Thursday, June 30, 2016

So Long, Boris

They're coming and going at a dizzying speed today. In August 2014, I remarked on the decision of the then-Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to announce his intention of returning to Parliament as soon as he could find a suitable constituency. There was, indeed, one awaiting, the very spot where I have the honour to reside. I wrote at the time
... he then intends to position himself as the next leader of the party and will bide his time before knifing D. Cameron in the back in the traditional way.
At first all went well. Our man was selected as the candidate for Uxbridge and Ruislip South. At the General Election he was elected to Westminster. His mate, good ol' Davie Cameron, made good on his reckless promise to hold a referendum on British membership of the EU. Boris cunningly bided his time until Davey-boy returned from Munich Brussels clutching a bit of paper with some "terms" on which would make everything all right. He then shoved the long awaited knife right where it would do the most damage by declaring himself for the Leave side.

All that was now needed was for a narrow victory for Remain, horribly embarrasing our Dave and leaving Boris free to put himself forward as the man who could unite both sides of the fractured Tory party. But this was where it all started to unravel. Leave won. Ah well, thought Boris, my old pal Dave will clean up the mess. Wrong. Within a few hours of the result being known, Cameron had pulled out the knife and got in his own retaliation as he announced his resignation, leaving the "victors" of the Leave campaign to do the really hard and awkward work of handling the exit negotiations.

Still, the masterplan to rule the world was still on track, in a way. Boris could now stand for leader. His good ol' pal in the Leave Campaign, Micky the "slithy tove" Gove would back him all the way and together they would form the dream ticket.

Today that plan went horribly wrong. The Tove, deliciously, gave our Boris just a few minutes advance notice that, far from supporting him, he was going to run himself. Oh dear. Our hero is not used to being treated thus. Facing a real contest and having convinced many of his untrustworthiness, this morning's press conference turned into something that had not been planned. Instead of announcing his candidacy for leader of the Conservative Party, Boris chose to duck, chicken out, withdraw in a dignified manner, fearing insufficient support.

What will our classically trained orator do next? Obviously, he will retire to his country estates to read philosophy, write his life story and grow vegetables . Don't write him off too soon. In Roman times, he would by now be lying down in a long, hot bath with a nice sharp blade to hand and an amphora of Falernian wine to numb the pain of the slashed wrists. We live in gentler times, however nasty social media and the tabloids may become. The time of Boris the Statesman must surely come when whoever wins the forthcoming contest retires, utterly exhausted, in about fifteen months.

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