The referendum has come and gone. The Spanish elections have come and gone. My response in both cases has been to write poetry and feel thoroughly depressed – something of a literary tradition in times of sadness. But, there are limits to what even the sublimity of poetry can achieve. In these cases it is only the rough workaday utility of prose that suffices.
Boris Johnson (one of the Four Donkey Drivers of the Apocalypse) has declined to be one of the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party and the next (God Help Us) Prime Minister.
I can think of no explanation for his action which reflects anything but badly on him.
Let us consider the possibilities.
Having seen the state of social, political, financial and cultural crisis that his opportunistic and selfish leadership role in the Leave Campaign has delivered to the British people, Bumbling Boris has a clear case of what I am sure he would term, ‘funk’. He has no intention of accepting responsibility for the chaos that he has caused (why should he? The philandering liar has no history of doing anything like that) and has offloaded the messy situation for somebody else to deal with.
Having decided that there is no personal advantage to be gained by doing the hard work of overturning or mitigating the disaster he has helped cause, he will now bide his time and assiduously work on the myth of ‘The Greatest Prime Minister We Never Had’ and, when the dust has settled and the level of British misery has reached its nadir, Boris can then poke his stylish writing above the parliamentary parapet, wave his illusory political credentials in the Westminster air and shyly shuffle into the limelight that he will have switched on for the occasion.
3 Consolation Prize Status
After taking a leaf out of Cameron’s “I am an abject failure but I am also capable of a pretence of dignity in a self-made defeat” Boris’s chummy statement (which is the equivalent of “It’s a fair cop!”) is an obvious plea for a senior position in the next government. No Prime Minister in their right mind would want a lazy deadweight like Boris in a real parliamentary role, but the Blue Rinse Hero Worshippers might force his participation, by sheer unthinking adulation, into some meaningless political role.
4 Going back to his real job
No one can accuse Boris of being a competent Mayor of London or MP, but he is a fluent writer. Perhaps he has realized that being in a situation where he would actually have to turn up on time and do some real work would interfere intolerably with where his real money making opportunities are found: in writing, public appearances and dangling from photo opportunity zip-wires.
It is much more than fair to argue that Boris has done nothing more than he has always done: let people down. There is only room for one person in Boris’s life and that is Boris himself. He did pretend over the last few months that he had the interests of the British people at heart, but nothing in his previous career would justify believing him, so, in a way, the heading of this section should be ‘self-deception’ – not by Boris (he, after all thought he knew exactly what he was doing) but by those who actually fooled themselves that they might have a micro space in a totally exclusive ego.
Perhaps it is almost like the last category, but there has to be a separate category to epitomize the character of the charlatan. He was and is a liar. He entered the referendum after writing a Brexit and an Remain piece for his highly paid column and then chose the Brexit. After, we are told, a great amount of heart searching. Liar! Why is anything other that mendacity expected from a serial liar? So, at the end, even his assertion that “I will [ . . . ] give every possible support to the next Conservative administration” can be thought of in terms of how much support he gave his pal Cameron. Liar! Once a liar always a liar. It is my belief that given time and space Boris can, almost in his own words, “win and be better and more wonderful and, yes, a greater liar than ever before.”
Boris is a contemptible person. He is an opportunistic politician. He is a disaster. He is a coward and shirker.
There is one thing that he can do to partially redeem himself. Apologise. Give a humble, sincere and abject apology. Then resign from public life and all public offices.
What chance is there of that?