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HomeNewsDolan’s Digest: Don’t bring back Boris, Rishi!

Dolan’s Digest: Don’t bring back Boris, Rishi!


WHEN Rishi Sunak awoke last week to the news of two potentially catastrophic by-election defeats, he must have asked himself where it all went wrong.

Aside from his woeful immigration policies, failure to double down on tax cuts announced by the Truss Government and disastrous party management, there is one thing that will ensure the PM’s ultimate failure at the ballot box – he is not a campaigner, and not somebody the country will get behind.

Rewind to 2019 and this is one of the very few things you could not accuse Boris Johnson of being. The former Mayor of London, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister was hailed for his campaigning skills that saw him central to the UK leaving the European Union and blowing away a Corbyn-led Labour Party at a general election.

Recent reports have suggested that Conservative members and MPs are clamouring for the return of Johnson to help save the future of the party and ensure the inevitable does not happen. 

How short-sighted could these people be? The return of Johnson, a polarising figure to say the least, would be the final nail in the coffin of the Prime Minister, and potentially the Conservative Party as we know it. Backbench MPs and former Ministers may miss the halcyon days of an overwhelming Parliamentary majority but for the British public it would be a further slide into the doldrums.

In the week that Britain tipped into a recession, it feels laughable to suggest that the country’s saviour could come in the form of the politician who oversaw the most draconian peacetime restrictions this country has ever seen. Beyond his demonstrably misinformed and misguided handling of covid, the much spoken about ‘brand Boris’ barely exists any more.

His legacy is rightly tarnished by scandal and failings. During his relatively brief spell in the hot seat of British politics, Johnson managed to illegally prorogue Parliament, become embroiled in a scandal regarding wallpaper, be the first British Prime Minister to have broken the law while in office and forced into an apology over his handling of the Chris Pincher affair.

The merits of the accusations levelled against Boris Johnson are neither here nor there any more. His ‘brand’, if it ever existed, is now defined by weakness. The former Prime Minister, who many once had great hopes for as a beacon of solid conservatism, is already nothing more than a blip in history, but one that may later be studied in the history books as the initiator of the existential threat the party now faces.

Perhaps, however, this Conversation speaks to a deeper truth within the Conservative Party that a dearth of talent is creating a scenario whereby former politicians are being dredged up in the hope that they can prop up a failing party. No more evident than David Cameron, but replicated across the Atlantic where a spiralling Democratic Party is reliant on a former Vice President as there is no one else to fill the void.

It is fair to say that using by-elections as a forecast for what will happen later this year may not be that wise. However, this time round the two results last week do feel consequential. Reform UK look set to play a huge part in the make-up of our next Parliament, gaining real traction, and it would be remiss to suggest that the Labour Party look anything short of resurgent in the face of a turgid government.

Rather than playing politics and trying to parachute in a weak former PM to campaign on behalf of an equally weak incumbent, the Tories need to focus on what a ruinous mess Labour could land this country in. Focus on the leadership’s failure to grapple with anti-Semitism in the party, the left-wing’s propensity to run the British economy into the ground and their senseless grip on the private sector that would stifle this country as much as Johnson’s lockdown did.

So, is Boris the right man to support Rishi Sunak in the run-up to this election campaign? Categorically not. Is the writing on the wall for the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party? Almost certainly if they do not change.

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Simon Dolan
Simon Dolan
Simon Dolan is a British Entrepreneur.

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