by Will Lloyd
Tuesday, 6
September 2022
Analysis
10:00

Boris Johnson kicks off his campaign to become PM (again)

Can he bamboozle his way back to power?
by Will Lloyd
He will be back. Credit: Getty

The campaign to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister again began this morning. Johnson was supposed to be saying farewell to his country and his party, but his goodbyes, as they have done all summer, sound more like advertisements for the sequel.

Aren’t partings supposed to be… sad? David Cameron went in for patrician dignity and buttoned emotion; he ended up indistinguishable from Lord Grantham watching his beloved dog die in Downton Abbey. Theresa May cried. And cried.

Johnson is just relaxed, the most satisfied man in Britain. Looking tanned after a summer spa-ing in Slovenia, pretending to be Tom Cruise, and boating about Euboea with missus no.3, Johnson gave us routine Johnson — and disturbingly, routine Johnson is orders of magnitude more compelling than Keir Starmer or Liz Truss.

Boris is not an accurate speaker. He does allusions, gags, riddles. Rather than directly express his dismay at being winched from office, the outgoing Prime Minister says he is handing over the baton “in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race” where “they changed the rules halfway through”. Swaddle your bitterness up in metaphors and you can maintain a funny man reputation.

He rattles off his achievements speedily — he can barely believe what he’s saying, and he’s already said it all many times. In the past: Brexit, vaccines, Ukraine. But what about the future! There will be 40 new hospitals and 50,000 new nurses; more police; a new nuclear reactor built annually. New train lines! “Colossal” something or other. The words spark out of him. Every child will get a Playstation 5 for Christmas. Every millennial will be given a free mansion flat in Notting Hill. Smiling Ukrainians will have fresh NLAWs thrust upon them. All of us will dwell under the magnificent canopy of Johnson’s “gigabit broadband”, and lions will be horizontal with lambs.

Then he modestly compared himself to an enormous booster rocket, floating back down through the stratosphere into the ocean following a mighty explosion. Yes — those booster rockets pulled down to earth after repeatedly lying to parliament and breaking the law. You know the ones.

Ever the shy classics fan, the former Tory party leader promised threateningly to “return to his plough” like humble Cincinnatus did a few millennia ago. A bit harsh to refer to the Daily Telegraph as a plough, but fair enough. Anyway Cincinnatus, as Wikipedia revealed to everybody watching this speech, was a Roman statesman who was begged back into office by desperate colleagues after retirement.

This throwaway reference and the reaction to it — hundreds of chin-stroking tweets — gave journalists more to chew on than Liz Truss’s entire speech yesterday. Instead of talking about Johnson’s record, Twitter talked about whether he would emulate a Roman senator who died in 430 BC.

Despite everything, Boris retains his ability to bamboozle people. That is his master achievement, not imaginary nurses, or a vaccine rollout coordinated by others. It is also his route back to power. We can only pray that the sequel is a less rackety production than the first one.

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Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
26 days ago

What’s happened to Will Lloyd? All his articles these days come across as bitter and twisted, endless variations on “I hate Boris”, “I still hate Boris” and “did I mention, I hate Boris”?
And, even at what should be the sweet moment of victory for the Boris-haters – the paranoia! What if he comes back!? Well, probably not, but if he does then it will only be if we plebs vote for him again, Will, and you never know because you can’t trust us, can you?
And the usual rote list of Boris’s failures and shortcomings – at least some of which are widely acknowledged – is accompanied by the pathological inability to recognise the achievements. Brexit? Pah! Vaccine rollout? “Coordinated by others” – honestly, what a ridiculous point to make – of course if was “coordinated by others”, that’s the way it works, because, you know, no PM can actually make and inject all those vaccines on their own. But you can be quite sure, can’t you, that if it had been a disaster, you would have blamed Boris. The buck stops with him, right? So why can’t you bring yourself to give him any credit for it going right?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
26 days ago

Excellent post.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
26 days ago

there is prescription medication available for chronic delusion

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
26 days ago

Also I see the BBC had a sneery “Fact Checker” page on their website accompanying Boris’s speech.

David C
David C
26 days ago

Really an excellent post , are there normal, decent journalists any more or do they all carry little Boris axes to grind these days?

Last edited 26 days ago by dchipping
Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
24 days ago
Reply to  David C

Wait, are you lot all defending Johnson? Can you clarify why, please?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
26 days ago

It just seems light-hearted, rather than overly critical. If you want to see some ‘I hate Boris’ articles, compare with opinion pieces in the guardian

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
26 days ago

“Then he modestly compared himself to an enormous booster rocket, floating back down through the stratosphere into the ocean following a mighty explosion”.
…like the Challenger?

