The cakes, the laziness and the lies were just the tool that were used to dispose of Johnson by his haters in the Remain establishment – many of them in his own party. He gave them the gun – and they used it. His fault – no-one else’s.
Most of the voters who elected Johnson don’t want patronising waffle about levelling up and hand-outs. They want dry-as-a-bone social conservatism. They want secure borders, secure energy supplies, a well-managed economy an end to the Left’s control of all our institutions, an end of the grotesque manipulation of the “Climate Emergency” and of “women with penises” who rape real women. They want common sense. Johnson gave them yet more waffle and more Leftist social liberalism.
The no-longer-silent-majority in the UK are sick and tired of permissive liberalism. The Conservatives need a strong, Leave-voting right-wing, social and fiscal conservative as the next PM. If they don’t get it right next time, they will cease to exist as a single party – it’s as simple as that.
This should be an open goal for the Conservatives – but I have to say, I’m not certain that they have a single player capable of taking the shot. Someone like Farage would win an overwhelming majority in a heartbeat right now. But no one seems able to make it happen.
I don’t mind a bit of social liberalism myself, although it has taken on a rather extreme edge in some institutions and I don’t like the way people with differing views are shut down. Totally agree on the rest, people didn’t want stupid token levelling up gestures. They want sensible government that isn’t going to cost them a fortune.
After Rotherham there is no such thing as social liberalism..if anything,it teaches us that there never was..it was/is,an illusion.
Farage would win? Bring it on for the 7 times loser. Yes, let’s get Farage in – he’ll sort it out lol, the man who never managed to even get elected. Bre-lievers’ delusions continue. Farage is a classic agitator with a fondness for grandstanding. He’s at home threatening to organise a march on the Courts to threaten a few judicial “enemies of the people”, but, like Johnson, his sort will run a mile from the boredom and “impure” compromises of serious politics. The rule of law means nothing to a man like Far-rage; he neither respects nor understands it. Besides, the Bre-lievers are so ideologically-drive that they will fall upon anyone who tries any sort of accommodation with reality.
Johnson didn’t change the Tories; Brexit did. In order to deliver Brexit, anyone in charge of the Tories at the relevant time would have had to do the exact same as Johnson, namely: (1) cull all the moderates; and (ii) try to stall on the implementation of Brexit, since the miserable reality of Brexit – increased red tape and yah-boo politics – is a far cry from the b/s unlit uplands rhetoric that preceded it. https://ayenaw.com/2022/07/07/cults-ii/
Farage didn’t get elected you say. Do MEPs not count now? Sounds a bit anti EU and pro UKIP to me.
Let’s also remember that the Conservatives committed election fraud in South Thanet – which illegally prevented his chances to win a seat.
Well said, can’t believe all the down ticks, guess they love Johnson, Farage and Trump didn’t think they were so right wing on here?
Farage almost singlehandedly brought about the idea of freedom that resulted in 17.4 million people voting to leave the EU..Not bad for a so-called ‘chancer’.
Bang on the money. If whoever replaces Boris had the courage to adhere to these simple tenets and face down the shouty intellectuals who have dominated our institutions and media for the last 2 decades, Britain would fly.
Johnson in my opinion was too weak. His nearest and dearest became his chief policy organizer and took charge in bringing in people she wanted and getting rid of those she didn’t want or like. Didn’t the Party know what was going on in that ensuing chaos that was 10 Downing Street?
Anyway whoever takes over will have to deal with a remain media fixated on tripping them and the Tories up at any opportunity. If there are any skeletons in their closets the leftist blob will find them and away we go again.
It could have been different, Boris could have let Cummings get on with the task he had dismantling a bureaucratic uncivil service. But it wasn’t to be and as Cummings commented the hard part for Boris was winning the election. After that he just wanted to enjoy himself.
That is exaggerated..You seem to mistake your views for those of the majority! I have a lot of time for Farage, who by championing Brexit over decades remains a more influential politician than Johnson ( /although he is never taken to task as to why he moved from supporting the ‘Norway option’)? However he has never won an election himself and is very much a ‘marmite’ character.
