Thursday, 10 October 2019

Johnson's super power?

When Boris Johnson formed his cabinet after being selected as the leader of his party, it was widely reported that all of those appointed had been asked to confirm that they would, if necessary, support the UK leaving the EU without an agreement.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that a number of them had their fingers crossed behind their backs as they duly confirmed that they would.  They had assumed that the PM was just bluffing, and that they would never be called upon to honour their commitment.  And indeed, that was probably what he led them to believe – he has, after all, been almost consistent in his insistence that the EU members would agree to destroy their own internal market for the benefit of the UK if only they truly believed that the alternative was for the UK to press its own self-destruct button.
Whether he really believes that is an open question, not least because I’m not sure that he really believes anything other than that he is born to rule.  A bigger question is what one earth possessed so many members of his own party to believe what he was telling them, given his long record of having what might euphemistically be called a ‘complicated’ relationship with the truth.  Worse still, they’re still at it.  Yesterday, Damien Green and a few of his mates went to meet the PM to make it clear that there are a large number of Tory MPs who will not support any move for the party to fight the forthcoming election on a ‘no-deal’ platform.  After the event, they claimed to have looked him in the eye as he pledged that the party would not shift to a no deal position, despite the lengthy briefing issued from ‘an anonymous source’ in his office the previous day declaring that that was exactly what they would do.  And they believed him.
I don’t know what it is, but Johnson certainly has something about him.  What is it that enables apparently rational and thinking people to have a meeting with a proven inveterate liar, who has a habit of saying the first thing that comes into his head and then saying the opposite later, to come away from a meeting with him believing that they, uniquely, and despite their own previous experience to the contrary, have extracted an honest statement from him?  Perhaps I’m being too kind in my description of them as ‘apparently rational and thinking’.

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