Thursday, June 30, 2016


"The prophets were wrong then and they’re wrong now. London and the whole of the UK will flourish mightily outside of the EU since it is manifestly in the economic interest of our friends and partners to agree a deal that involves mutual and universal access to our markets with no tariffs and no quotas. Whilst we remove ourselves from the EU legal order and the supremacy of the European court and take back control of our immigration policy, with a points-based system that is fairer to all the talented and hard-working people who want to come here, whether they are the 7% of the world that are in the EU or the 93% of the world that is not. This is our chance to think globally again, to lift our eyes to the horizon, to bring our unique British voice and values: powerful, humane, progressive to the great global forums without being elbowed aside by a super-national body. And instead of being afflicted by nerves, let us seize this as our moment to stand tall in the world. That is the agenda for the next Prime Minister of this country. Well I must tell you, my friends, you who have waited for the punch line of this speech. That having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament I have concluded that person cannot be me".
The Spectator, "Boris Johnson: I will not be the next Tory leader". 30 June 2016, in
"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. And about the drab and boring work needed and necessary to make a success in British politics."
Diplomat of the Future, "Boris Johnson and the Churchill Test". 21 March 2016, in
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson's decision to not run for the position of the head of the Tory Party, and thus Prime Minister was both a shocking surprise and to a degree inevitable. The first of these was obvious, as Johnson's backing for the Leaver campaign no doubt made the victory on the 23rd of June possible. And with David Cameron's announcement of his resignation, the very next day, Johnson was seen to be in the pole position to be the next Prime Minister. Why Johnson's decision was 'inevitable' is simply that he has not in the entirety of his career shown himself to possess the needed and necessary skills to climb the 'greasy pole' that is the Premiership. He has never held any office of state worthy of the name (being Mayor of London does not fit this category), and is not by any means a 'House of Commons man'. The splendid amateurishness that is Johnson's modus operandi might and did indeed work in his London post, and it also worked in the referendum campaign itself. It most definitely would not work in Number 10 Downing Street. The prima facie evidence for this being his splendid inactivity of the past week. With other than his rather incoherent Daily Telegraph column, Johnson studiously refusing to say or do anything until to-day's surprise statement. Whether it was Michael Gove's announcement that he was going to run against Johnson, or simply a realization by Johnson himself that he lacked the requisite skills to be Prime Minister which caused to-day announcement is difficult to say. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. In any case, I myself am highly conflicted by Johnson's decision. On the one hand, I believe that Johnson and Gove have a moral responsibility to take the helm of state at this point in time given that they are the ones who have landed the United Kingdom in the fine mess that it is in at the moment. On the other hand, it is highly doubtful that Johnson's rollicking, 'sybaritic conservatism' (to quote the late great Maurice Cowling), is really what is needed at the present time (it of course being highly doubtful that Gove's ideological and less than thought through, 'leaverism', is what the United Kingdom needs now either) 1. On the other hand, Johnson's own impish, if not clownish and archaic persona are a delightful change from the very hum-drum, boring and banal nature of contemporary British politics. Au fond, Johnson is someone who unlike almost everyone of his contemporaries in British politics, can be easily pictured as operating in the House of Commons circa 1916 or 1815 or even 1716. Merely not as Prime Minister.
1. Maurice Cowling. The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy, 1933-1940. (1975), p. 235. Cowling description was in actual fact applied to Oliver Stanley, the 2nd eldest son of the 17th Earl of Derby.


Post a Comment

<< Home