Poor Boris

Of course I can’t be sure; but I suspect Hilary Mantel may be right to think that Boris Johnson ‘knows’ he shouldn’t be Prime Minister: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/04/hilary-mantel-i-am-ashamed-to-live-in-nation-that-elected-this-government. If that is so, what a terrible burden to him this thought must be! Having striven all his life to be ‘world king’, encouraged by his schooling and his Tory supporters to think it would be ‘easy-peasy’, and wouldn’t, for example, require any serious thinking on his part, or take up much of his time, he now finds himself floundering in the middle of at least three god-awful national crises, only one of which (Brexit) was any of his doing originally, with a bunch of hopeless ministers to help him out, and with nothing but his teddy-bear image and a few rhetorical flourishes – most of them beginning to look a bit tawdry now – to sustain him. Even his loyal populist newspapers, it seems, are beginning to lose faith. It must be awful to be him just now: knowing deep down that he’s simply not up to it. I almost feel sorry for the bastard.

Which all bears out my long-held view that wanting to be Prime Minister (or maybe any other ‘top’ job) should automatically disqualify one from getting it. If it’s just the status you desire, rather than wanting to do something for society, you shouldn’t be allowed within a hundred miles of Downing Street. Politics isn’t a ‘game’ you learn at your Public school and from Cicero; or just a ‘career’. It’s far more serious and important than that.

Of course Johnson was – and is – simply the tool of other, far cleverer people, and of the late-stage capitalist beast that probably underlies everything that’s going on just now. If Johnson ever gets to realise that, it must make him feel even worse. I don’t envy him his dotage, thinking back on his failures. But maybe young Carrie will find ways to cheer him up.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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