Max Hastings, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, had an excellent article in the Guardian this morning telling us why Boris Johnson is utterly unfit to govern (published in the wrong newspaper but never mind). It has opened my eyes – Johnson is actually the best choice for PM. If what his detractors say is true, then he will be truly disastrous for the country – and more so for the Tory Party. His tenure (brief, hopefully) may with any luck finally convince a whole swathe of voters that the Conservatives really are incompetent and should never be trusted with the levers of power again. And one can see Trotsykists everywhere praying that he advances the revolutionary cause.
But the big argument against this is that Johnson is so lazy that he will delegate much of his workload to more able juniors, and so the anticipated catastrophe of his premiership will be averted. His only mission after all is to sit at the top of the tree and take the credit for others’ work – when it goes right – and to blame them when it goes wrong. It is the Trump playbook lock, stock and barrel.
All this being so, one wonders who will be Johnson’s Mike Pence? Who will be the person who appears to be normal, doesn’t (generally) make gaffes and stands loyally beside the swivel-eyed one until Rapture starts our ascent to heavenly bliss? It seems Gavin Williamson is of that ilk (though not quite so good at avoiding gaffes) and he is a leading figure in Johnson’s campaign. Or could this straight man to the comedian be someone like Rees-Mogg? I bet the author of a hugely derided book on his fellow Victorians would like a top job in a Johnson government.
We’ll know the outcome of this horror story on the 22nd July. Parliament rises for the summer recess on the 25th. Three Days In July could well rival Seven Days In May (Frankenheimer, 1964) as a tale of overreaching ambition and national peril. Let’s not forget (to extend this allusion a bit further) that American Secretary of State Pompeo has already spoken of the need to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM (“You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.” Guardian, 9th June)
Bring on the revolution!
P.S. Maybe we do need a revolution. But I am not, I repeat not, a Trot.