It’s time to ditch Boris Johnson, the king of chaos

Whatever the Sue Gray report reveals, getting shot of Johnson would help to end the uncertainty and unpredictability, because he, personally, is at the heart of it

Will Partygate be the end of Boris Johnson? | Behind The Headlines

According to the news, Sue Gray’s report into the widespread criminality in Downing Street during lockdown is so dire in its details that it will finish off Boris Johnson for good, like a dose of Domestos down the loo. The leaks suggest “it is so damning Boris Johnson will have to quit”. There are two possible reactions to this.

First, it is spin – news management, a gloss on the facts, massaging expectations, softening the blow, that sort of thing. So, if it turns out that Johnson didn’t actually murder his own Covid laws, so to speak, but only committed manslaughter against the public health precautions, everyone will think him a jolly good fellow after all and cheer him on as he is “getting on with the job” as he always says (something he’s not renowned for outside of certain special situations).

Perhaps the Mail on Sunday will add its own misogynistic angle and plead that during his frequent flouting of the regulations he was doing OK and avoiding trouble until distracted by a well-turned ankle or mesmerised by the embonpoint of a spad – “ambushed by boobs”, you might say. Then he’ll be free to fib and cheat his way to the next general election. It’s possible.

The second option is that whatever the spin, the Gray report really is appalling and the gig really is up for him. We can’t know how or when he’ll be ousted, because politics is a messy business. For example, he seems to have got away without a fixed penalty notice for attending the Bring Your Own Bottle party, surprisingly, and it’s possible he’ll evade justice for other offences. He did have some top lawyers advising him, after all. But then the Gray report will come along and furnish more salacious stories or some other scandal will emerge about donors or misbehaviour and off we go again.

Oliver Dowden, the over-promoted Conservative Party chairman who gives cynicism a bad name, says that removing Johnson from Downing Street would lead to "instability and uncertainty" in the country. Erm, what does Oliver think has been going on ever since Johnson became prime minister, indeed entered public life? He is the king of chaos, the crown prince of scandal, the president of peccadillos.

As Keir Starmer put it, dissembling on the grandest scale possible is the whole point of Johnson – not some glitch in the system. Getting shot of Johnson would help to end the uncertainty and unpredictability, because he, personally, is at the heart of it. Breaching the lockdown rules wasn’t an aberration from a lifetime of probity and chastity. He isn’t Justin Welby. Johnson’s whole life has been “opposite of the nature of god”, not just his mad policy to transport innocent people to Rwanda.

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If Johnson was replaced by Liz Truss or Ben Wallace, Britain wouldn’t suddenly become pro-Putin or reverse Brexit. They had a leadership election right in the middle of the Brexit crisis in 2019. When Johnson challenged Theresa May he added to "instability and uncertainty" for the country, but that didn’t bother him then.

Johnson is what he is, and whatever purpose he may have once served has since been exhausted. He had one big idea to leverage himself into power – Brexit (which he didn’t even believe in) – and now it’s sort of done, he is redundant. His gifts were well-suited to campaigning and to Brexit, but not to good, stable government.

He doesn’t make policy making more “certain” as Dowden suggests. Quite the opposite. He is unpredictable. We don’t know when or where the next scandal is coming from. His only contribution to political thinking has been “cakeism”, for which he remains the global spiritual leader.

He is an electoral liability for the Conservatives, and slowly they are waking up to the changed reality. And that new reality, that he will lose them power in due course, is why he will have to go.

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