Boris has united the country – but not as he hoped.


In an interview with the Observer, Sir Charles Walker, a former vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, implored the prime minister to go of his own accord in the national interest, and likened events in the Tory party to a Greek tragedy.

“It is an inevitable tragedy. He is a student of Greek and Roman tragedy. It is going to end in him going, so I just want him to have some agency in that.”

I can’t remember seeing such a general  consensus that Downing Street is a political shambles and that our top instrument of Government is currently in a mess.

Nothing has brought the country together so much as the recognition that what the public did well, public servants did badly. And that the target of a nation’s indignation is so very public, makes the focus of the public wrath, that much more intense.

The Guardian claims that Boris Johnson’s downfall is now inevitable. Even as the house of cards collapses around him, he is doing all he can to promote his achievements over the past two years. But, unfortunately for him, every boast is Covid related and reminds the public that it’s Johnson’s insouciance to the public and even the Queen, that has so wound them up.

This is in sharp contrast to the American public’s reaction to Donald Trump. There the public polarised between those who saw Trump as a reasonable man refusing to be bowed by liberals calling for him to wear a mask and respect distancing and those who saw him as a menace.

Johnson shows some of Trump’s traits ,but he has done what Trump never did and acknowledge his mistakes (albeit in a calculated way). I doubt that the Trump option was open to Johnson, mainly because we do not have the kind of blind prejudice that seems to drive American society and mainly because we do have a mature democracy.

We really value our institutions, our Queen, our parliament and the traditions that go behind them. Not – I think – because of sentimentality, but because they represent good order which is very important. Johnson has approached his job as Prime Minister looking like the Lord of Misrule.

When called to account in parliament by Theresa May, someone I have a great deal of time for, Johnson blustered. The sight of May deeply unimpressed is a defining image for me , of the breakdown in standards that has happened since Johnson’s accession.

This photo, with its contrasts in attention to Boris Johnson has something so dramatic about it. It reminds me of Rembrandt’s – the night watch

We may not follow Johnson as Prime Minister for long, but for now he is our watchman and there is no credible successor who can be plucked from his/her current job without detriment to the country. Much as Sunak appears a prime minister of the future, he is the Chancellor of the present.

The old guard of Conservative Politicians seem to have no place in a party where Nadine Dorries is allowed free rein to promote her views. I won’t give her airplay on this blog but I don’t think I have ever seen a parliamentarian behave as badly as she has in the past few weeks.

So the Conservatives are stuck with Boris Johnson until they can find a better, even if they get to 54 letters calling for him to go, they have yet to agree on an alternative.

Unlike the country, I suspect the Conservative party cannot be united against Johnson which makes things look very bad for their brand of politics. As one of my friends recently said, Kier Starmer and the Labour party’s interests are best served by keeping Johnson as the leader of a party which seems in opposition with itself.

If you want proof positive of this division , read Max Hastings in the Times. 

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Boris has united the country – but not as he hoped.

  1. Tim Simpson says:

    Hello Henry,
    I suggest that any of the UK electorate who voted Conservative at the last generl election and were aged 25 or over, would have been in any doubt of what they were voting for…! A leader who had gained a reputation of being a ‘liar’ and a ‘philanderer’. This extended into someone who shows little interest in playing by the rules e.g. the cutting of corners etc and, as you say, is likened to Donald Trump.

    So what has the UK got that is any different. I contend that it is the much despised NHS staff who sorted CoVid while there is the obvious question of the £8Bn (Yes,£8Bn!) questionable payments for PPE etc organised by the Government.

    Another European Country who has had its share of doubtful governments is Italy. Would,say, we think they were being sensible if they had voted in the Mafia and then expected the Salvation Army…?

    Kind regards.
    Tim Simpson

  2. Brian G says:

    What the electorate have now seen clearly is the craven self interest of the Conservative MPs. They are clearly seeing the lack of principles shown by his obsequious toadie colleagues. Every school has a playground bully. Most schools deal with the bully. The tory school of thought just let’s Boris run riot unrestrained. Great news for the Labour Party. In spite of not clearly presenting an alternative manifesto of policies Labour ( and Liberal Democrats ) will enjoy a major success in the May elections.

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