Sunday, 31 May 2020

P.M.Johnson: how much longer?


The Conservatives have always been pretty ruthless at dumping their leaders once hey have outlived their usefulness,(Edward Heath, then  Margaret Thatcher) or proved to be useless ( William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, Theresa May).

The Tory MPs and faithful chose Mr Johnson as there leader, many I suspect against their better judgement, becasue he could win elections.  Well, he's done that: through a quirk of our flawed electoral system system, on a minority vote he has delivered a stonking parliamentary majority of 80.

Sadly, but predictably, so far in office he has demonstrated that he is not up to the job of leading a competent government.  Bluff, blustering generalisations, wildly optimistic predictions about a world class this and state of the art that, flashbacks to our "glorious" past and flattering references to the supposed superiority of the British character just don't cut the mustard when the going gets tough, as it undoubtedly has been for the past five months.

Rather than being world leaders, in dealing with the coronavirus we have proved to be among the world's worst losers.  There will be plenty of bluff, skilful PR  and twisting of the figures to try and disguise this fact, but the truth must eventually sink in.

So far the voting public are giving Johnson and his government  the benefit of the doubt: they are still between 15 and 20 percentage points ahead of the Opposition..

But the tipping point must surely be very near. Abraham Lincoln's aphorism:  "You can't fool all the people all the time," is bound to kick in soon,even with a largely supportive  press (though the Daily Mail is at last showing signs of breaking ranks).

When the pandemic fades into the background,  and the damaging effects of a messy Brexit are apparent, and Labour under Keir Starmer's leadership are persuaded to stop fighting each other and oppose the government instead, and the poll leads begin to dent, Johnson's days as PM will be numbered.  There may even be a few spectacular Liberal by-election victories to add to the mix.

Of course, Johnson's exit  will be given a good cover  story (as Eden's was after the Suez debacle), probably on the lines that his health was more badly affected by his brush with the coronavirus than was realised.  He may even be given an Earldom

Unfortunately there is no obviously competent  replacement. The favourite poster-boy at the moment appears to be Rishi Sunak - we shall see.  It's a pity the genuinely one-nation Tory Rory Stewart is no longer on the front-line scene.  

Although this lack of anyone with obvious leadership qualities which will serve the whole country could be seen as favourable to the  successful emergence of the progressive left, we must recognise that, with a parliamentary majority of 80 going to need an awful lot of by-election triumphs and bad polls to shift them.  We are likely to be stuck with a further four years in which the majority, and particularly the poor, will pay for the government's misguided fantasies.

We need a decent Tory to save us from this worst case scenario.

24 comments:

  1. Brexit adding extra costs to what the virus is costing should be pointed out. That only 40% 0f voters voted for Brexit should be pointed out. That our election system is un-democratic in so many ways should be pointed out.The 'elite' who rule us should be pointed out (Cummings uncle owns a castle family accepts EU money for the farm) should be pointed out , millionaires making the decisions when they HAVE NEVER BEEN UNEMPLOYED should be pointed out. Anything that indicates we are CONTROLLED by the wrong people should be pointed out.

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    Replies
    1. I feel and share your pain, Nigel. How do we get these truths across to the electorate who still give Johnson and his gang of charlatans a !5%+ lead in the polls?

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  2. That's disappointing. I always thought that I was in the elite. As although I am retired, living in rented accommodation and don't own a car, I voted Remain and Liberal Democrat.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there are elites and elites. Chris Grey in his Brexit Blog https://chrisgreybrexitblog.blogspot.com/ deals with this. It's rather long but worth a read. Grey argues that Cummings managed to present the Referendum debate as being between "ordinary people" and the "liberal metropolitan elite." His astonishing arrogance demonstrates that there's another sort of elite, of which he's a member: those with power who think they can get way with it.(and, so far, do).

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  3. The Conservatives have always been pretty ruthless at dumping their leaders once hey have outlived their usefulness,(Edward Heath, then Margaret Thatcher) or proved to be useless ( William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, Theresa May).

    Rubbish; it may have been true once, but Theresa May was kept on for at least a year after she proved to be useless (more if you reckon the moment that proved her uselessness was the 2017 election, which there's a good case for), and indeed survived a vote of no confidence even when it was plain that she had to go.

    If they couldn't organise to get rid of her, then, they certainly can't get organise to rid of Boris who actually won an election and shows no sign of losing the next one (especially as a fair few of the 2019 intake owe their 'red wall' seats to Boris's appeal to the conservative working class, which appears to b second only to Maggie's).

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  4. I don't deny you could be right. I'm amazed his support has held up so well so far, even after the Daily Mail has (temporarily, I suspect) broken ranks.

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