Excellent analysis which I feel is instinctively correct – with consequences for all main parties in the coming months and years that I feel none of them are going to remotely enjoy. If Brexit was ‘Mad Max’, then the darker sequel ‘Fury Road’ is now well on it’s way. Frenchie style descent into showy but ineffectual violence in response is not the UK way, but I feel the existing political establishment will now pay a bitter and unanticipated price.
For the Tories, it is very possible that this is one regicide too many, and the consequence is, literally, a chaotic dissolution of the party over the next few years despite itself, even as it’s electoral support holds up, as it embroils itself in a bitter and inward-looking forever-war.
There were a lot of nakedly smug voices around yesterday couched in the language of severity and self-righteousness (…all that waffle about ‘honesty’ and ‘lying to parliament’ don’cha know and so on) amongst the leftish journo and columnist and ex-politician class (Marr, Peston et al) – but I feel very strongly their joy and relief will be short lived. I have absolutely no sense that Johnson’s demise will lead to a revival of the left parties – on the contrary I feel that disenchantment with them will now grow as the dissonance between their past stances over lockdowns and money printing during the pandemic, and their rewriting of history and proffered prescriptions now to growing economic roil becomes ever clearer.
Ergo, all the elements for the emergence of new political entities are now in place, because a very large part of the UK population no longer has a political or cultural home. We can only hope, something wicked this way is not coming.
Completely agree with your view about the non-revival of the left parties. They have spent far too long railing against the moral corruption of Johnson and co and have failed to focus in any meaningful way on (a) a constructive, combative critique of the policies of this government, (b) their own policy directions and (c) their own fundamental ideologies. So they have given the electorate no hook on which to hang their hats.
Until they do, voters are left between the devil and the deep blue sea: do they try desperately to retain their trust in the one party that has a plan – however fragmented and questionable – for the future after Brexit: the Tories under a leader with gravitas and intellectual rigour; or do they vote ABC (Anything But Conservative) with an absolute void of solid, relatable policy for the future?
Nothing has really changed for us. It’s either the devil you know or the devil you don’t.
I feel the same way about our two main parties here in the U.S.. Both the Democrats and the GOP are hopelessly, irredeemably corrupt; they are the world’s most powerful criminal enterprise. A near-corpse – thought a stupid, incompetent fool by his own party for decades – is selling our assets to China (following the Clinton model, but without the scheming guile). The purported opposition doesn’t sit on its hands so much as has its hands out, collecting foreign cash and not even bothering to harumph for form’s sake.
Time to end parties and political dynasties. Remove the ability to make public office a career by imposing strict term limits. Prosecute graft with asset seizure and prison time. Decentralize by returning decision-making to the states. Slash the size of the alphabet agencies and move them out of Washington. End the unnatural relationship between government and media.
Yeah, yeah. I know. But, for just a minute there, it felt possible, reasonable. Guess I’ll just have to resign myself to reading solution-free articles here and elsewhere about how it all went sideways.
In the UK, it would normally take a very big stick of dynamite to break the grip of the two main parties, yet I now have a sense they are both nearing the end of the road. I imagine was as difficult in the US in the past for an outsider to break into the Democrats/GOP duopoly – although Trump did it by hitching himself to the GOP in the teeth of big opposition from the traditional political elite. Is there any sense in the US that actual new parties might now form, and then get into power?
I dearly hope you’re right, PK, but there are unimaginable fortunes and crimes involved. You ask if there is any sense of new parties here? Not at all at the federal level (on pain of death!). But some states are remembering their constitutional powers. That’s a hopeful development. Let’s you and I keep an eye, and meet back here from time to time – provided this space isn’t raided and erased.
Deal! We will chat BTL on UnHerd as events unfold for the parties on both sides of the pond.
The problem with Boris was ultimately what brought him down. His moral compass. Any form of limited government presumes a certain level of virtue on the part of its citizens. Something must impel them to act against their naked self-interest. Otherwise, the state must enforce the behavior for the good of the state and limited government becomes impossible. Representative government is not after all the natural government of man. The natural government of man would be a king. Representative government is highly unstable precisely because the preconditions are so difficult to maintain. It was long religious heritage that made representative government possible, for it was religious heritage that produced in the citizen the moral capital that made him fit for self-government.
