Boris,  Britain Today

Too much excitement?

The Platinum Jubilee weekend celebration ended with a febrile Monday cliffhanger.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson survives a political showdown with Tory rebels winning a vote of no-confidence. How convincing the victory is depends on the perspective of the observer.

Boris tries to spin it as a good result but one detects less of his usual bluster and  an awareness that he has perhaps burned too many bridges and accumulated too many enemies. 148 rebels have sworn to continue their attempts to unseat him and critics point to previous Tory Prime Ministers who resigned after facing similarly robust dissent.

Boris has bought himself a little breathing room as the 1922 Committee Rules prevent another challenge for a year. However much his critics blame the man himself – his lack of vision, discipline and principle, his self-serving bluster, the lazy pandering to cronies- the more unpalatable truth may be that it is the Conservative right itself which is lost.

Where the left has an inclination for moralistic doomsdayers and penitent knee-takers, the right seems to have a fondness for chancers and buffoons.

It is not unknown for politicians to feign sincerity; Johnson, by contrast, actively performs insincerity. He deliberately strips his words of meaning, by rhetorical exaggeration, ludicrous turns of phrase and the knowing look down the camera. No other politician so consistently breaks “the fourth wall” in interviews, inviting the public to be in on the joke of his own performance. It becomes impossible to hold him to what he has said, because anything can be dismissed as a joke.


The conservative right may do well playing the culture war  but a global recession looms and an electorate that faces unprecedented economic hardship will be unforgiving of any party that fails to address real concerns.