Melanie Phillips on Boris Johnson’s exit.
I’m inclined to agree with Andrew Roberts’ laudatory take on Boris Johnson time as Prime Minister of the UK. In particular, I appreciate what he says here:
Prime Ministers used to be brought down over great and historic events. Neville Chamberlain fell over the Allied defeat in Norway; Anthony Eden was crushed by the Suez Crisis; Margaret Thatcher over the great issue of Britain’s relationship with Europe.
It is a sign of our pettiness, and perhaps also our decadence, that you were brought down over a few leaving parties for civil servants in Downing Street.
This really struck me – Johnson himself referred to the “herd mentality” that had taken hold. When I think of some of our own PM’s scandals, they are far worse and yet…there he is, still PM. And our PM, of course, is not known for his shimmering intellect. Boris is. He can write books, make speeches, write his own ticket in so many ways. I suppose he could even return to politics, though I am not certain he would want to.
And no, not trying to downplay the things he did wrong – I just find him a fascinating character and the reaction to him and dismissal of him misguided. A couple of my previous posts about him here and here.
So I posted earlier about how we like to listen to Pepys while we are in the car. But this Christmas, driving back to Toronto, we listened to Boris Johnson versus Mary Beard in a debate about which ancient society was better – Greece or Rome. It was informative, fun, funny and I like both debaters immensely. It certainly goes without saying that those who compare Boris Johnson to Donald Trump are mistaken. I cannot imagine Trump – or, for that matter, Justin Trudeau – being in Boris’ intellectual league.
This is heartening. So delighted Boris won. You just know no one had to explain to him the history behind the holiday. You just know no one had to explain to him how great a threat anti-Semitism is, or the importance of what he is saying here. He gets it.
I refuse to be irrational about Boris – in fact, I rather like him. Whether he can weather the Brexit storm is another matter, but I like some of his decisions so far: Piti Pratel, Dom Cummings, for starters; getting rid of at least 17 ministers. Here’s a fair portrait of the man.
A propos Brexit, I though poor Theresa May was treated abominably for her efforts – I have enormous respect for the woman. I know a “feminist” who criticized her for crying when she stepped down! I found that rather mean-spirited. What was wrong with her having that honest moment? I am certain that if May were a Labour politician this “feminist” would not have criticized her so harshly.
And here is a link from a few months ago – “Brexit: the Musical.” It perhaps seems a bit dated now, but I found it hilarious. And it might yet come to pass.
He (Boris) is quite clever and funny here. He ought to teach a rhetoric or speech-writing course.