Secularism is a parasitic development the seeks to profit from this moral capital developed by previous generations. Unfortunately it doesn’t know how to create such capital. Secularism can only spend it down. The current reigning worldview cannot even induce its own population to discipline its sexual desires, have children, and take responsibility for them. Replacing the current generation is a rather fundamental aspect of maintaining civilisation. And yet we see an orgy of self-indulgence as private actors make private decisions to sate their own private desires. It is after all difficult to convince people to live for something beyond themselves once you have convinced them that there is nothing beyond themselves.
Secularism presents its own trinity of gods to the nation. If you think that you can maintain your liberty and freedoms while worshiping at the altar of hedonism, nihilism, and despair, then good luck to you. I will only ask “Where is the next generation? Who is raising the few that are born? Are they capable of competing economically in a world of increasing labour surplus? Will there be enough of them to stop the invader at the shore? Will they consist of anything more than roaming gangs of self-entitled hooligans – too indolent to work and too ignorant to compete but strong enough and violent enough to steal?”
When you give men unconstrained liberty, they will turn it into license. Something then must constrain liberty and secularism has proved itself notoriously incapable of doing so. It has however proved itself quite capable of throwing off restraint in the name of human autonomy – and around us we see all the human and economic wreckage that has resulted.
What we will find under the next secular leader (political affiliation almost irrelevant) is that the demolition has hardly even begun.
Rather than reduce this to a notional ‘sense of virtue’ I would rather treat this in terms of ‘What is the nature of a modern European State’?
a) an entity conceived of in terms of a ‘common purpose’, whose attainment of some common end requires a mangerialist Govt., in which dissent is sidelined or punished and where every ‘sector’ of the state is meant to conform to a common aim, this aim being the purpose of all legislation.
or is it:
b) an entity having no defined purpose (other than the balancing of various local competing purposes under an umbrella of a universal rule of law) or ‘common aim’ which thus does not require a centralised direction from Government and where dissent from ‘policy’ is actually irrelevant, since there is no defined state ‘policy’ as such?
It will be seen that ‘a’ is a society seen as being in a state of siege or war, or other ‘crisis’ e.g. pandemic. This a state where a short-term central purpose suddenly becomes more pressing than the more random, multi-faceted comings and goings of the population arttending to private purposes.
By contrast ‘b’ is a society not held to be in a state of crisis or war, where the vast majority of people attend to their own purposes and do not particularly want Govt. to stipulate what these should or must be.
‘a’ is therefore the standard left-wing view of a state. There is always some purported crisis or other (‘cost of living’, ‘child poverty’, ‘ “health” provision’ etc.etc.) which requires to be addressed. Every individual member of such a society is thus a ‘conscript’ in the war against ‘crisis’, scepticism as to the existence of any particular crisis being treasonable.
‘b’ is the standard right-wing view of a state. To them the existence of the crisis is often questionable, because left claims about the existence or lack of a crisis are usually mediated entirely through journalistic or statistical examinations of a particular topic, which removes the classification of the state of affairs from the purview of the individual, who may struggle to perceive actual, demonstrable, real-life examples of the ‘crisis’ around them, and allocates it to claimed ‘experts’ who alone are granted a mandate to ‘explain’ and therefore to actively propagandise.
To a right-winger, for instance, the NHS may be in crisis, not because it has not been indulged by Government through endless funding, but because of its own ballooning, unaccountable, self-defining nature, which rules out in advance any other attempts to tackle any real ‘health’ issues by other means.
If we’re to assume that your referencing of religious faith as the means by which human beings find a way to live together without undue disharmony, i’m afraid the testimony of recorded history suggests otherwise. Belief in something or someone “beyond oneself” is neither necessary to have a moral compass, or indeed, desirable. Before codified religion became part of the historical record, human society had already taken perhaps the most significant steps towards collective and mutually beneficial endeavour.
