He hasn’t learned anything at all from it and he certainly isn’t going to change.
Instead, Boris Johnson has told his Cabinet that they must suppress the row about his leadership after 41 per cent of his MPs said they had no confidence in him after the Partygate scandal.
The appropriate response would have been to accept that he had damaged his own image, to listen to criticisms and to change his behaviour – but Johnson was never going to do that.
He would have taken a single vote over the 50 per cent winning line as a glowing endorsement of his loutishness, and that is why – with only an extra 31 votes beyond that line – he has chosen to act exactly as he did before.
There will be no further reform to stop the rot in Downing Street and standards in Parliament will continue to decay under his diseased hand.
His sole response has been to tell Cabinet ministers to “draw a line” under the leadership row and get on with dealing with what he says people want.
So idiots like Dominic Raab have been going out to the media, saying there is no credible alternative to Boris Johnson’s leadership – which is grimly hilarious.
“There Is No Alternative” was a catchphrase of David Cameron’s government, that inflicted austerity on the UK – an austerity that still afflicts the country, by the way; none of his and George Osborne’s changes have been repealed.
In fact, of course, there were credible alternatives to the “Starve the Beast” economic policy that put the UK on its back during those bad days – and Osborne’s period as Chancellor is rightly derided by many economists.
And the Tory rebels haven’t gone away. After winning a larger proportion of the vote – from a larger Parliamentary contingent – than voted against Theresa May in 2018 (who, as everyone and their dog told us repeatedly yesterday, was out within six months of her own confidence vote), they are now agitating to change the 1922 Committee’s rules so that another confidence vote may happen sooner than in a year’s time.
In Parliament itself, the Liberal Democrats are tabling their own “no confidence” vote that would allow MPs from all parties a chance to vote on Johnson’s future as prime minister – but this is only likely to go forward if Labour gets behind it, and Keir Starmer is sitting on the fence again.
Starmer may see a tactical advantage in leaving Johnson where he is; Labour may win a general election against a prime minister who has been weakened by a confidence vote and by whatever failings he inflicts on the UK in the future (his new version of ‘right to buy’ will be one such disaster).
But of course the public is able to see such manoeuvrings for what they are: cynical politicking that ignores the good of the nation. How could we vote for the person behind it?
Looking further ahead, Johnson will face the humiliation of the expected by-election losses on June 23.
And then he will face investigation by a Parliamentary committee charged with ruling on whether he broke the Ministerial Code. If the finding goes against him, he’ll have to resign anyway.
And after his anti-corruption champion resigned yesterday, saying that this was because Johnson broke the Ministerial Code, it seems that result is already locked in.
Boris Johnson is on borrowed time and the best he can do now is try to salvage what little is left of his good name before slinking back into history’s shadows.
And he’s the only one who doesn’t seem to know it.
Johnson wanted us to think he was another Churchill. But he turned out to be more like Lord Haw-Haw.
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