Boris Johnson’s Trumpian ways

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There’s nothing quite so predictably draconian as the lengths serial liars and narcissists will go to when trying to save themselves. They will happily destroy your individual rights or even democracy itself in order to hang on to power. To them, all other considerations aren’t just secondary, they are sacrificed without so much as an ounce of regret. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. This time I’m talking about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who looks more and more like Trump with each passing day.

Johnson is now facing a confidence vote in Parliament because of the scandal created when it was discovered that he illegally attended a party during Covid-19 lockdown. A confidence vote is a parliamentary procedure that is automatically triggered when 15% or more of a party’s members send letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee.

Confidence votes are historically fatal no matter the outcome. Former UK Prime Ministers Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher both faced confidence votes that they won, but they were out of office within a year anyway. It’s like the old grim medical joke, “The operation was a success but the patient died.”

It has recently come to light through Conservative MP William Wrag that Johnson partisans have now taken to intimidating Tory backbenchers who may be contemplating letters of no confidence to the 1922 chair. Those intimidations have included everything from pressure to deny their constituents government benefits to out and out blackmail. In other words, some elderly grandmother may suffer having to decide between eating and heating because Boris Johnson cannot let go of power.

Johnson refuses to do the honourable thing and fall on his sword. Instead he continues to parrot the tired refrain that we should all wait for Cabinet Office permanent secretary Sue Gray’s report on the matter, which will be published next week. Johnson also thinks MP backbenchers should hold fire on confidence letters until the report is published. Rumours suggest that Johnson knows something about Ms. Gray’s report that the rest of us don’t, and the fix may already be in.

Johnson fancies himself something of a Churchill. Like his hero, Johnson hoped to leave a similarly dramatic and unique stamp on British politics. As things are happening that stamp is looking more and more like Neville Chamberlain’s.

   

Indeed, a famous quote that was used on Chamberlain (originally used by Oliver Cromwell addressing the Rump Parliament) was recently recycled by distinguished Tory MP David Davis, who told Johnson in the middle of a crowded Parliament, “You have sat there too long for all the good you have done, in the name of God go.” And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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