What we now have to do is to find it within ourselves to continue the human project after the fall of a near-universal belief in a god. Many of us are able to do this – we’re just waiting for the rest to gather themselves together in the same endeavour which is already older than religion itself. Every attempt to proselytise (on here, or elsewhere) on behalf of religion simply tries to set the project back a step. Such attempts are doomed to fail, as they have been for the past couple of centuries.
Belief in something or someone “beyond oneself” is neither necessary to have a moral compass, or indeed, desirable.
Good luck with your project.
Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot sort of steal your thunder and show the rest of us the utopia where living completly without a moral compass can lead.
After all, killing a man for an atheist is no different morally to burning coal. It is just rearranging a few atoms in the universe.
This comment is better than many Unherd articles. Well done you!
“By ending Britain’s nearly 50-year membership of the European Union (EU)”
Obscuring the fact that the ‘European Union’ is not what the original organisation was called at the time we joined means that we cannot identify precisely what it is that alarmed significant numbers of British people. That was the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which was designed to produce a ‘single Europe’ (as the wayward but occasionally spot-on Christopher Booker at the time characterised the aim of the document). This is a vastly larger enterprise than simply a ‘single Market‘ which had previously been the overtly stated aim of the EC/EEC.
It effectively marked the projected loss of any state called the United Kingdom to which an individual ‘subject’ (‘citizen’ is a foul communist/revolutionary terrorist word which I refuse to accept) might owe allegiance.
At that point desire for decoupling from ‘Europe’ massively increased (it re-animated my interest in politics, which had atrophied out of boredom).
I used to be very pro-EU, but started to doubt it on the introduction of the €, which turned to anger when one heard rational arguments about how currency union could be reconciled with fiscal independence, in response to which came accusations of ‘little Englanders’.
Once converted, one started to take notice of other things.
Looking at the state of the NHS, immigration, education etc… None of them appear to be good at anything except hoovering up allowances and expenses.
No one from any party has been able to do anything of any real purpose. It took years to get us out of the EU but we’re still tied to the apron strings of some EU court that has the “authority” to interfere with a sovereign state. Let’s not forget the millions of payments we’re still liable for: EU pension funds, project funding like building motorways in Romania, free WiFi in Greek hotels etc…..
Our country’s run by a load of woke civil servants, big business, the MSM and those bastions of the legal profession – human rights lawyers. Let’s not forget about the Human Rights act which favours illegal immigrants, LGBTQIP+, crooks, robbers and rapists, along with almost any minority interest pressure group who can get some airtime.
Welcome to the death of our democracy, free speech, our way of life, culture, age of consent etc.
The choices are apathy or fight back. You need to be brave, very rich or insane to speak against the current narrative; the only thing the “state” appears to be good at now is shutting down any dissenters…..
You said millions when you should have said billions.
Regardless of the challenges from Brexit, the war and the pandemic, the major undoing of Boris was the relentless abuse from the elites which now control almost all our instutions. I believe this will only get worse for future elected leaders.
The success of the new establishment (particularly the BBC, and public sector bodies) in demonising anyone who does not buy-in to their world view will only embolden them further. The relentlessly poisonous atmosphere of public debate, the lack of impartiality, or assessing decisions based on facts will continue. I think that the next PM will also suffer increasing ad hominem attacks (sometimes racist, sexist or just inhuman) which will be made even more openly than against Boris (many people were shocked at the number of public figures who declared their hope that Boris would die when he was hospitalised with Covid).
The civil service has learned that it can simply ignore government legislation and policies which it does not agree with, be they Brexit, immigration or just turning up at the office. This will further reduce the public’s trust in democracy and belief for the future.
There is a long war of attrition being fought between the electorate and the elites, that will only end once ordinary people comply with how a minority believe they should think. With all the levers of power on their side there is only one winner. Ordinary workers will see lower living standards and unaffordable taxes for a generation. Their votes for reform will be futile. A small number of people under the patronage of the elites will be the only winners.
Perhaps in that case the way forward would be a mass boycott of any voting which just might damage them enough on the world stage to effect some change. That and a large scale retreat from work,much like many civil servants have already embraced. I don’t believe British people are as reliably supine as this entry suggests.
