BORIS JOHNSON AND THE 'CHURCHILL TEST'
Gideon Rachman, "Boris Johnson has failed the Churchill test". The Financial Times. 22 February 2016, in www.ft.com. Per contra to Gideon Rachman, Boris Johnson has not in fact 'failed the Churchill test'. If by 'Churchill' he means Winston Spencer-Churchill, then yes he has. But, if by 'Churchill' he means Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill then Johnson has passed the 'Churchill test' with flying colors. Why so? Simply put the 'Randolph Churchill test', is that of the youngish, high-achieving, meteoric politician who unaccountably decides for reasons which never quite make sense, to (in the dogmatic expression) 'chuck it all in' and resign office or engage in actions which result in the very same. The list of those who have 'passed' the Randolph Churchill test include not only Lord Randolph, but Sir Oswald Moseley, and Enoch Powell. Note that all three were great orators who seemed to be cresting towards the very top of the 'greasy pole'. When each in an endeavor to reach the top of that pole in record time, did something which had the end result of ensuring that they not only never reached said pole, but were soon enough ousted from the very top rank of parliamentary politics. In the case of Johnson, given the fact that if he had succeeded to joining the 'in' campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union, he would have had almost any office of state that he could possibly desire, including that of Foreign Secretary, one may only conclude that Johnson is not serious about parliamentary politics. About the drab and boring work needed and necessary to make a success in British politics. That instead of the 'long hard slog' of ministerial office, Johnson hopes and desires that by decapitating the Conservative Party and Government by leading a successful 'out' campaign he will force out the current Prime Minister, David Cameron and be a 'shoe-in' to succeed him. Regardless of the rights and the wrongs of whether or not Britain should remain in the European Union, the fact of the matter is that the upheaval which will ensue if Britain votes to exit the European Union, with the likely resignation of the current Prime Minister makes staying in, the very much the lesser of two evils. Especially, given the fact that by voting to exit, Britain would be faced with another referendum on Scottish independence. Au fond, the point of being a Tory, a member of the Conservative Party is to 'conserve' what exists. By joining the 'out' campaign, Johnson not only fails the Winston Spencer-Churchill test but the Burkean test of being a true conservative. Quelle dommage I say as like him or not, Johnson is one of the most, if not the most entertaining figures in British politics.Mr Johnson has put his shirt on a horse called Euroscepticism. He is clearly hoping that his bet will also “come off in spectacular fashion” and carry him, like Churchill, all the way into 10 Downing Street — preferably without the added bonus of a world war. The mayor of London’s decision is certainly a significant moment in the referendum campaign. A Vote Leave group that was in danger of being led by cranks, nobodies and octogenarians will now be headed by one of the country’s most popular politicians.... But there is more than one way of being on the right side of history. The first is simply to anticipate the direction of events. The second, more important, way is to align yourself with the right causes and values — those that the history books will ultimately vindicate. Churchill’s decision to oppose the appeasement of Hitler was right in both senses. He saw how events were unfolding — and, yes, he ultimately benefited politically from his prescience. But he also stood up against evil.... In failing to appreciate the wider international context for his actions, Mr Johnson is following a distinctly un-Churchillian path. Churchill was the very opposite of a Little Englander. That is why he understood so quickly what the rise of Hitler meant for Britain, Europe and the world. It is also why he was one of the first politicians to understand the significance of Soviet actions in eastern Europe after 1945 — leading him to coin the term “iron curtain”. A modern Churchill, which is what Boris clearly aspires to be, would immediately understand that Britain’s decision about whether to stay in the EU has to be seen as part of a wider global picture. And that big picture is very worrying — with Russia rediscovering its taste for war, the Middle East disintegrating, violent jihadism on the rise, China flexing its muscles in the Pacific and the US flirting with the lunacy of “Trumpism”.... When Mr Johnson made his name as a journalist in the 1990s, campaigning against the follies of Brussels was fun. It was even possible to argue, back then, that the ambitions of the EU represented a serious threat to British self-government. But it would be absurd to look around today’s world and identify the EU as the biggest threat to British democracy or national security. The times have changed. Sadly, it seems that Mr Johnson has not changed with them.