At long last, the seemingly inevitable yet always impossibly elusive has finally occurred. Boris Johnson has tendered his resignation as Prime Minister. Sort of.
How long he hopes to cling on (and precisely why, at this stage) is a mystery known only to him, but his last departure is surely imminent. All that remains is for the sequence of trolls and gremlins responsible for facilitating his squalid reign to parade before us, each boasting their own grotesque selection of wares. I’m eagerly anticipating a healthy display of back-stabbing and mud-slinging before one sullied victor slimes atop the heaving pile of decaying bodies to lead us boldly onwards. Already the front-runners have formed into two loose camps, which I’ll neatly coin ‘Humans’ (Sunak backed by Raab, Shapps, etc.) vs. ‘Reptiles’ (Truss backed by Rees Mogg, Dorries, etc.)
Plus, we really have to spotlight Andrea Jenkyns, the new education minister, giving the middle finger to a crowd. If it were written in a dystopian novel about a hellish future in which a government openly disregards the people it supposedly represents, it would be considered unrealistic.
So, before we cast our gaze to a gloriously hopeful future (in which, for the third time in six years, the public will be excluded from the PM selection process), let’s reminisce over beloved and fallen hero Boris Johnson. Bravely seizing control from Theresa May, he promised to Get Brexit Done. Tick one off the checklist, because he certainly delivered. And from his bullish negotiating, the UK has never before enjoyed such economic and social prosperity. Everyone’s thriving.
It’s a shame, then, the most powerful aspect of his legacy will likely be his lockdown parties. In one fitting tableau, it exemplified the culture of hedonism and debauchery he giddily oversaw, alongside his utter contempt for the British public. And his response to being caught? Quintessential Boris. Shameless and unapologetic, hurling whichever yes-man was in the vicinity under the bus without a moment of guilt. They understood, of course, their only value was as cannon fodder.
We should at least acknowledge his masterful handling of the pandemic. By his policies, Britain enjoyed almost no cases or deaths, whilst additionally seeing businesses boom thanks to a keen grasp of priorities. We would never hopelessly swing from lockdowns to government-endorsed plans to pack restaurants. He was so successful, in fact, he really deserved a little time off to let his dishevelled locks down and wipe the pallor from beneath his eyes.
In reality, crashing from scandal to scandal, we never really saw a proactive Boris at the helm. He shall remain an enigma, devoid of actual policies besides the hopelessly naïve yet frequent desire for rampant government spending quixotically matched with tax cuts. I wonder if we will ever witness his vision for levelling-up. I wonder especially because even he didn’t know what they vision was. As we hurtle towards an economic crisis, Bank of England policy-makers appear to have been left in the lurch because he couldn’t really be bothered to figure out what should be done. Perhaps his forced voluntary resignation was well timed. Now he can settle into the lucrative life of babbling through speeches to whichever business wants to roll him out. His true calling.
Why do the hard thinking when vacuous posturing is all that’s required? Take his decisive stance on the migrant crisis. He stepped up and said, let’s leave asylum seekers where they are. Not my problem. He was even so bold as to extend this into abandoning allies in Afghanistan. But don’t you worry, he still made room for the dogs and the cats. They’re fleeing persecution and threats of death? Conditions are so bleak they’ll desperately attempt dangerous journeys and channel crossings anyway? Send in the navy. That will exacerbate the problem? Oh well. At least it will look tough. We can always ship asylum seekers to another dictatorship, and all it will cost is a lot of taxpayer money and our reputation on the global stage of having even an iota of compassion. It still hasn’t worked? Well, I’m out of here anyways. To be fair, credit for this fantastic solve has to be shared with Priti Patel.
Alas, Boris is gone, kindly gifting his successor an ongoing pandemic that’s effectively been ignored, a lack of faith in the workings of government, and a raging economic crisis partly caused, on reflection, by actually Not Getting Brexit Done. Thankfully, the deal never really meant anything, and the EU won’t mind if we keep shredding agreements as we see fit. I’m with Kier Starmer here. After six years of chaos and unanswered questions, why bother having another referendum? I wasn’t even allowed to vote in the last one, so my opinion shouldn’t be considered now either.
All is not lost. Boris wouldn’t be Boris without leaving us, the public he so loathes, without a parting gift. One last juicy scandal. He’s facing fresh allegations of attempting to employ a woman who claimed she was in a sexual relationship with him whilst London Mayor. The push for her to receive a job came in 2017, when he served as foreign secretary, having also tried to secure a role for now-wife Carrie, with whom he was then having an affair. The woman, a graduate in her twenties, even told Boris she felt uncomfortable about their relationship. He, in 2008 when the affair occurred, was married with four children. This, of course, is Johnson’s modus operandi. He also helped secure Jennifer Arcuri, a US businesswoman, taxpayer-funded business trips whilst he was London May, whilst Arcuri admitted to having an affair with Boris.
It’s delightfully apt that he should finally be toppled by unresolved sexual harassment complaints surrounding Chris Pincher, lying about his knowledge and letting abuses happily proceed. Boris is not solely responsible for many of these improprieties, not least because they occurred before his leadership. He was responsible, however, for cultivating an environment in which abusers could flourish without fear. Labour MP Luke Pollard commented that parliament is “not a safe place to work” given the “seemingly endless list of allegations of sexual misconduct by MPs”.
Thanks for that, Boris.
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