Wednesday 27 May 2020

Tory MPs are just grandstanding

There are those who struggle to understand why someone who has spent his whole life aiming to take on the top job should be so willing to risk his hold on it for the sake of retaining one member of his team. But I think that misreads the nature of Boris Johnson’s ambition and the nature of the job that he thinks he’s doing. He never really wanted to be PM at all – the job he wanted was world king. And the sort of monarch he wanted and still wants to be is the absolute variety – none of this ‘constitutional monarchy’ nonsense for him. Being merely the Prime Minister of a small part of the world is a long way short of achieving his lifetime ambition, but in settling for something which isn’t even second-best, he’s trying to do the job as though it were the one he wanted. In his world, if the king says something is so, then it is so – anyone who says otherwise is a traitor.
We know from his time in school that he has always believed that normal rules and constraints don’t apply to him, and he has lived his life accordingly – brushing off and brazening out any and every situation or problem which would have brought down lesser mortals. To highlight just one incident from many years ago, the way he treated his participation in a conversation about having a journalist beaten up as though it was a huge joke should have ended any hopes he had of ever achieving high office. Being sacked for lying – twice – ought to have exposed the nature of the man as well but he has simply carried on regardless. The one thing that he has learned from all this is that the technique works; nothing embarrasses him, nothing makes him feel any shame or regret, nothing dents or damages his enormous ego and self-esteem.
So, faced with an apparent crisis with his chief advisor having been caught out cheating and lying, with his own daily lies being exposed every more clearly, why wouldn’t he believe that he can simply bluster his way through the bad patch until people’s attention turns to something else? What if he is losing support amongst his own MPs – this is a man who turned a majority government into a minority government just a few short months ago by expelling anyone who disagreed with him. He then proceeded to win a huge majority of seats in the general election which followed. Why wouldn’t he believe that he can do it again? “With one bound he was free” was the leitmotif of Dick Barton, but it could equally be the phrase which encapsulates the charmed life of the chancer who currently holds the position of Prime Minister of the UK.
Whilst observers speculate on how long he can hang on to his right-hand man, seen from his position the problem is merely one of riding out the storm until people find something else to talk about. As king, he has the sovereign right to appoint who he wants when he wants; he and his immediate courtiers have the absolute right to do as they please when they please; having to answer questions from subjects is all a bit of a bore and a waste of his valuable time. Mere disagreement from those he regards as lesser people doesn’t and won’t phase him, just as it never has in the past. Some Tory MPs are breaking ranks to express a contrary view but experience has taught him that he can safely ignore them. The Tory party has traditionally been ruthless in removing its leaders but he’s purged the party to such an extent that I wonder whether it is any longer capable of such action. Unless the rebels are prepared to commit regicide, verbal criticism in response to constituent pressure is just grandstanding.

No comments: