Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Theresa, it's too late. Boris has already won...

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
I've got to admit that I've never been a fan of our Foreign Secretary. I tend to prefer gravitas over 'personality' and competence over an ability to dissemble. But what fascinates me it why, despite a history for which the word 'chequered' seems almost inevitable, and a relative lack of achievement, Boris Johnson is considered by so many to be a credible leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

And then you see the way that he has done Theresa May like a kipper and you think, "Gosh, what a cunning bastard!". Yes, the Prime Minister is notionally in charge, but you hardly think that she's in control, especially as the sheer horror of negotiating the promised lotus land is becoming ever more apparent and the  inevitable compromising starts.

By laying down his red lines, most of which have as much chance of being met as I do of opening the batting for England this winter, he sets her up for failure knowing that there is no personal risk. If she decides to follow his lead, he is the hero, defending the notion of a hard Brexit from a vacillating leader. If she doesn't, and it goes wrong, as it probably will anyway, she gets to be the sacrificial goat and he is ideally placed to be leader.

At least, so he thinks. He may even be right. I do hope not.

It says a lot for the state of the modern Conservative Party that he is a credible alternative though. After all, he has issues with truth and fidelity, is as tactful as a rhinoceros with toothache and tends to look as though he has been dragged backwards through a hedge. His lack of self-awareness has caused him to imaginatively insult allies and enemies alike. You would like to think that, amongst the ranks of senior Conservatives there was someone who could do better, even if Andrea Leadsom would be worse.

But what intrigues me most is the answer to the question, "what does Boris believe in?". With David Cameron, you sensed that the answer was, whatever was broadly popular, with a veneer of social liberalism. I'm not even sure that Boris comes with a veneer.

Nevertheless, he's played a blinder this week, as all that anyone can talk about is him. And, as far as the members in the country are concerned, as long as he can get the nominations to run (and if Dan Poulter's supporting him, it seems unlikely to be a serious obstacle), he can have every reason for optimism.

And if you thought that this country was becoming a joke already...

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