Boris Johnson is a man who only wants one thing. The Conservatives must decide if they want it too

The flaxen-haired wrecking balloon in the vomit-coloured shorts is swinging in again. Do the Conservatives want to be demolished? 

Tom Peck
Monday 02 October 2017 18:36
For someone who wishes to be remembered as a man of great consequence, it is remarkable how inconsequential his fitness regime appears to be
For someone who wishes to be remembered as a man of great consequence, it is remarkable how inconsequential his fitness regime appears to be

We can go through the motions if you like.

A maximum two-year transition. No payments for access to the single market. No acceptance of new EU regulations in order to access the single market.

They are Boris Johnson’s “red lines” on Brexit, as generously set out in The Sun newspaper without anyone having asked him to do so, making his Prime Minister’s already impossible job that much more difficult.

We could say why they matter, how they contrast with the Government’s position, or the EU’s, but none of those questions really matter.

We could wring our hands over whether the Prime Minister should sack him or not sack him. We could debate endlessly about the optimum political feng shui positioning of a tent and a man that can’t stop pissing.

But it would all be to miss the point.

Marxism has been an unlikely trope of Conservative Party conference, as various cabinet figures have sought to scare the public out of their growing crush on Jeremy Corbyn, so why don’t we have a Marxist analysis of Boris Johnson?

Marx went to great lengths in his lifetime to point out he was an economist and nothing else, not a historian, not a political philosopher of anything of that nature.

For Marx, economics trumped all. Systems of government, historical events, the comings and goings of presidents and prime ministers, wars and the peace that followed them were the “superstructure”. They were the visible events that were driven by the “base” – the cold economic realities that drove all.

To worry too much about what Boris Johnson says and does – be it campaign for Leave, write 4,000-word articles for The Telegraph or give wildly unhelpful interviews to The Sun newspaper – is to obsess over superstructure.

The base, the force that drives all, is to become prime minister.

In Marxist economics, the base is blind to human suffering. It is merely a machine.

It is an appropriate analogy, and an appropriate word too. It is long years since the Foreign Secretary’s ambition unshackled itself from anything that resembled a sense of shame or dignity.

It is this one man’s base instincts that, almost beyond any other human of natural force, will shape the economic realities of our little lives.

You do not need even to know that Boris Johnson is a man who has twice been sacked for lying to feel that nagging sense that his words and actions only make sense when seen not as anything resembling anything like truth or conviction. They are shifting chess pieces, playing a grander game.

So many voices at the Conservative Party conference, which is again haunted by that familiar spectre of a flaxen-haired wrecking balloon in vomit-coloured shorts, seem determined to speak to the superstructure.

They plead for unity. They say the party must “come together”. Some of the more mature among them seem struck with broken-hearted desperation for their party to act like grown-ups and just get on with this near impossible job of taking Britain out of the European Union.

On Tuesday, the wrecking ball will speak. It will be more superstructure. But the Conservatives, frankly, shouldn’t bother listening, and should instead ask themselves one question: do they want this man to lead them, or not?

If they decide they do not, then their only hope is to raise their own ambition to meet the blond base instincts in front of them.

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