This is excellent from Martin Odoni at The Critique Archives:
Now of course we have the all-time nadir of Prime Ministers. Boris Johnson has hardly put a foot right since he at last reached 10 Downing Street in July 2019. His only purpose in being Prime Minister, on examination, just seems to be that he wants to be, and that he feels with his upper crust background that it is his natural right and place to be. A bit like so many of the worst monarchs of English and Scottish history (and there have been shockingly high numbers of bad ones in both countries); first-born Princes of the Realm brought up to be King would grow up much too used to no one daring to disagree with them, to nobody at all daring to blame them for anything, and to receiving the throne when their fathers died because it was simply their Divine Right. In a disturbingly similar manner, Johnson seems to think that it is simply his right to be Prime Minister because he went to Eton. Never mind that his school reports have become notorious for describing idleness, complacency and impunctual habits. Those basic personal inadequacies only underline how entitled he thinks he is.
Johnson is manufactured in the sense that he has a public persona that is somewhat fake. His bumbling, laddish, unkempt crudeness may be quite opposite to the very straight-laced, heavily-regimented appearance of New Labour, and it is not altogether unreal, but it is played up and exaggerated e.g. he famously chooses to mess up his own hair deliberately before being interviewed. The reason he does things like this is that he finds it wins him favour with the sorts of people who, were they properly informed, would know better than to vote for the Conservative Party ever – many working class voters seem to take it as a strange form of self-validation. If a racist, sexist, homophobic, messy, gaffe-prone, bumbling fool can be Prime Minister, obviously it ain’t that bad to be like me, seems to be the rather depressing and self-underestimating reasoning.
Because they get away with it at Elections, British politicians think they are allowed to lie to the people the rest of the time too.
What wins Elections, a lot of the time, boils down to being a good ‘cheerleader’. Johnson, it must be conceded, is very good at that. It is not a great skill, and requires little intelligence, but even so, it must be acknowledged that Johnson is one of the best cheerleaders in the House of Commons. He clearly wants to lead in the same way that Winston Churchill led the country during World War II. Hence Johnson’s silly, inappropriate, battle-crying rhetoric when talking about fighting the pandemic; he means ‘fighting’ it literally, as though every time the new vaccine has been adminstered, a bomb has been successfully dropped on ‘CoVid-19 Headquarters‘ (wherever that is). But this cheerleading quality hints at the ugliest aspects of Johnson’s nature. His love of fighting talk in part stems from a barely-hidden love of violence, leading to the disturbing and bullying impulses to which he is prone.
People forgive Johnson these things because they somehow think a man, who has never had to do a day’s real work in his life, who was born into wealth and privilege, who got a massive headstart up the greasy pole by virtue of the ultra-aristocratic school he went to, and who has seldom suffered any serious repercussions for his history of pathological lying, is somehow “one-of-the-people.” Just because he is clumsy, crass and has messy hair.
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