2007 - 2021

Peppa Pig World

Many of you will have briefly paused celebrating all of the huge opportunities that we’ve been brought by Brexit to notice that we are governed by a bizarre priapic buffoon. Apparently the Conservatives have just noticed this too.

After the sea of chaos and sleaze he has presided over it seems it’s only NOW dawning on them that he is completely unfit for office.

As Sam Freedman has written for Tortoise: “Boris Johnson is incredibly bad at being prime minister. There is pretty much no one in Westminster that disagrees with this proposition, at least in private. Not civil servants. Not journalists. Not Tory MPs. Not even the majority of ministers. Prime ministers usually have some, if not all of the skills required for this most singular job. Margaret Thatcher was decisive though divisive. Gordon Brown had a great eye for detail, even if it sometimes bogged him down. David Cameron at least acted the part and could make a decent speech when it mattered. We forget, too, how popular Theresa May’s “steady as she goes” persona was – at least in her first months in Number 10. Johnson has no relevant abilities at all.”

The latest in the rolling Tory Shambles after a disastrous two weeks saw him completely lose the plot at a speech to the CBI. He compared himself to Moses, imitated a car, referred to himself in the third-person and wittered on and on about the experience of Peppa Pig World.

Suddenly the Clown Show isn’t funny anymore.

Disfigured and Transformed

It’s a reminder that British politics has been dominated disfigured and transformed by the internal wars within the Tory party for over a decade, culminating in the Brexit fiasco. Second it’s shown us that the Conservatives are just ruthlessly opportunist, they will use anyone and anything to gain power, and equally they will turn on anyone who they think redundant. This is why Johnson was appointed and this is why he may well be ejected. Thirdly it’s worth checking and noting just how strange and broken Britain is. In 2014 (and since) we were told that Scottish independence was unthinkable and terribly risky. “Why move house in a storm” and all that. We were the separatists. It’s worth recalling this Question Time classic in which Blair MacDougall utters the immortal words: “I cant imagine a serious political party would elect Boris Johnson as leader …””

I mention this not to ridicule Blair MacDougall, though that’s certainly worthwhile, but to point out how deeply strange and ******-up Britain is. The unthinkable is now reality. The rampant Anglo-British nationalism unleashed and propelled by Brexit has normalised overt and crude racism and re-framed the entire political landscape, it has unleashed latent demons.

Brexit enthusiasts (of the left and right) assume the worse is now over and that Brexit is somehow “done”.   It’s not. Lord Frost, the chief negotiator of “Taskforce Europe”, is actually threatening to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol – which would reopen the whole deal. Johnson is now stuck in a position where he either has to back down to the EU and keep an effective border in the North Sea in place, or renege upon the fundamental promise of the 2019 election: that he would “Get Brexit done”. The supply chain problems are not resolved. The trade deals are not in place.

While broken promises are a sort of trademark for Johnson as he walks through his personal and political chaos, this would be too much for even his loyal coterie.

Many people have pointed out that Johnson’s antics may well be a sideshow, a distraction from more serious matters.

That may well be so.

But this didn’t look choreographed. It looked like a shambles from an over-privileged man who has breezed through his life without a care in the world. It reminded me not of Theresa May’s disastrous conference speech with her hacking cough and collapsing stage, but of the moment when David Cameron left Downing Street. His mic still on as he turned to give up being Prime Minister he was heard humming a jaunty tune. Here was a man so privileged so wealthy and secure that being Prime Minister or not being Prime Minister wasn’t even a bother. Cameron had led Britain into the most catastrophic international affairs since Suez and here he was humming away.

Removing Johnson would be an option for the Tories if his shambolic regime continues to unravel. But there are a host of replica awful people waiting in the wings. Britain is a parody country in which the truly horrific and grotesque hide behind the spectacle of the trivial and the ridiculous.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Scott Lawrance says:

    And I thought things were bad in Canada!!!

  2. H. Neary says:

    Doing the lying, stupid buffoon trick has worked well for Trump. He may have lost the last election, but One could easily see him romping home if the money had started to flow.

    Bozo has played the clown to his advantage too, why get pilloried on failure and incompetence when a few stupid foot in it exercises will seem fairly harmless and get people sidelined from the real fiasco.

    Such a pity the electorate didn’t look at Bozo’s history before electing such a loser to lead them.

    Still, a nice hi vis vest, a silly hairstyle and a spot of slapstick, so what does it matter if he screws the country.

  3. Lordmac says:

    Boris wants out, and has admitted that being the prime minister, has cost him loads of. lossed. revenue, as he says he can earn his yearly minister’s salary in a months work outside parliament

    1. H. Neary says:

      A sad indictment to both the British public and private industry if that as I’m sure it is, is the case.

      What earthly use is the bloke?

      I can understand that some rather surprising commodities have been a success, Marmite, Austin Allegro’s , deep fried Mars Bars.

      What on earth could he bring that is of the slightest value to anyone?

      Maybe a figurehead to show that any useless idle liar who has gone to Eton can be a success in Britain, but as for anything else, and is it sending the right message????

