by Annette J Beveridge
The most ardent of Boris Johnson’s fans would say that he has not had it easy since becoming Prime Minister. Non-supporters would say he lurches catastrophically from crisis to crisis. There is no doubt that he came into power at a time that was perilous. Intent only on delivering Brexit, he saw his role as a saviour delivering us from the clutches and confines of the EU. His playbook promised freedom and success. Yet, deep down, Johnson had scoffed at the very idea of Britain leaving the EU.
We know that Johnson famously wrote two articles – one for our exit from the EU and one against it. Even he was not sure which article he would choose but the rest is history. On that fatal day, he chose his political career seeing a potential route to the role that he wanted more than anything.
Boris Johnson plunges into dissent
Shortly afterwards, the world was rocked by covid-19 and under his leadership, we suffered a loss of 150,000 people or more. The country was grieving but even with the death toll being so high, his popularity remained. It took the revelations of Party Gate for the general public to realise that the Prime Minster did not believe his own rules actually applied to him. During this time of suffering, Number 10 Downing Street employees, along with cabinet members appeared to party into the small hours. These revelations cut deep into those who had lost loved ones or who had stuck to the rules regardless.
With the country plunging into an economic crisis, with rising food prices, and perilous fuel costs, it is true to say that the public’s belief in Johnson is at an all-time low. This is not all Johnson’s fault, however, his slap-dash manner, his lack of attention to detail and his penchant for lies is now becoming increasingly clear. Johnson often courts controversy. He appears to revel in it. He clings to an innate belief that he can wriggle out of any dire situation. Now, with Putin ordering his troops into Ukraine, we are stuck with Johnson at the helm. The timing could not be worse for the country or more timely for Johnson.
Wriggling off the hook
Johnson, who is as slippery as an eel has always managed to side-step the harshest of repercussions for his actions. He may have been sacked twice for lying, and was recorded agreeing to releasing a journalist’s address so he could be ‘beaten up’, and his private life was littered with infidelities, yet still, the public voted for him. It is common knowledge that each time he stands at the despatch box, he lies. His role has been on shaky ground for months. In fact, the results of the pending police investigation could yet open the trapdoor to disaster career-wise. He has been condemned by many of his own MP’s but the cabinet have continued to defend the indefensible. Only time will tell, but the drive to replace Johnson may have passed.
Sir Keir Starmer stated during an interview on Sunday 6th March that the focus must now be on the Russian invasion. This must be music to Johnson’s ears as it is likely he will survive Party Gate. This is likely to cause dismay for those who have lost faith in him. Starmer clarified that Putin wishes to divide the west and that included the political parties. This means that a united approach is of the utmost importance. Johnson has wriggled on the hook of public opinion for months but it appears he may have been saved by Putin’s determination to invade Ukraine. Even so, additional controversy is starting to manifest as Johnson has known connections to Russian oligarchs. This includes Evgeny Lebedev whose father is a Russian Oligarch and a former KGB officer. Johnson pushed for Lebedev become a Peer.
Better the devil you know?
No-one knows quite what will happen in the future. Johnson will continue to walk the tightrope of right and wrong and now, people are watching. He will be judged for every decision made. Johnson is akin to the proverbial leopard – he is unlikely to be able to change his spots. One false move could see him falter and fail. Is he the right Prime Minister to protect us from Russian influence? When you consider that he held the Russia report back for months and has done little to nothing to allay the issues around this, one would think not. We should also consider the slow approach to Russian sanctions. Why is this happening?
Whatever the situation, we are potentially stuck with Johnson….for now.