With prime time TV at his mercy, Boris Johnson was just a smirking Gremlin. He will dissolve on contact with the truth

After an hour in the glare of the studio it's clear yet again that he hasn't got a clue what to do about Brexit, but the Tory party is long past caring 

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Tuesday 09 July 2019 22:51 BST
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt clash during televised debate: 'You haven’t answered any of my questions', says Hunt

It started two minutes late, so it is hard to say whether the angry woman standing in the street screaming, “I don’t want you! Nobody wants you!” was officially part of ITV’s Britain’s Next Prime Minister or merely the end of Emmerdale.

Either way, it was downhill from there, and very fast indeed.

It is all getting a bit real now, this national joke, isn’t it? One of these guys really is going to be prime minister in two weeks time, and it isn’t going to be Jeremy Hunt either.

Your entry level madness in all this is that it’s a fully North Korean experience. All the outward accoutrements of democracy, without any of the actual democracy, unless you’re one of the 160,000 highly reactionary pensioners who can afford to pay the Tory party membership fees required to have a say in your country’s future.

But after 55 minutes of bluster, evasion, over-talking and the glaringly obvious reality that neither of them have the first clue what to do about Brexit, it almost comes as a relief that, for the time being, virtually none of us are required to vote for either of them.

Not a word either candidate says matters anymore. That boat sailed long ago. When Boris Johnson stares down the barrel of the camera and says he is going to, “Restore this country’s reputation around the world,” it doesn’t matter in the slightest that he is a well-known joke in every capital city in Europe and the rest of the world, the White House aside.

When he says we’ll leave the EU on 31 October, “do or die”, but then smirks his way through the fully six times he was asked whether he’d resign if he didn’t, that doesn’t matter either.

It doesn’t matter that he can say he “resigned over the withdrawal agreement” and then just stand there, fully brazening out reality, which is that having resigned over it, he then voted for it.

No one cares that he won’t say whether or not he’ll prorogue parliament. It doesn’t matter that this, in his own words, is his Brexit plan: “When the EU understands that we are ready for no deal, that we are prepared, then they will give us the deal that we need.”

When they see we don’t need a deal, then we’ll get the deal we need. That’s it. That’s all there is.

It doesn’t matter, in other words, that he is so transparently full from the crown to the toe topful of the direst garbage.

It doesn’t matter that he shouts over the top of the debate host, Julie Etchingham, as she tries five times to ask him to be quiet. There is nothing there. But no one cares. He has no plan, he has no nothing, but he will win so easily because he never answers a question. He is a Gremlin for whom the truth is sunlight. He would melt if it ever touched him.

It will do in the end, of course. But it’ll be too late for all of us by then.

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