My apologies for writing another post about the contest to be the next British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader so soon after the last post I wrote about it. There may be regular readers of this blog who are still trying to rinse their eyeballs with bleach after reading about the ultra-sexy Michael Gove and his fondness for slurping a certain type of powder up his nostrils.
But I feel I have to write something about it, since the bloody thing seems to have been going on forever. It feels like the contest started back in the Jurassic period when no fewer than ten candidates existed – when stomping around the Tory political earth were such cold-blooded, slow-witted reptilian monsters as Ester McVey (gobshiteosaurus) and Dominic Raab (bawbagosaurus max). Now it’s been narrowed down to two candidates, Alexander Boris de Piffle, sorry, de Pfeffel Johnson and the rhyming-slang-friendly Jeremy Hunt, which doesn’t say a lot for the quality of the earlier contenders. Yet it won’t be until July 22nd that the result of the final vote by Conservative Party members is announced. Which means we have to endure several more weeks of this torture, of hearing Johnson and Hunt slagging each other off, singing their own praises and beating their chests. Maybe by the time the final vote takes place climate change will have rendered humanity extinct and there won’t be a Britain for Johnson or Hunt to take control of.
Anyway, for what they’re worth, here are my predictions. Firstly, I think Johnson is going to win despite his campaign being overshadowed by controversy. The main controversy was the incident earlier this month when concerned neighbours summoned police to investigate what sounded like a ‘domestic dispute’ in the flat he shares with his current partner Carrie Symonds. Actually, I don’t think what happened that night should have a bearing on the final verdict on Johnson and Hunt because couples do have rows and do end up shouting at each other, no arrests were made after the police arrived and checked things out, and ‘the benefit of the doubt’ is a concept worth upholding in a fair society.
If Johnson is to be judged an absolutely hideous excuse for a human being – which I think he deserves to be – it should be for deeds that are a matter of record. These include his antics while he was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club, Oxford University’s dining society for posh hooligans. And agreeing to provide his old school chum (and future jailbird) Darius Guppy with the home address of News of the World journalist Stuart Collier, so that Guppy could have Collier beaten up. And being sacked from the Times for fabricating a quotation. And describing black African people as ‘piccaninnies’. And describing gay men as ‘tank-topped bumboys’ and likening gay marriage to bestiality. And publishing an editorial that insulted the city of Liverpool and publishing a poem choc-a-bloc with racist sentiments about Scottish people (“The Scots – what a verminous race! / Canny, pushy, chippy, they’re all over the place… / I would go further. The nation / Deserves not merely isolation / But complete extermination”) whilst editing the Spectator. And his dealings with American right-wing über-knobhead Steve Bannon. And his lies during the run-up to the 2016 referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. And his utter ineptness as Foreign Secretary, one consequence of which was the continued incarceration of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.
However, all of the above, including the unseemly shouting match between Johnson and Symonds, are likely to matter not one whit with the 160,000 people who make up the Conservative Party membership and who’ll be casting their votes in July. According to profiles of them, they have an average age of 57, are obsessed with Brexit and believe that bringing back hanging will cure all of Britain’s ills, presumably including low achievement levels in schools. They’re generally untethered from reality and no doubt see all media coverage critical of Johnson as lefty fake news (which is ironic considering how right-wing most of Britain’s media is).
It’s like Donald Trump’s supporters in the USA who refuse to believe the mountain of evidence that their president is a corrupt, misogynist, racist sleazeball. Trump could come round to their house, steal all their money, grab them by the genitalia and scream racist abuse into their faces and they’d still be going: “No, no, I refuse to believe this, this isn’t real, it’s fake news, FAKE NEWS do you hear?!” So it is with the Tory Party faithful and their dismissal of negative coverage of their beloved Boris. (Carrie Symonds’ neighbours probably didn’t help their cause by making a recording of the dispute and later sending it to the Guardian, which in Tory minds is a newspaper akin to Soviet-era Pravda.)
Therefore, it’s going to be Prime Minister Johnson come late July. My second prediction is that a no-deal Brexit will happen sooner or later. I know many political commentators have confidently predicted that despite their Brexiting bluster just now, both Johnston and Hunt, whoever becomes PM, will have a reality check once they’re in office and will try to appease the EU with another Theresa May-style deal. But this will require time and I’m not convinced that the EU will give Britain another extension to the current Brexit deadline of October 31st.
Also, I suspect that Johnson, at least, would hold a general election soon after becoming Prime Minister if he thought he could win it. And having won it, he’d then go hell-for-leather for a no-deal departure from Europe – even if the British economy was wrecked in the process, he’d have his majority and he’d be ensconced in power. To stand any chance of winning such an election, he’d have to do a deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, who in the recent European Parliament elections stole the right-wing vote from the Tories. But since both Johnson and Farage are in Steve Bannon’s address book, I reckon a deal is entirely feasible.
Third prediction: British people cringing at how their country’s reputation has gone down the pan internationally have seen nothing yet. Wait until Prime Minister Johnson goes to Washington DC and starts acting as Trump’s comedy English butler.
© The National
And my fourth and final prediction, which comes from a Scottish perspective: it will be hilarious, if somewhat nauseating, to see how the slippier-than-a-greased-eel Ruth Davidson, branch manager of the Conservative Party in Scotland, changes her tune and becomes accommodating to all things Boris the moment Johnson arrives in Number 10 Downing Street. Davidson once opposed Brexit, once accused the Leave campaign of lying and once took on Johnson in a public debate on the topic; but at different times since she has backed the UK staying in the Single Market, has opposed the UK staying in the Single Market, has backed a hard Brexit and has also backed an ‘open’ Brexit, whatever that is. Her wriggliness is a sight to behold.
With Johnson, Davidson has criticised him for his ‘bumble-bluster, kitten-smirk, tangent-bombast routine’ and even banned him from appearing at the recent Scottish Tory Party conference in Aberdeen, presumably fearful that the spectacle of him on the podium would damage the party’s cause in Scotland. But come the coronation of PM Boris, I’m sure that Davidson, ever mindful of the direction in which the wind is blowing, will be first in line to slap him on the back and congratulate him with her famous chuckle-some bonhomie.
Incidentally, when Johnson becomes PM, I expect him to dump the woeful David Mundell as Scottish Secretary of State and replace him with Ross Thomson, the dingbat right-wing MP for Aberdeen South. Thomson’s sycophancy towards Johnson has been epic. When I see pictures of them together, Thomson reminds me of the deranged, bug-eating minion Milo Renfield in the presence of his master, Count Dracula.
Though I’ve gone on about what a horror Johnson will be as Prime Minister, I certainly don’t want to imply that Jeremy Hunt would be any better. Hunt has claimed that even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Britain would ‘flourish and prosper’, so in that respect he’s no better than his rival. He also co-wrote, once upon a time, a book calling for Britain’s National Health Service ‘to be replaced by a new system of health provision in which people pay money into personal healthcare accounts, which they could then use to shop around for care from public and private providers.’ I’m sure those words would come back to haunt him if, as PM, he had to go to Washington DC to beg Trump for a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal. As Trump has emphatically stated, in negotiations for any such deal, the NHS is ‘on the table’.
So to use rhyming slang – whoever finally wins this torturously protracted contest, we’re going to end up with a right Jeremy Hunt as Prime Minister.
© The Daily Record