Boris Johnson’s part-time premiership

It has almost been a year since Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, an American-born British journalist, became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Johnson had made little secret of his lifelong ambition of becoming Prime Minister, and at one point it looked as though his moment had dissipated. After he stormed out of the Foreign Office, following a gaffe-filled two years as Foreign Secretary, it seemed that Johnson simply wasn’t capable of the hard graft and statesmanlike composure that high office demands.


But, alas, British politics has a way of rewarding people who don’t really deserve it.

And so, in late July 2019, Johnson finally grasped his holy grail – persuading a bunch of blue rosetted toffs that he should hold the highest office in the land.

For those of us not privy to the circus that is a Tory leadership election, it was a sad and desperate day for British democracy. Here stood a man with a rap sheet of petty misconduct almost as vast as his ego, promising to return the UK to our past, Victorian glory.

Even allowing for a healthy dose of national patience, however, Johnson has seismically failed in his mission during this past year.

The only thing Victorian about Johnson’s government has been the presence of Jacob Rees-Mogg at his Cabinet table – a man so old fashioned that it seems difficult to believe he hasn’t time travelled from a Dickens novel.

And it’s not as though Boris has been lacking opportunities to show Britain’s global leadership. Since January, merely a month after Johnson’s emphatic general election victory, a deadly pandemic has ripped across the globe.

And where was our mighty leader?

The Ego-in-Chief was holidaying in a 17th century mansion in Kent, and so missed several COBRA meetings at the outset of the crisis.

Ever since then, “Great” Britain has been behind the curve. While other countries were stamping on coronavirus through a rapid test and trace programme, we were entertaining the idea that it should be allowed to spread through the community to achieve “herd immunity”. That idea was dropped, after officials realised it could cost 500,000 lives.

But it’s not as though we learnt from this slip up. We were one of the last major countries in Europe to impose a lockdown, by which time the virus had spiralled dangerously out of control. Now, we have the second highest death toll in the world, while protective equipment has been in shorter supply than Matt Hancock’s brain cells, and care homes have basically been left to fend for themselves.

A lethal viral warhead came barrelling at the UK from the other side of the world. We could see it coming for weeks before it finally dropped its load on our shores. And yet while other countries were building nuclear shelters, capable of withstanding the damage, we put on a tin hat and charged straight towards the missile.

This sort of fatuous, arrogant apathy epitomises Boris Johnson’s premiership. The PM likes to deploy grandiose language to present himself as a military conqueror, but in reality he is totally devoid of ideas. That’s why he’s willing to haemorrhage political capital in order to retain the services of Dominic Cummings. Without Cummings – a man with lots of ideas about changing the country, most of them bad – Johnson knows his government would be directionless. Like most of Johnson’s career, his administration would turn into a PR crisis management exercise. Nothing more.

Indeed, it’s not as though Johnson the Philanderer can look to his Cabinet for help. The PM has appointed a bunch of vapid self-promoters who’ve loyally resided up Johnson’s arsehole since the EU referendum. Do you think that Dominic Raab and Priti Patel are going to be remembered as political giants – two of the great reformers of the 21st century?

Of course not.

But while this doesn’t bode well for the country, it does provide cause to believe the Tories can be beaten. The Labour Party has not only regained its sanity, it has appointed a leader who is the antithesis of our vacuous PM. Whereas Johnson is a colourful, dangerous rogue who would prefer be in Hawaii than the House of Commons, Keir Starmer is an assiduous interrogator who came of age in the courtroom.

And while Scram News will not be around to cover their exchanges in the imminent future, I hope and expect Boris Johnson’s infantile bluster to quickly unravel in the face of a fully grown adult.

Johnson belongs on the after-dinner circuit. Let’s hope Starmer can send him back there.

Sam Bright is the Editor of Scram News.

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