a prime example, and Blairism is not looked favourably upon by a vast swathe of us- so what does “Johnsonism” enclose?
Is it a desperation to reach the top job only to abdicate your duties to beleaguered staffers who get so drunk on power that they will ignore not only sensibility but morality:
This is indicative of Johnsonism in its’ essence- Peter Oborne describes the time that he worked under Johnson at the spectator, where Johnson was rarely seen and left the running of things to more talented and able fellows, but was happy to sleuth in to take any credit whether due or not. But the converse is also true- Johnson, as he has done with partygate, is happy to hoist junior staffers on his admittedly short petard. Whilst taking what he calls “full responsibility” he overlooks the release of Allegra Stratton whose crime was to joke about the parties, he overlooks the sacking, moving or redeployment of staff to “shore up” Number 10- surely full throated responsibility would be that of a man humble enough to realise that these events occurred under his leadership and is indicative of a man seen as such a poor leader that they could occur in the first place- a man who realises he cannot lead, should not lead and will therefore step down to allow someone who can to take the reins.
But Johnson only seems comfortable when embroiled in scandal. Selling out his country comes naturally to him, as he did when he allowed himself to be cajoled into switching from remain to leave. Johnson’s only goal has ever been to be given the invisible crown of prime minister, and now it rests heavy upon his head he refuses to be wrested from his seat- no matter the cost.
Of course the world stuffers under this cost of living crisis- but we see other countries rushing to help- Spain implemented the sort of windfall tax labour has pushed for. Germany has issued care packages to its lower paid residents to protect them. Other countries are scrapping VAT. Johnson’s government is too deeply embroiled in the thrashing death throes of self preservation against its own scurrilous actions to actually help people. The usual mealy mouthed promises were mocked in today’s PMQs- what has actually been done to help people he was asked, and all we got was the usual recitation of thousands of nonexistent pounds for people on universal credit and open falsitudes about upcoming relief which are only enacted to bury rage over the Gray report- interspersed as always with fruitless swings at the opposition who haven’t touched power in 12 years and deeply disturbing jibes at leaders passed.
Johnson’s government exists as a self perpetuation of bad governance- the bad governance will continue under Johnson, and Johnson will continue under the bad governance. The tories should be routed from power, torn out root and stem for their open rebellion against their much touted phrase, “the will of the people”.
The will of the people is thus:
Over sixty percent of the British population has held for months that Johnson should leave his role, because honesty and integrity are not parlance for the working class, they are discs of the spine that holds up British pride in democracy- and Johnson is spineless. If he truly wished to fulfil the will of the people, his next step is clear.
As to his enablers, they fought their way into Downing Street on that very promise- to fulfil the will of the people- even today, they declared that brexit was done, not even a week after the intractable promises Johnson made to blow up his own post brexit trade agreement meaning that negotiations would restart- hardly done, is it? An Irish MP asked Johnson to promise that Brexit wouldn’t deter the government from assisting Irish citizens- he could not fulfil that promise. So is Brexit done, or will we still keep watching British standing in the world’s eyes diminish for the ego of one?
Every MP who stands behind Johnson has signed their own temporary contract. Not one who willingly backed this man and sang his praises will remain in post when the change to remove them comes.
For Johnson’s government to continue is to endorse more despatch box lies, more fragmented promises and more figmentary notions of bettering a country who will only suffer beneath the weight of a man wholly unprepared for the job he has been given by grift, not graft.
To harken back to one of his own MPs during the initial findings of the Downing Street parties- in the name of God, go.
Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.