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Arrivederci, Boris …

On this organ – in the main – we do our best to avoid what might be described as “straight reporting” of headline news stories and/or sporting contests for a combination of three reasons.

Firstly, because the mainstream Fleet Street media and others supply this ad nauseam upon a daily basis. Secondly, because – generally-speaking – those that have made their careers as journalists and/or media pundits can be relied upon to do a half decent (or better) job of doing it anyway. And thirdly, there are enough means available to ordinary citizens possessed of a television and/or computer to watch live – or find somewhere a means of watching – any development of note over and over again should they wish to do so.

In deciding to post today upon the ending of Boris Johnson’s time as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister after a fortnight short of three years – I’m disregarding here any period he now goes on to serve as a “caretaker” Premier whilst the Tory Party chooses its new leader – I do so on a personal basis in my capacity as a private citizen and occasional contributor to the Rust.

I begin by stating the “bleedin’ obvious”.

Anyone possessed of half a brain cell and access to the media (as I am) could have told you that Boris lacks several elements of what it takes to make a respected and celebrated political leader of a nation.

To use a well-rehearsed phrase “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”.

I’m trying here to avoid the elephant trap of using hindsight to make a serious point.

I may have missed factors of depth and subtlety, but everything in Boris’s back story, approach to life and journey through life has wreaked of undoubted intelligence, restless energy, a pronounced sense of fun and humour, charisma and charm … but also an unconventional and undisciplined upbringing, a sense of entitlement and strong inner conviction that he was destined for great things and did not have to abide by the “normal” standards and conventions of decent behaviour required of ordinary mortals.

In short, Boris has proceeded through life like a bull in a china shop, creating chaos wherever he goes.

An amusing cove to invite to any gathering because of his capacity to do his inevitable “turn” as a semi-serious clown/buffoon – which he performs everywhere he goes – but whom (in either your professional and/or private life) you don’t necessarily ever want or need to depend upon.

Because he isn’t reliable.

They say that he has few friends and this is almost certainly true: he’s too busy “being Boris” ever to seek out the company of others.

Apart from anything else, his aversion to friendships is borne of his greater and abiding aversion to acquiring people and causes – even principles – along the way to which he will have to be responsible and/or obligated. And Boris doesn’t much like responsibilities or principles.

He loved the notion of being “World King” – and/or (in UK terms) Prime Minister.

He never had any grand plan, scheme vision or aspiration for the nation that he had developed and stood by throughout his political career on the way to the top rung. It’s just not within Boris’s nature to have one.

Instead he has always seen every issue, every problem that arises, as nothing ever to be too concerned about.

He ended up being a Brexiteer, but he could so easily have been a Remainer (had that been more likely to take him to ascend the mountain).

He has been been one of the West’s champions, leading the charge to support the Ukraine in its hour of need over the Russian invasion – but he could so easily have been a CND supporter and advocate of breaking up the NATO alliance had a different set of dice come up when he rolled them.

To someone like Boris, it doesn’t matter which of these he picked because, even when he has principles, they’re a moveable feast.

Ultimately, I’m neither for or against Boris Johnson.

As a politician, Prime Minister or indeed world statesman, he’ll go down one of the best, chaotic, disorganised and hilarious panellists and chairmen (or chairwomen) that the satirical television show Have I Got News For You ever had.

As regular Rusters will be aware, I’ve long been of the view that anyone who ever expresses a desire or ambition to become a national politician in the UK should automatically – by definition and legal decree – be banned from becoming one. I’m not suggesting that Boris should be an exception to this general rule, just that at least occasionally he has made us laugh … and that’s got to be worth something.








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About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts