We can’t just leave it to James O’B, so…
Johnson. The heave-inducing haystack; part lard, part Scarf(e)ian nightmare . The Liar. The Cheat. The Truly Grossly-Entitled One. The son of his father. ‘King of the World’. Did all of this stuff really happen?
Of course it did. And however much we absolve ourselves – even those of us who knew (who knew!) what sort of a malign prick he was – every single one of us has some serious thinking to do.
Without setting aside the Johnson-specific howlers, the international embarrassment, the murderous strategic failures, the government-by-racism, we have to be smart enough and generous enough to think beyond our justified contempt of the man. It’s fair enough to hate him, he’s a low-life in a surreal, truth-less realm he really does think he owns; a particularly foul individual. But this can’t happen again; this can’t all just be about him. Let’s deny him that.
We have to seek progress, do we not? So need to be as clear as we can about the enablers. (We won’t, sadly, be able to do much about the systems of privilege and prejudice in these islands but we must call them out).
Murdoch, Dacre and waaaay too much of the media has either created the environment for Johnson’s grotesque rampage or facilitated it via omission – by failing to call lies lies. Look with any intelligence or fairness at what the Mail/Express/Telegraph/Times have been pumping out and there’s a truly sinister level of delusion, bigotry, disinformation. The whole concept of news has been subsumed under a kind of contemporary signalling: imagery and relentlessly crass soundbitery hussling readers towards a mean, othering worldview. It’s strategic – meaning choreographed towards a specific purpose. Big Money, in short, is being protected.
I’ve just watched James Rob utterly eviscerate the Daily Mail and nodded along with the (yes, gedditt, plainly flawed) Alistair Campbell’s twitter onslaught against the worst PM of my lifetime. How many other significant public figures have been actually calling out Johnson’s filth and amorality, directly? Should it be down to Johnathon Pie to steer the public consciousness towards what’s really going on? Is that not the very purpose of The Media? How have they been so absent when The Story – that we’ve had a plainly debauched Tory leader with a high-viz capacity for lies, corruption and cronyism – is so obvious and undeniable? To repeat… is it not the media’s very function to report and therefore make judgement possible?
Of course it’s not, when they themselves are driving the urge towards cheap, dumb, race-based patterns of behaviour.
The Mail (surely a candidate for Most Vile Newspaper on the Planet?) enabled Johnson every step of the way – championed him. Dacre and co. made possible the rise of xenophobia and evil that powered Farage and Brexit, and the conflation/reduction of every political discourse to a dreamy return to a Proper Ingerland: white; noisy; exceptional. The Daily Mail coaches zillions of old, dim reactionaries towards a more exceptional bigotry every day. It is really not alone in this but everything from the relentless lying to the disappeared corruption around Covid contracts, Track and Trace, Arcuri, cash-for-honours, Russian influence, lobbying and second jobs, as well as the editing-out of the central horrors that are the Covid deaths, Partygate and the astonishing extravagances and outright law-breaking of the desperado couple, Cummings and Johnson is a function of the Murdoch/Media Baron Environment. We have to break that somehow.
Zooming out, the deliberate damage to political life and discourse is scary. The fact that Keir Starmer has been steered away from ‘controversy and ‘divisiveness’ for so long is indicative of a deadly failure within the system. The Opposition dare not oppose, for fear of a) Tory rags whipping up yet more dumb rage against them and b) this rage winning out, electorally. Only now, that Johnson is going (pleeeeeeze god), are we seeing any legit moral outrage from the Labour leadership. Previously, he daren’t call out lies for fear of scoring own goals.
On many levels this is offensive and inadequate – it serves us badly. But plainly Starmer has been advised not to appeal to people’s intelligence and decency, because three inch headlines about immigrants or scroungers will hold sway over that. That is, there is no (or there is insufficient) conscience out there – no sense that historic boundaries or norms around individual or collective behaviour remain valid. So nothing matters. When the PM’s getting blowjobs in parliament and/or been trying to get his mistresses jobs or jollies, or finishing his book/sorting his divorce instead of attending to international emergencies and this stuff somehow leaks away from view, things political are being steered ver-ry dangerously.
We’re still being run – being played – by a few families. Folks with colossal power, unthinkable wedges and an iron grip on all of us. It’s only occasionally that the truth of this cuts through. Cummings loved to paint himself as some anti-Establishment guru but he was (is) neck-deep in money and privilege. Johnson’s father is the very epitome of Olde English Entitlement: he will enjoy those privileges alongside those now afforded by his residency within the EU. (By the way, could there be a better symbol of Tory Hypocrisy than Our Stanley? True, there are a glut of contenders but everything about Johnson senior reeks of the very smuggest form of exemption – of the rules simply not applying).
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – c’mon, let’s hoist him by that petard (no doubt) imposed by pater – is going. He hopes and expects to choose the time of his going – of course he does – and apparently expects us to host and underwrite his extravagant wedding during this period. After that he will (of course) slot into the easy life that is gifted consultancies and the After-Dinner Circuit, where he will command huge fees. (Can it just be me who’s thought all along that the whole degenerate Prime Minister Project has for Bojo been just another way of collecting anecdotes with which to entertain Lady Amplebosom, of Hartley Wintney? The shameless bastard will probably have his own talk show, never mind as many £100k speaking engagements as he wants. And he knew this would happen for him.)
Masses more of ‘Boris’ then, in the offing. Because the truth is paths will open, scandals will fade or disappear. Power persists. Johnson, despicable man that he is, will probably never be held accountable. And if he was, he wouldn’t care – wouldn’t need to. We may never know if his flirtations with Russian Intelligence were genuinely a threat to our national security, nor where the missing Track and Trace billions have landed. When it comes to Elite Family members, even the ‘quirky’ ones get protected.