the cult of boris

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How many times does this need to happen? Sorry. I can’t hold my tongue any longer and apologise in advance. Fans and supporters of our woeful, disreputable prime minister should look away now. How much more evidence do we need that Boris Johnson has complete contempt for both the rule of law and for the dignity such high office warrants? Sorry. Again.

The list of his lies, misdemeanours, scandals and poor judgement-calls continues to grow unabated: from refusing to tell us who first paid for the refurbishment of the Downing Street apartment to breaking his manifesto pledge and slashing the UK’s aid budget; from playing fast and loose with tax-payers money during the Arcuri affair to the blatant racism of his sloppy journalism; from the seeding of Covid in nursing homes and the mismanagement of the pandemic to the establishment of a fast-track contract allocation mechanism for ministers’ pals; from his illegal suspension of parliament to the barrel of Brexit lies that led to that particular moment; from last week’s Owen Paterson/parliamentary standards debacle to this week’s Geoffrey Cox expose; from leaving Cop26 in a private jet in order to have dinner at the Garrick Club with chum and long-time climate denialist, Charles Moore.

Boris’s response is to breezily ignore all of this and attempt to counter the vacuum with joke-filled vaudeville routines which, to many, is facile, immature and just plain silly. Even the free market Adam Smith Institute, no left-wing think-tank, called his rhetoric “economically illiterate”. However, that nothing ever seems to stick is what infuriates the most and the PM’s character and misbehaviour appears already ‘priced-in’ by the majority of the electorate. Mind, there’s previous. Robert Walpole, the first in the job, had a mistress twenty-five years his junior and described himself as “no saint, no Spartan, no reformer”. Asquith spent legendary long afternoons playing bridge with pretty girls, while Lloyd George was an openly acknowledged crook and sex-pest. Gladstone, one of the great parliamentarians, was never happier than when redeeming women-of-the-night or penning long-winded commentaries on Homer. Remind you of anyone?

I personally do believe character matters and remain optimistic that his chickens will eventually come home to roost, albeit later than sooner. Or maybe the real scandal lies with us, the electorate, and our ability to tolerate, to laud such a capricious, self-centred king of the world with few beliefs and a style that should have palled years ago. For allowing this situation to continue and prosper, shame on us all.