It’s over. So the dam has finally burst. It’s strange how this game of consequences plays out. The albino-greased piglet is stuck, an apple rammed firmly into its lump. Et tu, Rishi?
Prime Minister can survive Chancellor’s resignation but not under such circumstances as Boris Johnson is already forgotten. It has always been said that a few resignations of junior ministers could destabilize the government. Now two of the more competent minds in Johnson’s government have resigned. Let no one say this is some kind of Remoan conspiracy: those who worked closest with Johnson abandoned him.
No wonder they looked so fierce for the cameras at the cabinet table this morning. It was like a video version of The Last Supper or a dinner with mafia bosses, uneasiness at the table palpable, thoughts of betrayal and despair etched into the faces of this most understated of governments.
It must have been coordinated in some way with Sajid Javid – the (now) ex-Health Secretary, ex-Home Secretary, ex-Chancellor. So both Chancellors are gone from Johnson.
It’s impossible to see the Prime Minister survive this one, leaving you wondering who will go next – Johnson himself or a cascade of his top team. By the end of the evening all I see is Nadine “the Prime Minister doesn’t lie” Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg clinging to the old stupidity. Indeed, things could be moving very quickly now – and Johnson could be gone by the summer break, leaving behind a huge “Big Dog” mess, with Dominic Raab handling the show until a replacement emerges.
For the Tories it will be an opportunity. You can reset, bring in some fresh talent, and drop the jokes (in every way). It will be a moment of danger for the opposition parties. For a year and more, Johnson, along with his government, has been the gift that Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP keep giving. He was and is a walking scandal machine. The job that he obviously enjoyed so much turned out to be too much for him in the end. The brief, wicked Johnson premiership will soon be over.
Who takes over? It hardly matters, oddly enough. Just not being BoJo will be enough to restore the integrity of public life, restore rationality to policy making and, please God, end the endless, exhausting culture wars. We really don’t need to scrap the BBC, next prime minister.
The list includes Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss, Javid and Nadhim Zahawi – but probably nobody who went to Eton. It will make a refreshing change. You could go for a more established figure like Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense and activist favorite, or Jeremy Hunt or Tom Tugendhat. The relief of having one of these installed would be palpable. The least the country can expect is competence and some semblance of economic policy. And lie less.
The Tories have some talents, but they lacked the right leader to get the best out of their best people and take full advantage of the huge civil service machine at their disposal. They need some guidelines, but of course a new leader will not resolve the ideological divisions that continue to plague the party. Tax cuts or spending cuts? Borrow more or less? What to do against “leveling up”? Subsidize gas bills and petrol bills or go for greener growth? fracking or not? Smash or save the BBC? Renegotiate Brexit or make it work? Reform NHS? Rwanda or bankruptcy?
There is no doubt that new leadership will reinvigorate government, but the old challenges will remain. Brexit is still here, along with the war in Ukraine and the post-Covid upheaval. So inflation won’t go away, interest rates will keep rising, a recession is still around the corner and the UK is mired in stagflation – sluggish growth and persistent price increases, not to mention strikes, shortages and delays.
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In a way it’s a poisoned chalice – a legacy as bad as it has been since World War II – but there will still be no shortage of candidates.
And Boris? The great irony is that it was Brexit that, quite unexpectedly, landed him the post of Prime Minister via the 2016 referendum and 2019 election. But his divisive, convulsive effects on his party and the country’s economy, on the brink of force majeure, also ended his tenure as prime minister prematurely.
If he resigns now, he may escape the inquiry that lied to the House of Commons and be pushed out in even greater disgrace. Even so, his standing will continue to decline after he leaves office, and it will be a long time before history is kinder to him. He will be ritually thanked for “doing Brexit”, rolling out the vaccine and supporting Ukraine.
He takes that. He will once again enjoy life as a great journalist and writer, traveling around the beach and giving speeches to earn the money that often seemed so tight to him. But he had the wrong job.
https://www.independent.ie/news/its-finally-over-for-boris-johnson-those-who-work-closest-with-the-pm-have-given-up-on-him-41821102.html It’s finally over for Boris Johnson – those closest to the Prime Minister have given him up