A parallel I would draw is between Boris Johnson and Diana Spencer – totally different of course, but both forces of nature, who were conduits for mass-scale sensibility flips, which neither invited, nor were really interested in, nor remotely in control of, but which grabbed them and rode them to destruction. A living breathing embodiment of that scene from ‘Life of Brian’, where Brian becomes the chosen one for no rhyme or reason or quality that singles them out for destiny, save one: something indefinable that marks a very small number of individuals out as archetypes – a collective projection.
Well Boris can seem all things to all people . I do wonder sometimes whether the letterbox joke and the fury it engendered among middle -class liberals crystallised a sense among northern working class whites that he was on their side .
Surely he didn’t have time to take the project anywhere. The election was won just before Christmas 2019; Covid struck in February 2020. I don’t think the pandemic is even mentioned in this article (unless I’ve missed it). The government has been fire-fighting ever since.
I notice that in all the summaries of Boris’s reign on the media, the vaccine success was never once mentioned.
And the accusations of laziness. Boris continued working while he had an increasingly bad dose of covid (remember how ill he looked in the photo clapping the NHS?). During this time he had no direct human contact. Meals were left outside his flat (pregnant Carrie had of course to leave). He became so ill he was hospitalised and was at one point 50/50. After he was discharged I think he convalesced for 2-3 weeks and was then back at work. This was the harsh initial strain of covid – he could not have been fully recovered and was probably off his game for several weeks. None of this is mentioned.
Propaganda is most effective when it is continuous, and consistent from multiple sources. Note also the part played by unattributed leaks (OK Cummings too).
I think Boris was a more gentle version of what could soon be coming our way. He actually recognised the vast inequality in the UK and believed the way to resolve it was by Conservative methods such as promoting aspiration and providing greater opportunities for the bright to advance and the weaker to feel protected. As the the Liberal Democrats and Labour are now becoming the parties of the privileged it’s important that the modern day Tory party sticks with its policies of attracting Red Wall voters otherwise they would lose representation altogether and a vacuum would be created to be filled by the far right and far left as happened in France.
I’m a red wall voter and walked away from Boris during the summer of 2021, when he was at Cop26 promising to make the working class destitute, and filling up hotels with record breaking numbers of immigrants. It’s over for the two party system, the country is too politically diverse now. One party cannot represent banker belt globalists on one hand and red wall nationalists on the other.
The Conservatives reluctance to come out strongly against mass migration could be based on a misconception . They may feel that migration and birth rate variance are already causing demographic changes and they must not antagonise Bame voters ;but why think migrants and the children and grandchildren of migrants necessarily support open borders policies ? Some probably do , but a sizeable proportion may not . Nor do migrants identify as migrants or even non – white migrants. They identify with their own particular group , unless already infected with woke decolonising ideology ,and those people are never going to vote Tory anyway .
Immigrants settle and colonise the local economy, culture and government. They will integrate less as time goes on and vote for more immigration to reinforce their numbers, while white flight does the rest. Brampton, Idaho is an example of a South Asian colony.
I am no supporter of mass migration. Far from it. However it’s wrong to assume all migrants see ever open borders as benefiting them . After all it’s not only their own group who migrate here
Boris has gone: yes, the Eton mess
has finally hit the fan;
Departed the dress-sense of an explosion
the gravitas of Desperate Dan.
Farewell the hair, the Churchillian slouch,
the back of a fag-packet bluster
the Latin tags, and, in lieu of ideas,
the orotund filibuster.
Gone for good the economy with truth,
the unbuttoned schoolboy libido
the soothsayer’s utterance without the sooth
the canticles of a faithless credo.
Only Ukraine gave a fitting mission:
For there he found himself wooed
another’s war lent ersatz heroism
while at home he was booed.
Wallpaper-gate, party-gate, promoting a sex-pest,
— blunders others suffered for in jail;
yet Boris’ pelt repelled the rain
and optimism could never fail.
For conscience was for small people, you see,
and only pedants did their prep;
and blaggers defeat the diligent
with a shrug, a wink, and quip.
