Another dead cat! And the biggest and deadest so far. Not that I’m disputing that there’s a dangerous crisis emerging on the Russia-Ukraine border; but Boris is obviously using it just now to divert attention from his own problems, which he can paint as a distraction in themselves from these much weightier matters.
That seems to be his and his allies’ main line of defence currently: that it’s his critics who are trivialising politics by concentrating on his ‘parties’, rather than on the ‘big’ decisions: which he has always ‘got right’. That, of course, is a lie in itself (see the recent cross-parliamentary committee report on the government’s initial response to Covid); but in Boris’s post-truth world the mere claim is the only thing that matters. (He’s still maintaining that his government is building forty new hospitals, and that the infamous slogan on the side of the Brexit ‘battle-bus’ was justified.)
This latest ruse – the Ukrainian one – is risible because, as well as obviously using the crisis to get him out of a hole, he’s implying that a phone call from him to Putin, followed by a visit to Moscow by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, can have any influence on the situation at all. That might cut some ice with what Jeremy Paxman has called the ‘harrumphers’ in the Conservative party, still clinging on to the tatters of their old imperial ermine; but it comes over as ridiculous – even embarrassing – to those of us who have reconciled ourselves (quite happily) to Britain’s having become just an ordinary nation once again: and even more ordinary now she’s left the EU. On her own, Britain can have almost no positive influence on world affairs. Will Putin even bother to take Boris’s call?
On Johnson’s lies generally, and the wider damage they are doing to Britain’s governmental processes, Jonathan Freedland has an excellent piece in today’s Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/28/sue-gray-report-britain-liar-met-police-partygate-report. ‘Partygate’ is not trivial – just to do with parties. The culture it reveals is fundamentally destructive of good government, and of people’s acceptance of the same. It has the same malignant effect on democracy as a lie can have on a marriage. In other words, his lying is the ‘invisible worm’ at the heart of Blake’s sick Rose. Which is one reason – of many – why Boris has to go.