Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Skin of his teeth

 The vote of no confidence result means that Boris Johnson has survived as Prime Minister. 

Johnson says that the government should now “move on” following a “convincing” and “decisive” result. Really!!

“We’re going to bash on,” said the prime minister. “As a result of this decision by the parliamentary party, which I welcome, we have a conclusion to something which has been dragging on for far too long and we have the ability now to unite, deliver and get on with the people’s priorities, and that is what we are going to do.”

The problem is that 148 of his MPs voted against him. In order to move on, Johnson will need to convince them that they made a mistake -  that they should now place their trust in his leadership and back him. Of course, he also has to convince the electorate that he is the right person to continue leading the country. 

Recent polling suggests that Johnson has gone from hero to zero since the 2019 election when voters were sold on his "get Brexit done" mantra. 

Not only is Brexit not actually done, there have been a catalogue of other mistakes, lies and U turns that people will not easily forgive and forget. 

In the early days of Covid, Johnson refused to accept the seriousness of it. Many of us will recall his notion that all we had to do was wash our hands to the tune of "Happy Birthday" and all would be well. He then allowed his Health Secretary to send elderly patients back to care homes resulting in needless deaths. He condoned the awarding of dodgy contracts to friends and family and he backed his advisor's lying excuse for his trip to Durham and his excursion to Barnard Castle to "test his eyesight". 

His backing of Owen Patterson, his refusal to sack Pritti Patel when she was found guilty of bullying her staff, his refusal to sack Matt Hancock after video evidence showed he broke his own rules. Even his support for Gavin Williamson after the exam result debacle showed that Johnson favours loyalty over everything else. 

Then of course we had funding for the redecoration of his flat  he neglected to come clean about. There are also issues about his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri that need to be resolved.  

Finally we come to "partygate" which Johnson thinks had nothing to do with him in spite of being fined 

Of course his admirers will point to the things he got right like the vaccine rollout but do those outweigh all the rest of the lies and misdeeds he has perpetrated over the years? 

Johnson may well hope to win those dissenters in his party and the public around - we shall see. I am not sure I would want to continue in post knowing that so many thought I was unfit to lead. I can only conclude that Johnson must have enormous self belief and the skin of a rhinoceros. 

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