(An apology: the last thing I wanted to do is to make everything ‘all about him’ again. But the reason I do that is because I really do have some hope that this really might be it, for Johnson – an ending. I’m not optimistic about a Sunak Premiership, however short, what with likely roles for Braverman and other Nasty Party rightists but there would be some satisfaction at the thought that BJ’s time was rather unceremoniously snuffed-out. Let’s hope that proves to be the case).
So could the Age of Embarrassment finally be over? Might the Bumbling Buffoon, the Etonian Mess really be done?
It’s possible. In a characteristic veil of porkies and shameless, conscience-less swerves between the reported fact, his Urgent Gatherings and the forbidding fridges of a life lived in cosseted anarchy, Johnson really may have spent himself. It’s possible. The lies and the deceit and the vile uncaring will of course go on, endlessly, but it may be that his time in the Real Spotlight is over.
Rees-Mogg’s insipid declaration of confidence proved as thin as the man himself. His ill-matched bedfellow (the lard-arsed one) never, ultimately stood, preferring to come over all ‘tactical’ until defeat slapped him in the kisser. It’s widely believed that the 102 MPs were as genuine as de Pfeffel’s protestations of love, and that Johnson’s toying with politics may now be short-lived. The good people of Uxbridge have barely seen the former PM, what with all the foreign holidays: they are unlikely now, to be graced by long-term service – nobody (but nobody) gets that.
Boris doesn’t do contributions of this sort. Ever since Eton, his singular egotism has blinded him to the whims and needs of the un-Boris. Surely the whole charade that is his life has been a kind of gristly reflex towards the destiny that family and place had promised? Masses of fame, masses of moolah; fawning women and footmen a-drooling. The irresistible fact, then, of Great Office (briefly) precursing comely adventure, from exotic break to highly-remunerated Public Speaking Engagement. In so far as Johnson is capable of planning ( I think in his case these things tend to be assumptions), this has been The Plan. Tick the big juicy boxes, proffered by happy circumstance towards one; reap the rewards.
Much to its shame, the universe has provided. Women got on their knees, blokes laughed at the ‘quirkiness’, folks voted, presumably out of that feudal inferiority complex that defers to Them Who Know Best: yaknow – the toffs. Silver Spoon-dom; Eton; Balliol. Boom.
Even having the Most Embarrassing Father In History somehow failed to work against him. Five missed Cobra meetings; patent corruption and murderous incompetence around Covid planning and response; relentless extravagance and grotesque indulgences within Downing Street itself (largely at some mindless but presumably mortified sponsors’ expense). None of this seemed to register against; except, perhaps Partygate.
Finally the clowning seemed unfunny. Enough of the ordinary Mail-reading psycho’s felt a twinge. There was a cover-up, there were further blanket untruths and omissions but even without a Kuenssberg or a Peston Revelation – like how could they not know? How could they not have personal experience?!? – Partygate stank the place out. People could smell it. That whole culture of taking the piss, of being superior, of not needing to care because the rules just don’t apply… leaked out. And there was no other place for that to be centred than on B J.
Boris, we all knew, had been guilty all his life of believing in his divine right to indulge, freely and without conscience. But now it was obvious this included during lockdowns. Whilst we were – whilst the Queen was! – behaving or making cruel sacrifices for the common good, Johnson and co were popping the corks. We’re not so foolish as to believe they will ever be truly held to account… but we know they were guilty of this. That transgression landed. Shockingly, a miniscule number of Tory MPs acknowledged the nature and the heft of the betrayal and the Opposition seemed – appallingly – unable to call out the great sin of the age. But it landed enough.
This is why Boris was unzipped; disowned by 60-odd MPs, ultimately. They finally found safety-in-numbers and finally called him out. Now his unseemly bundle back has been stymied. A last porkie – 102 supporters, lols! – waived in front of a gullible press. A phone call to Mordaunt to schmoozle her into backing down. But nope. That old magic has waned.
Sure there were a few spineless cretins calling him ‘boss’ right until the end. Some actually believed there was a future in it – a Boris 2. But it’s likely now that neither those hand-relievers nor the Press Barons themselves can keep the Johnson delusion afloat. The bloke’s still under investigation – and again whilst natural justice on the matter is unlikely, ultimately to be enacted, I’m guessing now that (hilariously, finally!) enough Tory MPs view him as a serious, short-term risk to the party’s credibility.
It may be possible that lots of people would, if given the chance, still vote for the Big Dog. But a sufficient consensus has arisen, within Westminster, to keep the unkempt beast chained. He may yet become, in political terms, at least, a Christmas Puppy: loved briefly then ‘too much trouble’ – forgotten.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, born New York. Made for life, of course. Will flit from speaking gig to courtesy holiday. Will play the jester and delight those predisposed to crawl. Never, actually, a serious political figure: now, quite possibly, ‘over’.