I have just read Boris Johnson’s Diary in this week’s Spectator. And boy, hasn’t liberation from May’s shackles energised him!
Not just on a roll but on a veritable roller coaster with a streamer flying out behind saying ‘HERE COMES BORIS’, he is obviously back in the territory he is most confident with – the written word – after flunking it on the real political stage.
Designed to please any patriot or Middle Englander, his column starts at full revs with a defiant no-holds-barred defence of sending the ‘Jihadi Beatles’ for trial in America:
‘Suppose the grisly pair had been located a couple of years ago in Raqqa. And let’s suppose there was a Reaper drone overhead, and that British intelligence could help send a missile neatly through their windscreen. Would we provide the details – knowing that they would be killed without a chance for their lawyers to offer pleas in mitigation on account of their tough childhoods in west London? Would the British state, in these circumstances, have connived in straightforward extra-judicial killing? Too damn right we would . . .
It was just such a drone strike that vaporised that other so-called Beatle, ‘Jihadi John’, and I don’t remember hot tears being wept for him. These four ‘Beatles’ were responsible for killing at least 27 people, and there are credible accounts of other bestial behaviour. Of course we legally justify these drone strike assassinations as preventive: to stop future acts of terror in Syria. But that scarcely masks the reality that killing them is also retributive – payback for the filmed executions of innocent people. So why do we support these extra-judicial killings, with no due process, and panic at what might happen in an American court?’
Under full steam, Johnson then latches onto the hot weather to make a neat political point about modern #MeToo puritanism, no doubt pleasing the many silent critics of modern feminist drivel. Then, exploiting the heat further he heads for the mid-stretch, sticking the knife in on Theresa May’s Chequers treachery; bringing the Chequers plan home to the ordinary man with an astute use of simile:
‘Imagine you leave some stifling desk job and decide to get out into the big wide world – make new contacts in America, that kind of thing. How would you feel if your former company still treated you like an employee? What would you do if you had to obey all the organisation’s rules, and do exactly what they told you? What if you got regular emails saying do this, do that, make me a cup of coffee, your skirt’s too short, please cough up for the company car park – even when you had left? You’d go nuts. You can’t leave an organisation and still be bound by its rules. But that is what the Chequers White Paper means. It is vassalage, satrapy, colony status for the UK. For the first time in a thousand years our laws will be made overseas, enforced by a foreign court. It can’t and won’t work. Chuck Chequers.’
Coming into the home run he segues neatly into the RSC’s currently showing adaptation of Imperium (attended by himself and daughter: a nice bit of family man positioning of the Tory grassroots?), cleverly leaving us pondering this possible historical forerunner of civilisation’s demise. Does a parallel civil Brexit disobedience threaten in response to May and Robbins treachery and Project Fear’s threats of economic chaos?
To close the newly invigorated and all-guns-blazing Bojo makes sure to remind us that all is not lost, that he, the man of the people, is back, ‘bike oiled and pumped after two years of disuse’. Now there’s a powerful metaphor for you.
A clever man and a clever communicator. If only he could speak as well as he writes – and act, as opposed to acting about.
He might also reflect on Trump’s few words by comparison with Obama’s many. Who, he might ask, has made the headway on domestic and foreign policy – the orator or the inarticulate one that followed him?
Bojo may have found his mojo but can he master the art of the deal?