But at last it went full Shakespeare
the fifth act foreshadowed in the first:
the hubris swollen to a shiny bubble
that any p***k could burst.
Yes: Boris was a joke we played on ourselves
for we made John Falstaff our king;
but when the fat man lost his way
the land forgot to sing.
And now the spirit of Merrie England
withdraws, its cakes and ale
frozen forever in those photos
splashed across the Daily Mail.
So, bye-bye Boris: the bankrupt land
nurses a hangover the size of your ego.
Why not be PM somewhere else now?
Have you thought of Montenegro?
Good in parts.
And his Cabinet of chums sat in rows like well behaved schoolchildren saying nothing? His Chancellor and Health man didn’t sit on their thumbs while he got the blame? His Home Office welcomed all but Ukrainians while Ben Wallace accepted the job of cutting 10,000 from the Army. Montenegro already has a martyr, an MLM scam artist Jesus would have chucked out of the temple.
Singapore on Thames? Don’t you mean East Berlin on Thames? Johnson fashioned a socialist woke state with an obsessional, cowardly bowing to the racism lbgt climate change National Socialist communists and their meeja Gestapo
As someone who lives in Singapore, I have to point out that you cannot have ‘Singapore-on-Thames’ if you are not willing to have the social discipline of Singapore, which Boris – and others – would never wish to impose on the British population in a million years.
I don’t agree with the view that we vote for a prime minister. We vote for a parliamentary representative, and not even a party. We voted for a party in the EU elections and had no say in the representative. The Prime Minister is determined by members of the party and they didn’t even have a say in wanting Boris out. What a crazy system with views about voting that are no better.
I always enjoy Goodwin’s stuff and this is good too. Just one caveat: it’s wrong to say “Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has leaned more to the Right on economics”. Quite the reverse. We have high taxation, high spending and no sense that the public sector has to live within its means.
The categories of left and right don’t easily map on to big state versus little state or high taxes versus low taxes. We have a situation in which the distribution of taxation is deeply unequitable, falling predominantly on low and middle-earners, and high state spending, but a complete lack of any industrial strategy, no interest in improving productivity, a propensity to import cheap labour and consequent low wage growth.
Above all there is no sense that the state has to actually work for people, which is socialism in the sense I understand it, rather than simply people working for the state.
From the other side of the Atlantic and with very little understanding of your politics – I think he is a great man. Brexit was ordinary people pushing back against elitists and he made it happen despite a howling gale of opposition from the clerisy. Soldiering on despite the mockery and pushback is what he should be remembered for. The delusional policies of elite progressives are being felt all over the Western world (just one example – power grid failures) and I remain hopeful that Brexit will be seen as the start of a global change.
I’m not sure it’s all that brutal that Brown is remembered thanks to his role in the 2008 global crash. No remotely serious person thinks Labour’s policy had anything do with causing it. And even the conservative leaning Peter Oborne praised Brown’s global statesmanship and the way his leadership brought the world through the crisis while avoiding the catostrophic consequences many were predicting at the time. Nice to have the reminder that Great Britain can still punch above her weight when led by the right person. As Oborne wrote in the Telegraph “most fair-minded observers would concede that Brown’s reaction to the events that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers was his finest hour”.
I think this is a slight rewriting of history in that Brown created the conditions for the financial crash to happen. It was the desire to increase home ownership and create more equal access to the housing market which led to the loosening of the rules. I think saving the country from what he had himself inflicted is the least he could do and election defeat rightfully followed. The Tories can’t escape either with their ill fated dalliance into the ERM and the subsequent disaster resulting in interest rates going sky high plus the many ‘Black’ days in their 18 years between 1979 and 1997. Governments and parties must learn by their own mistakes and a little humility from Labour in recognising their role would bring them more respect.
Interest rates went up in198 or 1988, didnt they? After Black Whatever in the US,
I seem to remember that Brown made sure that the banks and co. were bailed out handsomely whilst the people who lost their homes, jobs and pensions etc were thrown in the deep end and left to sink or swim.