    2. Tom Ultuous says:

      I’m sure the crypto pushbacks on all those chumocracy contracts will have kept his head above water particularly when you consider how much crypto has risen during the pandemic. Bitcoin by about 400% and Ethereum by about 3000% (yes thousand). I used to think there’d come a time when legislation would be released that would render crypto worthless because of the links to illegal activities. I no longer think that as the establishment itself is now knee-deep.

  4. Mons Meg says:

    Boris’ body image and public persona are a distraction. They keep us occupied while the establishment (‘the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised in the republic’) quietly goes about its business.

    Engaging in the ‘Ya! Boo!’ of Punch and Judy politics just reduces our political discourse to a harmless level of inanity.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      Some keen activist has just hoofed it all the way up through the woods to my wee hermitage to deliver a paper from the SNP with a photo of Nicola on the cover. It shows her with the Earth a halo, FFS.

      Is this what we’ve come to – laughable iconography?

  5. Tom Ultuous says:

    Stuck on the tightrope with his tiny union jack, the kipper, the journalist’s phone put in his pocket, hiding in the fridge etc. The public gaffes (never mind the private ones) this clown has made would see most people spend the rest of their lives waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night. Not him, he just moves on to the next bunch of fawning idiots.

    Great summary Mike. The thick alliance are already talking up Farage. If the opposition don’t get their act together and introduce proportional representation when they get in there’s no saying where this shit will all end. The thought of not getting independence and being locked in this asylum foever is very stressful.

    1. H. Neary says:

      That Bozo and Farage came along at the same point in time must equate to one of those momentous catastrophes that would seem impossible as a chance happening.

      You really have to wonder if Bozo is actually a Russian plant though. I have just seen an RTE report on the NI protocol, it is welcomed by businesses in Ireland and seen as a terrific opportunity by the US, it is the one catastrophe Bozo has produced that is a success when compared to the shambles the rest of the UK is in.
      So the clowns answer to this “Brexit success episode”? Try to undo it, and the only logical reason I can think of is to avoid the rest of the UK seeing the difference between the EU single market and the Sovereign land of romping unicorns and fully controlled borders which was the Tories promised utopia.

  6. Mr Chips says:

    There’s no way that ‘being Prime Minister or not being Prime Minister wasn’t even a bother’ to David Cameron. The man fucked up on an epic scale and he knows it. His jaunty humming was a performance, a phoney display of insouciance. (We saw something similar when Jacob Rees-Mogg lounged on the green benches during Brexit debates. ) The tragedy is that so many UK voters fall for this public school horseshit.

    1. H. Neary says:

      My only consolation is that I took advantage of Brexit to apply for my EU passport. I still have a home in the UK, but doubt that I will return.
      I suppose the values of integrity and having people in power that One could respect that I remember are maybe a bit rose tinted now and may not have been as good as I remember.
      What is happening now is beyond even the worst of what I recall through the decades I lived and worked in the UK.
      Government for the people has gone, it is just a pool of chancers out for personal greed like some kind of reality TV show filled with shallow, empty personalities acting up for the camera.

      I hope Scotland splits from the union, England will then have a direct comparison as to where their Tory led country has placed them. The problem is that England has a far higher opinion of itself and its clout in the world than reality has allotted.

      Only then will it end the Toxic, Tory relationship.

      1. Mons Meg says:

        Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          Neither are these islands.

          1. Mons Meg says:

            That’s tectonics for you.

  7. GordonD says:

    When trying to explain the success, or even existence, of political operators such as Johnson it’s easy to get diverted in to a ‘cappuccino’ response: to become obsessive about the froth and ignore the espresso.
    Speaking to people in England who are not stupid or overtly racist or routinely indifferent to issues such as political ineptitude and corruption, I am struck by degree to which Johnson gets a free pass. It’s not that they are unaware of the criticisms, but rather that they are prepared to tolerate or he indifferent to them. Why is that, and why didn’t it work for previous Tory leaders? What does he represent that has the power to do that?
    Johnson certainly developed and polished his likeable buffoon performance in running for London Mayor, but I think the crucial factor was him becoming associated with the new right wing populism crystallising around Brexit. I see Brexit, like the initial popularity of Corbyn, as alternative responses to the same crisis: Take Back Control vs For The Many Not The Few. For the most part debates about the technicalities of leaving the EU or the effectiveness of Labour nostalgia for postwar social democracy are irrelevant for how people react.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      I think you’re on to something there, Gordon. Boris is part of the populist phenomenon. By misbehaving as he does, he positions himself over and against the self-serving establishment (this was especially so during the Brexit campaign). By combining his ‘off-message’ unconventional behaviour (for an establishment politician) with a tub-thumping nationalism, he appeals to a much broader constituency than the traditional Tory voter.

      That’s my impression of the generous support he enjoys among ‘the [disregarded, powerless] people’ down south: he has a mischievous schoolboyish charm that continually lets him off the hook precisely because it doesn’t conform to the ‘standard’ politicians, who are perceived to have failed/ignored/disdained/disregarded the popular will. He appeals because he is (like Berlusconi, Chavez, Le Pen, Macron, Morales, Putin, Trump, et al) the type of leader who, according to behavioural psychologists like Antonakis, Bastardoz, Jacquart, and Shamir, uses ‘values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signalling’ to inspire rather than any particular ideological conviction.

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