Boris has resigned. Raheem Kassan laments what might have been.
Boris Johnson was – and maybe again someday will be – as catastrophic a Prime Minister as many of his original detractors, your faithful reporter included, initially warned.
But it didn’t have to be like this. He was never forced to go the route of soft touch, centre-left “conservatism” partnering hand-in-hand with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. But he did. And for the most part, it always came down to one thing: his wife Carrie Symonds (or Johnson… but maybe not for long?).
To head-scratching friends on Capitol Hill I describe it thusly: The Johnson government was built, by Carrie, on the sand of her own ability to blackmail the people around her. The corporate media journalist she had long trysts with. The Members of Parliament she worked with, around, and under. The civil servants who for some reason – probably fear of crippling exhaustion – loathed her presence and went along with demands to get her off their backs.
Carrie, a former Conservative Party HQ communications staffer and official at the Clinton Foundation-linked Oceana, immediately corrupted what little semblance of conservatism Johnson once had, as only a third wife can. The speed at which Carrie operated, I’m told, is impressive. And almost every single scandal had her bungling fingerprints all over it. Often, as she gifted him terrible advice, she would brief the opposite to the media, covering her backside along the way.
And whether she decides to stay with the man she only committed to once he became Prime Minister, you can bet Carrie and her small cadre of unqualified grifters she bounced into government jobs will not be far from the corridors of power in Westminster for long.
Boris, in true Boris form, will likely fall upwards into a regular Telegraph, or Spectator column – the establishment looks after its own. Within a few months he’ll be talking about making a big comeback, comparing himself to Churchill, and The Daily Express newspaper will probably feature front cover of him in a boxing ring, 30lbs lighter, with the headline “FIGHTING FIT.”
You see the trouble is British politics has become entirely predictable – which is why even from 3000 miles away, I was able to easily predict Boris’s political downfall. As predictably perhaps, the Conservative Party will now go ahead and pick another wobbly, centre-left candidate like Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak and the whole thing will play out again, possibly sans Carrie (for a little while at least).
Until then, expect the usual, “OH MY GOSH WHAT IS GOING ON” theatrics from the BBC and Sky News. You can be safe in the knowledge that if they are feigning shock, nothing much is changing at all.
Boris seems to have lived up to the many criticisms leveled at him by opponents, being guilty, in Simon Heffer’s list of: “indolence, casualness, monstrous selfishness, lack of attention to detail, incompetence and monumental dishonesty”.
But, it all seems rather bizarre from the American perspective. The British seem to be eaten up with Pi (a 19th century term referring to: “piety,” “sanctimony,” “over-exaggerated moralism.”].
Boris’s fall stems from two hullabaloos, the first occasioned by some Downing Street after-hours parties deemed to have violated COVID-quarantine regulations, the second resulting from Boris appointing Chris Pincher Tory Party Deputy Whip last February. Mr. Pincher apparently drunkenly groped two male members at the Carleton Club this 30th of June. The member of Parliament for Tamworth has produced a series of scandals based upon sexual advances toward males.
Britain seems to have in place a peculiar male version of our own Me Too Movement. The Love That Currently Never Shuts Up is a much more prominent feature of British life, rooted significantly in the Public School Tradition, and generally tolerated in elite circles. Somehow, in Chris Pincher’s case, lots of British men seem to have turned into shrinking, sensitive virgins, outraged, and suffering from some form of the vapors, as a consequence of an unwelcome poofter’s pass. In America, this sort of invitation could lead to a punch in the face, but all the victim theater would not take place.
Monica Showalter identifies better issues than those petty scandals:
Based on a back-of-the-envelope analysis (it’s early), it seems that the real problem was that Johnson wasn’t governing as a true Thatcherite conservative as the voters who had elected him had hoped he would.
The top issue in Britain, as in the U.S. is inflation, or as it’s put in Britain, according to the U.K. press, the “cost of living.” Any plans to fix that? Apparently not.
Issue two was Brexit — he’s still futzing around on that though he was better than his predecessor. Leave means leave.
Three is immigration — the migrants are still rolling in and claiming benefits, going to the front of the line for five-star housing and other things denied ordinary Brits. No sane leader worth their salt would permit that kind of thing going on to please E.U. bureaucrats. There were other assorted bunglings such as refusing to allow Ukrainian refugees in who had sponsors willing to house and feed them. Obviously, something wasn’t working.
Four was global warming. He just couldn’t stop himself promoting that and shutting down Britain’s viable energy putting in place worthless greenie substitutes. Bad policies like that are not only not rooted in science, they are hell on consumers who must deal with higher costs and less reliable energy. To cling to that junk science was absolute poison for his government.
Five was COVID lockdowns — which were as badly managed and driven by quacks as the ones seen in our country and in places like Colombia, where another conservative leader was recently thrown out. The whole thing was the mother of bad ideas and unfortunately, conservatives pay for these things.
In short, he played a conservative on T.V. but he governed as a leftist. That’s a failure to lead, and sure enough, the discontent in Britain is over his leadership, not the Thatcherite elements of his party platform. Johnson’s citation of his “successes” as prime minister — such as lockdowns and Ukraine intevention are rather telling in this regard. He didn’t cite any that Margaret Thatcher would be proud to call her own.
It put his polling numbers in the crapper. It prompted a huge slew of resignations from his cabinet, each character huffing out in a bid to save his or her political skin. It certainly was the same thing did in the president of Colombia’s party a few weeks ago, this claim to be a conservative while governing as a leftist, but Johnson didn’t heed that warning.
Now Britain faces the dangerous prospect of early elections, and the real prospect of the Labour Party leftists taking over. They will dismantle Brexit and print money like maniacs, driving inflation sky-high.
The California experience of having a RINO in office offers a mordant precedent for Britain. Following the exit of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, leaving the state in a mess, the net result has been California’s hard turn toward becoming a blue state. One hopes against hope that this isn’t what happens to Great Britain, too.