Agree on Brown’s finest moment but not his part in the GFC. The FSA was chaotically thrown together by Brown/Balls and many senior staff left (including a couple of people I knew). Banks were chasing yield in the early 2000s and with that comes increased risk. Yet, the bank reports going into the FSA indicated that yields from risk-weighted assets were falling. Of course, this was due to the AIG effect, conjured up by the PhDs in AIG London to insure away top slice risk, illusory of course. The FSA was politicised and was asleep to risk, whistle blowers were ignored. Yes, the UK would still have been affected but not to the same extent.
Had Boris been interested in building Singapore on Thames he would have cut taxes and regulations but instead he increased them.
Cut which taxes – specifically whose? Cut which regulations – relating to exactly what? Exactly what government expenditure would you correspondingly reduce?
This article does not reflect that the Brexit referendum was about taking back control. Concern about the overall level of immigration has dropped amongst the electorate – despite the increase in numbers.
Perhaps the author voted Remain and can’t recognise the difference.
re Ian Barton :: I do not understand anything of
what you are saying.
I think he is saying that Brexit delivered sovereign control of immigration, which is perhaps more important than the current transient exercise of that sovereignty.
Thanks for providing the explanation David,
But others do.
Curious that you left Thatcher out of your “one thing PMs are remembered for” opening paragraph.
Excellent analysis of the constituency and the drivers that got Boris elected. Did he squander the opportunity or were the forces of the neo-liberal elite’s pushback too strong? The resistance has been not only from the media, tertiary education, politicians and public sector but also from members of his own party who do not appreciate the changes in the electoral landscape. Middle class, public sector employed suburbia is the heartland of the Labour Party. The author correctly identifies the core supporters of Boris Johnson’s new Conservatives. If their expectations are not met there will be a revival of the Reform UK and the Conservative Party will go into terminal decline.
Conservative MP’s need to think carefully about who they propose to the Party Members as the future leader. The Heseltine’s and Green’s have had their day. I cannot think who has the charisma to take Johnson’s legacy on and the intellectual capability to deliver the policies the new constituents expect.
It seems to me that many ‘metropolitan elite’ (for want of a better term, but you know whom I mean) create flags to describe something, and ‘Singapore-on-Thames’ is one, meaning a laissez-faire, unregulated economy no decent person would wish for. Personally, it would be a good thing if our politicians were to examine Singapore, and find a way of emulating it, especially as it has built its great success without the benefit of the resources available to many other nations.
I suspect many things might be thought to be unpopular with the electorate, or are truly unpopular with that elite, but one doesn’t have to copy it. But why imply that it is a bad example? It surely excels in very many ways, and I’d certainly be offended if I were Singaporean. Instead, I’m envious.
Huge opportunity now for an agenda that embraces localism as a core driving principle – pace Cameron.
The first step towards localism was Brexit.
I’m afraid I don’t buy all the noise that it was “the Remain establishment” that did for Johnson. Yes, they will be overjoyed, but in the end it was his complete lack of discipline and poor party management (no pun intended) that did for him, coupled with a sense that, for Johnson, his premiership was just an end in itself and served no constructive purpose, other than keeping even worse people out.
Yes, there was the pandemic and I think history will probably judge him better with hindsight. On balance I’d say we probably got the best Boris Johnson premiership we could have hoped for, which is boring but also the truth. All those complaining about lost opportunities forget that Johnson never had with the vision of the plan to seize those opportunities.
He wound up purely reacting to events, sometimes for the better (Brexit, the vaccine rollout, supporting Ukraine) sometimes for the worse (lockdown, sanctions against Russia, scandals of his own making, etc). But he was never the man to shape the narrative or grand policy, as, ironically, he could never really take control of things.
Seems to be a good assessment.
An interesting analysis which unfortunately excludes the main difficulty for the Conservative Party, how to reconcile a working class Red Wall that has been ravaged by a decade of austerity and a lack of investment with a middle class Blue Wall that demands reduced State spending because it has the affluence to go private.
This is what Boris and Dominic were trying to reconcile yet the Conservative Party seems more than happy to lose the entire Red Wall to Labour because levelling up is seen as ‘unconservative’.