Peter B
Peter B
26 days ago

a vaccine rollout coordinated by others“.
A shameless and pathetic attempt at smearing Boris Johnson. The media just can’t let it go, can they ? Is it professional jealousy ?
There is plenty to criticise Boris Johnson for. But he was responsible for the vaccine rollout and showed the leadership necessary and it’s frankly a lie to state otherwise.

jmo
jmo
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Perhaps he could have “rolled out” a vaccine to the vulnerable while not destroying lives in the process with parallel policies? Then I’d give him some credit.

David C
David C
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Too few have the courage to say it like it is, most have been carried off in the media groundswell believing they are the guardians of truth -they turned into a mob and are fixated on vitriol and character assassination.
No PM in this intricate and complex climate is going to get it right , especially with the array of interests and media salivating over his downfall.
An undignified period in UK politics.

David C
David C
26 days ago

These media attacks on the ex PM , thinly disguised as journalism really begin to bore.
The only good part about his resignation is the fact that we won’t have to listen Beth Rigor Mortis and company droning on about perceived character flaws ,unproven parties and dishonesty. Alegra Stratton, James Forsyth and Sunak may be able to shed more light on this disgraceful episode.
To my mind the press should be holding itself to account not the ex PM.

Last edited 26 days ago by dchipping
Victoria Watson
Victoria Watson
26 days ago
Reply to  David C

fs

David C
David C
26 days ago

For sure?

jmo
jmo
26 days ago

If so, I hope Liz can live with the current decor in Number 10 in the interim, so we don’t have to go through all that again when they move back in. Assuming he’s still with the current wife!

NIGEL PASSMORE
NIGEL PASSMORE
26 days ago

We’ve had three years to closely examine Mr Johnson’s capability and credibility to be PM. After that period of time, on the latter he has lost the support of:

  1. Conservative MPs
  2. Conservative Members
  3. Voters generally
  4. He had never won most of the MSM in the first place, so not much to lose other than Alison Pearson at the Telegraph.

He has shown, comprehensively, he lacks any of the traits and characteristics necessary to be an effective leader of a country. He has been, generally, hopeless as a PM. So much so, the above are not going to forget that quickly enough to sweep him back to power in his lifetime.
I appreciate he has a hardcore fan club. However, in my experience the vast majority who voted for him, that I have met, are in the buyer’s remorse camp.
History shall be accurate with Mr Johnson, becasue it is already written and, unlike Churchill, he won’t be able to change that.
Regards
NHP

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
25 days ago

No thanks. B****r off, “Boris”. Enjoy your wallpaper.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago

Off course Boris deserves another chance, what alternative is there given the other cretins on offer?
Next time he needs to start acting like
a real Tory, to wit:-
1: Repeal the Human Rights Act.
2: Repeal all of the various ‘Hate’ legislation enacted over the past few years.
3: Massively reduce the size of the parasitic state ( the eponymous ‘Blob’).
4: Stop posturing over Ukraine, Pax Britannica’ is long gone, and it is frankly embarrassingly insincere to keep bleating on about it.
5: Horrifying as it maybe to his Quislington instinct, start doing something positive for the Red Wall .
6: Discipline his latest wife.

Realistically he will need a sound Deputy Fuhrer to achieve any of this, given his indolent nature. Something along the lines of the redoubtable Norman Tebbit rather the male hysteric Cummings would be the preferred option.

Thus far he has suffered Caesar’s fate, if he wishes to emulate Cincinnatus he will have to change his ways. Good luck to him.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
26 days ago

Spot on… but Boris does not ” agree” with your excellent priorities because Lynton Crosby will not let him, as he has to lie to keep the right number of constituents in the right number of Tory seats happy…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago

Too true, but I still expect a Damascene conversion.
A classic case of the ‘triumph of hope over expectation’!

Last edited 26 days ago by stanhopecharles344
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
26 days ago

What a sad little man Boris is

M. M.
M. M.
26 days ago

Will Lloyd wrote, “The campaign to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister again began this morning.”

In a presidential system, President Boris Johnson would have remained in power.

Sudden changes in the leadership of a country strain relations with other nations because verbal agreements with the prior leadership become invalid. Hence, a presidential system is better for stable relations among nations than a prime ministership.

Liz Truss, the successor to Boris Johnson, should take steps toward changing the prime ministership to a presidential system.

Western civilization needs a new leader after the United States ceases to be a Western nation. The United Kingdom could be that leader, which would be facilitated by a presidential system.

By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are currently Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

Get more info about this issue.