The downfall of Boris Johnson has been a long time coming, but sudden when it did happen, with an unprecedented walkout from the paid staff. Boris’s failings are aplenty – he is his own worst enemy.
Ultimately Boris Johnson will be remembered for ‘getting Brexit done’ even if it was botched (Northern Ireland). As Frank Furedi in Spiked calls it “The fact that millions of working-class people were prepared to abandon the Labour Party in order to ‘Get Brexit Done’, showed that there was a widespread appetite for real change among the public.” It was Boris that the electorate wanted in 2019, because he was palatable in a way that Corbyn was not.
Today, after a pandemic, with a war and its consequential cost of living crisis to cope with Boris has run out of ideas. Frank Furedi in Spiked: “He may have been leading a movement – Brexit – committed to restoring Britain’s national sovereignty, but he has consistently failed to understand its radical, transformative potential.”
Boris was always an opportunist not a manager. His time as London Mayor gave him opportunity to play around with unworkable ideas like the garden bridge. But, without Cummings after the pandemic the opportunity had passed him by. In Ten Downing Street, Aris Roussinos in Unherd remarks that, “No one in living memory can have squandered such a far-reaching and revolutionary mandate for reform through such petty and absurd personal failings. ”
Boris finally came off the rails with his lack of clear ideas and persistent transgressions suggesting the party was in power too long. His lack of consistency and depth ideas have caught up with him.
He is sometimes against the woke culture on the Left but the avoids the subject, probably because his wife Carrie Johnson was signalling differently.
He promised to reduce immigration but it has gone up post Brexit. However it has been pushed down the agenda by the cost of living crisis and Ukraine war.
His promise to the Red Wall – Leveling up – is muddled and the legislation could take years to have any effect.
His handling of the pandemic and our exit from it has been mixed – a world class response through vaccination matched with heavy expenditure and waste. Then the incidents such as partygate led to a loss of respect from many who disapproved of his contempt for the rules.
The Pincher affair is no reason itself to depose of Boris, but it clearly piqued a few MPs who decided enough was enough, that it was the straw that behind the camel’s back. Boris has always shown a poor grasp of detail or memory. So when the Pincher affair recently arose he was yet again caught out. What was missing her was a Reagan style response. Boris lacked intellectuals around him to fend off the media and looked guilty on his own.
Finally, the response to the cost of living crisis has been one of paralysis and disagreement. His populist approach of spending whilst cutting taxes contributed to Sunak walking out of the cabinet.
When Boris is winning the party is together. But his style – roguishness, showmanship, and patriotic populism appealed more to the electorate than his own party.
But when Boris appears less than competent, the party shows its true colours and demonstrates how few friends Boris has when he needs them. 40% of MPs voting against him in June was a damning indictment.
In the next election a key question is if the red wall go back to Labour through Kier Starmer. This is unlikely but will depend on who takes the helm at the Conservatives – another Boris supporter or a traditional Conservative.
The problem with Kier is that he has so much to do internally within the Labour Party to make it electable – the direction of travel with Brexit for instance. And the party is not pulling in the same direction as him. Its voter base is young and urban, and still pro remain. Kier is not a popularist – he lacks personality. IT is doubtful he will connect with working class northern people who voted for Boris. The future is very uncertain.