What I do know is that the Conservative Party has almost certainly lost the next election and that every day Johnson remains in power, that defeat will be more humiliating.
Ferenc Gyurcsány made a terrible mistake with his infamous Balatonöszöd speech. But his decision to remain in office, his shameless refusal to resign afterwards, was as great a mistake, if not greater. Fidesz’s two-thirds majority victory in 2010 was in large part the result of the hatred and frustration almost every Hungarian felt towards him. Of course, I doubt that the well-paid advisors around the Conservative Party know anything about Hungarian politics.
I grew up in the UK, so I was well aware that it was never a country of perfection. When I worked in Hungary in the late eighties, observing the rendszerváltás, I did mention that not everything was flawless in the West. I was laughed at, either because they thought I was joking or that I was mad. It took about twenty years for the truth to sink in.
My writing is often slammed as too cynical and pessimistic. But even I can’t believe what has happened to the UK. I honestly never thought we could sink to these depths. Boris Johnson has single-handedly lowered standards in public life to zero. He is quite possibly the worst Prime Minister we’ve ever had, certainly the worst in my lifetime. Granted, everyone in parliament is guilty. The dither and mess over Brexit made it plain that the entire political class in Westminster is a waste of space. No one in the House of Commons seems to have the common sense or political nous to organize a dinner party, let alone matters of state.
Ageing is largely a process of disillusionment. Some uncomfortable truths are rubbed in your face. Remember your classmates at school? The lazy, the stupid, the dishonest, the greedy, the weak, the simply useless? Yes, these are the characters running the country. You discover the political class, tragically, is no better than anyone else. And possibly worse.
At the very least a pretence of decency or honour used to exist in British politics until the era of Boris Johnson. If you were caught misbehaving, you resigned. You’d probably be back in a year or so, or given a cushy number somewhere. Boris Johnson has reduced Downing Street’s reputation to that of a banana republic.
What’s funny about Boris’ calamitous premiership is that it was entirely predictable. You could really see it coming. Take a glance at his life story. An indefatigable history of bare-faced lying, dishonesty and cavalier performance. Ask anyone who worked with him. Did he do a good job over COVID, as his last Goebbels-like supporters insist?
No. Absolutely not. The government only handed over money to its chums and partied and shagged. Have they been held accountable in any way? Of course not: the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, DBE QPM has made her career by killing Brazilian electricians and grovelling to power. The Metropolitan Police spent their time during lockdown bullying pensioners off park benches (oh and a bit of kidnapping, rape and murder). The fact that the police have finally started an investigation is only because Downing Street has approved it in the hope it will be dragged out so long that voters will have forgotten Johnson’s hypocritical behaviour. They won’t.
During COVID the UK was saved by Amazon, Tesco, doctors, nurses, the pharmaceutical companies, corner shops, those on low incomes working wretchedly hard. Johnson’s administration was a horde of carousing bystanders, making the citizens’ lives miserable by not letting them visit dying relatives.
Johnson remains the best orator in parliament. He can talk about anything, at any length, effortlessly. He can commandeer the air around him to good effect. He can be entertaining and engaging, as all successful conmen have to be. I rated his defence of going to a party in Downing Street while the country was locked down as quite brilliant. He believed it was ‘a work event’. A wonderfully inventive lie, but not one that anyone in the UK believes.
They have damaged themselves irreparably by sticking with him this far. I’d wager they will be in the wilderness for years now. Reluctantly, I voted for Brexit and the Conservative Party. Now I’d vote for Islamic State to get rid of them, and I know I’m not alone. Boris Johnson shouldn’t have been left in charge of a hamster, let alone a country.