Boris Johnson’s conservative Government is almost certainly on its way out, after the disastrous result of the confidence vote last week. Yes, Boris won the vote, but around 40% of his own party’s MPs voted against him. History says that U.K. governments rarely last a year after such a rebuke. The time of the clown is nearing its end. Laughing at his antics became “old” some time ago.
However, true to form – remember he has wanted to become an emperor since his school days – he will probably not follow the traditional role of previous prime ministers when faced with such a rebuke, and resign. A clown with little integrity.
However, much as I hate to admit it, I’m actually glad he’s still there.
Looking at the broader picture, we do not need any cracks in the rest-of-the-world’s unanimity against Vladimir Putin. Boris probably can’t do much more damage than he’s already done in the U.K., so we can afford to wait him out for the sake of a higher calling.
Boris has taken a leaf from Maggie Thatcher’s playbook over the past few months. He has effectively used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to deflect attention from his Covid19 lockdown shenanigans, just as Maggie Thatcher used the Falklands War to deflect attention from her rapidly dropping approval ratings. Boris has been running around Europe bolstering the alliance against Vladimir Putin and, to be fair, which I don’t feel like being, he has definitely helped hold the focus of European leaders. Again to be fair, such rallying attempts at unity have traditionally been a bit like herding cats, but Boris has, for the most part, succeeded, although his motivation is certainly questionable.
The U.K. has a long tradition of putting up with, and even encouraging, eccentrics, but Boris has become too much of an embarrassment to be tolerated much longer. Even his ridiculous hairstyle, if you can call it that a style, has become irritating and embarrassing. Definitely time to go, but not just yet. The timing will be extremely important for Ukraine and, perhaps, even for the future of democracy. If Boris’ demise resulted in a situation that Putin could exploit; that is, the disintegration of the West’s pact against Putin, then the democratic world will suffer. It may seem ridiculous to say that such an outcome might rest on Boris Johnson’s shoulders, but stranger realities have occurred many times in history. He just happens to be the wrong man in the right place!
At the moment, any chink in the armor of the West towards Putin not only puts the outcome of the war in Ukraine at risk, it provides succor to Xi Jinping for his plans for invading Taiwan and taking over the whole of the South China Sea. Maybe we should rename that stretch of water now, while we still have the chance?
As I was writing this blog, the news reported, and showed, a comment by Vladimir Putin aligning himself as the rightful successor to Peter the Great of Russia. If that isn’t a clear case of megalomania and self-delusion, I don’t know what is.
Yes, we should celebrate the demise of Boris Johnson and, hopefully, the return of more stable, ethical and sensible governance in the U.K., but there are far bigger concerns that should take priority. If Boris is a useful pawn in that greater game, so be it. We can survive him but we might not survive that greater game if we weaken our resolve by wasting our time and effort on a side show.