I never bought the Johnson appeal but I understood why many voters did – now his political obituaries are being written, writes Kevin Maguire
Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercilessly mocked and ridiculed, the despised Downing St party liar Boris Johnson’s authority has gone for good.
No Prime Minister is able to survive for long in high office when they trigger scorn in every home, workplace, cafe and pub.
A mate of mine, a retired welder in a red wall seat, sent a reworking of a joke about a dead man at the Pearly Gates and was informed by St Peter the hands on heavenly lie clocks ticked only when fibs were heard.
The pointers on those of Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela had never moved.
“Where’s Boris Johnson’s clock?” inquired the man. “We’re using it as a ceiling fan,” replied St Peter.
Sacrificing the jobs of Downing Street staff to save his own skin will not work for Johnson.
It feels like when not if he is booted out of No 10 by Tory MPs worried about their futures.
Nor is he able to cower in a fridge again as the glass door on the front of No 10’s wine-time Friday cooler symbolises the charlatan having hidden in plain sight for too long.
Suitcases of booze smuggled into Downing Street, drunken shenanigans on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral and an unprecedented apology to Buckingham Palace have a last days of Rome vibe to them.
Labour leads of up to 14% in the polls are encouraging the opposition to go for the jugular, Keir Starmer justifiably accusing the PM of breaking the law and lying.
With jilted insider Dominic Cummings orchestrating much of the onslaught, there’s an irony in Johnson as co-author of his own downfall.
Labour is aware it should target the Tories as much as Johnson himself when as rising star Wes Streeting acknowledged, the opposition’s best bet’s a mortally wounded PM limping on or the Conservatives will claim they have changed under Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss.
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They successfully played the trick in Government when John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May followed David Cameron then Johnson came after May.
I never bought the Johnson appeal but I understood why many voters did. Brexit, his main pitch, was another lie and anyway even many who wanted to quit the European Union these days avoid talking about the mess. Whatever magic Johnson displayed is gone and isn’t returning.
The steady drip of awful rule-breaking, civil servant Sue Gray’s party report, April’s tax rises and soaring energy bills and May’s local elections all threaten fresh blows for a deflated egotist who cut a beaten figure on the ropes at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Lifting England’s Covid restrictions will earn little credit when he’s lost credibility.
Johnson’s political obituaries are being written. Only the publication date is to be decided. History will be justifiably unkind to a truly terrible leader.