them’s the breaks, boris

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I know. I know. I know. I know I’ve been banging on about Boris for years and I do hereby solemnly promise that I’m now trying to ween myself off the utterly compulsive habit. Undoubtedly, I’ll be redirecting my ire at his successor in the near future so I will make this the last solely-Johnson-sponsored post for some time. Probably. Once more with feeling…

Since 1721, the year of our first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, there have been many holders of this highest office that have been undone by scandal, coup or policy failure, but only one by all three. And whilst many have had their judgement questioned none has had their moral integrity, motives and honesty questioned to such a degree as that of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. So before we all get swept up in the enthusiasm and bonhomie that’s greeting Liz Truss, let’s recall some of the ‘high’ points of his 1,100 day tenure at No 10:  

August 2021 – Starting as he blatantly meant to go on, Johnson’s first move was to prorogue parliament in an attempt to block any scrutiny of his ongoing Brexit negotiations. Thankfully, the supreme court ruled it as “unlawful and void”.

September 2019 – Whilst still married, it came to light that an American businesswoman, Jennifer Arcuri, had received large amounts of public cash and accompanied the great man on several international trade-trips. Ultimately, the Independent Office for Police Conduct declined to prosecute but did state the four year affair should have been declared.

Early 2020 – An attempt to tell the full story of the Covid pandemic, which claimed over 200,000 deaths in this country, is slated for 2023 and we may eventually find out the true impact of his initial delay in ordering the first lockdown, placing his early faith in herd-immunity and ordering a protective ring to be placed around care homes that, in reality, involved discharging tens of thousands of untested elderly patients from hospitals. The public inquiry may shed light on his reported “let the bodies pile up in their thousands” comment, his continued resistance to a second lockdown and his vow to “save Christmas” before changing his mind at the very last minute. Or maybe not.

Credit where it’s due wrt vaccine development and its deployment but what about the £37bn test-and-trace scheme that a cross-party MPs report said “made no measurable difference” and to an illegal priority PPE channel that handed a £40m contract to a take-away box supplier that just happened to be owned by Matt Hancock’s former pub landlord? Coincidence, huh? And don’t get me started on the vast amounts of PPE that was unfit for purpose.

April 2020 – Succumbing to the virus himself, Boris tells us on TV that he has only mild symptoms. Ten days later he spends three night in ICU. One of the nurses that cared for him later resigns in disgust at his subsequent behaviour.

May 2020 – As his chief adviser travels to Barnard Castle, he is defended as acting “responsibly, legally and with integrity”. Dominic Cummings remains in situ. For the time being. Thank-you, Carrie.

Summer 2020 – Former fireplace salesman turned education secretary, Gavin Williamson, presides over a whole summer season of confusion over exam times, dates, algorithm-determined grades and cancellations, before going into battle against Marcus Rashford over food vouchers. His reward for such competence? A knighthood.

December 2020 – Donning his favourite Santa outfit Boris managed to get Brexit done on Christmas eve and gave us his “fantastic” EU trade deal. So fantastic that his own government has spent several years trying to override it. Johnson recently admitted he had hoped the EU would simply not apply the agreed trade terms and the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast the deal will be responsible for £100bn in lost economic output. Truly fantastic.

April 2021 – Any new incumbent to the office of PM gets allocated a paltry £30,000 to redecorate the Downing Street flat as they see fit. Clearly feeling hard-done by, Boris secretly cajoles Tory donors to cough-up an estimated £200,000 for its eventual titivation and the Conservative Party is fined for improperly declaring donations.  

August 2021 – Following the west’s military exit from Afghanistan it transpires thousands were unable to access any help and were essentially left behind to fend for themselves and await their own fate. The PM denied prioritising the evacuation of small animals in a pal’s charity. Two leaked emails proved otherwise.

September 2021 – With Brexit done and terms agreed, it was surprising then that huge queues formed at every petrol station in the country and strange that the only solution was the issuing of 5,000 emergency visas to EU HGV drivers.

October 2021 – In committing an “egregious” breach of parliamentary rules by repeatedly lobbying on behalf of companies that were paying him huge amounts of dosh, the corrupt Owen Paterson should’ve been shown the door. And made to pay the money back. However, his lord & mentor decided to attempt to abolish the entire system of regulation instead. Mercifully, he didn’t get too far with that.

December 2021 – Take your pick of cheese & wine, BYO Booze, disco-dancing winner takes it all, suitcase carry-out, vomit in the paper-bin-work-related, leaving, joining or staying parties but they all concluded with eighty-three people being fined. Thankfully, for once, Boris paid his own. Mind, he hasn’t heard the last of this as the Commons Privileges Committee is still examining claims that he intentionally and knowingly mislead MPs over what became known as partygate.

June 2022 – Sex scandals presented themselves as a rich blue vein running through Johnson’s reign: Matt Hancock’s snog, Rob Robert’s & David Warburton’s harassment, Ahmad Khan’s sexual assault and Neil Parish’s pornhub tractor violation but it was ‘Pincher by name’ that finally did it for the PM. Downing Street went to great lengths explaining Boris had neither known Chris Pincher had previously resigned the whip over sexual allegations before appointing him, nor of any more current outstanding ones. Until they had to admit they had and did. This was supposedly the straw that broke the MPs’ back and out on his ear he went. Well, to the backbenches at least. Personally, I reckon it was more because we’d all had enough Boris shtick and there wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance the party would get elected again with him at the helm. Electoral asset to liability in the blink of a political eye and various by-elections had made this clear.

So, without further ado, I hereby declare the legacy of our 55th Prime Minister to be one of dishonesty, lies, corruption and of reckless blonde ambition. As the ol’ saying goes: ‘If you put a crown on the head of a clown, you do not make him a king. You turn the palace into a circus.’