‘Boris Johnson’s big personality is the perfect antidote to Maybot fatigue’, so claimed an opinion piece published to the Telegraph’s website. In an attached video, Britain’s latest Brexit batsman is seen mongering fish, flooring a child in a game of rugby, and charging through dark London streets in a pair of – objectively – horrendous floral jogging shorts.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly will be familiar to many – intimately so to Conservative Party members who, in July, were more than willing to swallow a Johnson to catch a May. Next, the insatiable Tory appetite is likely to see the apparent ‘natural party of government’ garnish their helping of Johnson with a dollop of Farage in the coming snap election, if the recent proclamations of the UK’s con artist-in-chief are to be believed. Whatever the party’s hankering, one thing is apparent: Maybot fatigue has given way to Boris botulism.
And who among was really surprised? Who, beyond the expected cluster of cabinet-vying Tory short-termists and 160,000 or so vacuous voting Party members, genuinely believed that a good old helping of Churchillian gung-ho spirit would see us through an intractable four-year national crisis? Certainly not Nicholas Soames, Tory MP and grandson of Churchill, who, poetically, fell to the PM’s purge earlier this week.
Bad history is the enemy of good politics. This truism, if in doubt at all prior to this week, has been acutely affirmed by the abject failure of ‘gung-ho spirit’ to render Boris Johnson even the most moderate of victories. Rather, the return this week of Parliament – and with it the sort of scrutiny the PM has long fought to circumvent, has reduced Boris the bombast a miniature of the larger-than-life character he and his team have so meticulously cultivated over the years.
‘Can-do spirit’ – all well and good when to ‘do’ is to prorogue parliament and capitulate to no deal, sells the country short. Jo Johnson, brother of Boris and now ex-business minister, is the latest to come to terms with his sibling’s fanatical drive to crash the UK out of the European Union by Halloween, citing in a resignation tweet an “unresolvable tension” between “family loyalty and the national interest”.
Defenders of the latter, including the ‘gang of 21’ Tory grandees and former chancellors who rebelled against the government in a bid to legislate against no deal earlier this week, have rightly come to view the PM’s purported pursuit of a new deal as a façade or, at any rate, unattainable. Indeed, Michel Barnier, emerging from a six-hour meeting with his British counterpart David Frost, chastised the government for having failed to proffer any fresh suggestions on how to mitigate the Irish backstop issue, describing negotiations as in a “state of paralysis”.
The PM’s solution, characteristically, is to scrap scrutiny. In so doing, through the medium of snap elections, deselections and dastardly dealings with the Brexit Party, he will soon complete the Brexitification of the Conservative Party.
There was an old Party which swallowed a May.
I don’t know why it swallowed a May.
There was an old Party which swallowed a Johnson.
It swallowed the Johnson to catch the May.
I don’t know why it swallowed a Johnson – perhaps it’ll die.