Thus the only way to ensure the Brexit war is won is firstly to understand that the economic pie is not growing because the only way to actually grow an economy is with abundant supplies of cheap energy which are no longer available.
Secondly, to keep the Red Wall on board, levelling up and the required investment in infrastructural upgrades needs to continue with incentives to bring the private sector on board. The main aim here is import substitution.
Thirdly, Brexiteers need to deeply understand the relationship and the trade offs between the human ecological principles of population, GDP, biocapacity, trade, community and ecocide. It is this dynamic that drives sovereign populism and the most effective framework to understand the fundamental weaknesses and unsustainability of the EU Treaties.
Until the Conservative Party as a whole understands that the UK is one of the most unsustainable countries on the planet, the Party will continue to be directionless with its usual reliance on hollow ideological soundbites that might sound good on paper but do not prepare Britain for a sustainable, resilient, sufficient future.
And yet, what your analysis completely ignores, is the Red Wall, ‘ravaged by a decade of austerity and a lack of investment’, (you didn’t say Tory austerity, but that was the very clear implication) despite this, nevertheless ditched the party of their traditional loyalty for decades, and voted in big numbers for the party they traditionally considered the enemy. And, even after all the events of the past three years, there is *still* plenty of evidence that that trend has not finished playing out. Why do you think that is?
Trouble was it was all based on deceit. Lies about Brexit, the economy, and almost everything he touched. He told us what we wanted to hear, not how it was – or is. Irony is that Gove, Fox, Rees Mogg and others who joined in with him for their own ends now posture as saviours or savants.
I assume you exclude yourself from the ‘us’ – you were, implicitly, more far-visioned than the rest of us fools who were taken in.
Because everyone can be taken in and manipulated by the ideas of Boris, to the point where they will change their view of the world. Except for a chosen few. Special People. With piercing brains. Who can see the true ‘truth’. So bright in fact, that they need to put shades on. Which, come on, don’t be modest, they know look extremely cool on them.
We uninitiated can do no other than stand in awed admiration.
Every King, especially a World King, needs a damn good prime minister. For that to come about a damn good prime minister must first convince the World King that he needs such a helper. And the World King must be open to being convinced.
Such a shame that the ideal team – Johnson/Gove – never overcame these two simple barriers.
Johnson’s government leaned more to the right on economics? Leaving us with the highest tax burden since the aftermath of WWII?
For Boris Johnson, the one thing that he will remembered for will be Getting Brexit Done. The rest of the article is pure speculation until after the next General Election. In which I predict the Tories will loose 150 seats.
“Protect our borders” the biggest lie of all.
Impossible to forget the words of Edmund Burke:
“Before men are put forward into the great trusts of the state, they ought by their conduct to have obtained such a degree of estimation in their country, as may be some sort of pledge and security to the public, that they will not abuse those trusts.
It is no mean security for a proper use of power, that a man has shown by the general tenor of his actions, that the affection, the good opinions, the confidence of his fellow-citizens have been among the principal objects of his life; and that he has owed none of the gradations of his power or fortune to a settled contempt, or occasional forfeiture of their esteem.
That man who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends, or who losing it has no friends to sympathize with him; he who has no sway among any part of the landed or commercial interest, but whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it, is a person who ought never to be suffered by a controlling Parliament to continue in any of those situations which confer the lead and direction of all our public affairs; because such a man has no connection with the interest of the people.”
(Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents. 1770)
While Johnson has for a long while lacked moral and intellectual credibility, I think we need to cut him a little bit of slack over his programme. From the moment of his election in 2019, crises have demanded the full attention of government. Covid was all-encompassing for two years, and the energy-price shock has followed swiftly in its wake. How commentators can ignore Covid when evaluating his legacy is quite beyond me. It appears that this universal trauma, with around 150000 lives lost, has led to a conscious desire to dismiss its importance and erase it from our memories.
Surely ‘that one thing’ for Boris Johnson is Lockdowns and everything else than went with the virus situation… the single most extraordinary thing to happen in my 50+ year lifetime… why does no one want to talk about and reckon with our stupidity any longer?