IT GIVES me no joy to say so, but we at TCW called it right on Boris Johnson from the start. We always averred that he was unfit for office in character and competence, in a way that was different from his predecessors. We were also the first to mark him out as the Prime Minister who’d shackled our liberty and blighted our futures, bottling his numerous opportunities to end his ineffective and deeply destructive lockdown policies. He was, we said in May, a truly terrifying disappointment.
Even then it was hard to imagine that he could get worse. But he did. In mid-November we prayed that someone would grab the steering wheel from his control: in this brilliant article Daniel Miller describes how Johnson ‘is the animating spirit of a government combining incompetence, corruption and mendacity in equal measure’ and how the last twelve months have echoed the destructive patterns of his personal life.
Meanwhile dissenters and sceptics have watched aghast and powerless as parliamentary opposition collapsed, bringing another national lockdown on December 2, and now, with MPs out of the way, the most ruthless of advents imaginable – Johnson’s cruel ‘Christmas is cancelled after all’ pantomime.
Under the cover of Covid, Johnson, this once economic liberal, has shown more of his disturbingly destructive nature – pushing through an extreme state-controlled energy plan that will impoverish us all.
All the while, on his watch, the secular world of woke has taken its vicious hold of private corporations as well as the institution of the state, clamping down on freedom of expression and dissent whether on Covid or on climate. Scottish-style hate speech legislation is under consultation even as I write.
Before the latest ‘mutant variant’ scene of the Boris Horror Show, I invited a number of TCW’s writers to give me their brief assessment of Boris Johnson’s year since his election victory just over a year ago with a majority of 80. Here they are:
In the autumn of 2019, I would stride out of my law lectures at 7.30pm, perch in the Beer House with my bottle of lager, and wait for my train. I would excitedly watch parliamentary debates and white-knuckle votes streaming live to my phone. Would Brexit ‘get done’? Would Johnson win a general election? As a mature student, I was fascinated, if frustrated, by the Supreme Court pronouncements, the legal and political poker-playing, and, above all, the courage of Johnson in taking it all on.
One year later, my fascination has vanished, I am prevented from attending my university, I cannot sit in any pub with a bottle of beer, and I avoid watching parliamentary processes as it all makes me too angry. The Supreme Court now engenders only disdain, and my love of the law is diminished. I no longer recognise the enthusiastic mother I was a year ago – the happy town councillor candidate celebrating Brexit and (ironically) the promise of freedom. One who literally wanted to party the evening away with Boris Johnson. He is nothing like the courageous knight I foolishly took him for. He rides a pantomime horse, and any joy I once shone with is now buried by grief for all that we, and I, have lost.
Those of us who thought Johnson might have had the right stuff in post-Brexit Britain have been proved wrong, wrong, wrong. We hoped that with a fair wind he had, whatever his shortcomings, the charisma and can-do spirit to unite the country behind a new bold, big Brexit picture. At the time of writing we are still unsure what Brexit deal will emerge, but the signs are ominous.
Granted, the Covid-19 pandemic would have sorely challenged even the greatest of statesmen, but in reality even before Covid hit it was becoming obvious that this was a corporatist, insiders’ club administration still in thrall to establishment interests. Apart from righting a serious moral wrong by allowing the Hong Kong Chinese a path to emigrate to the UK, it has been an utter, utter disaster.
Governments often like to boast of how they are a ‘government of firsts’. After one year in office, Al Johnson’s administration has certainly lived up to that sobriquet. For the first time in our history, a government has in short order happily rescinded our ancient liberties, torpedoed the economy, caused unparalleled suffering to the nation’s physical and mental health, abandoned the education of its youth and enacted insane environmental directives at a time when the population is wholly unable to bear them. It is indeed quite the legacy. All that remains is for Al Johnson to fold on Brexit and he will have attained his 2020 ‘full house’.
Whatever happens, for many of us this year has represented a last: the last time that we will lend our vote to the Conservative Party.
I was never a fan of Boris Johnson, finding him slippery and insubstantial. But like many Jews I feared an anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn government. I also worried that the Remain-loving Labour party would overturn the Brexit vote, and thought the Tories would do a far better job of ‘getting Brexit done’. So I voted for the Conservative Party last December.
When the Tories won a working majority of 87 and saw Labour off I was so relieved that I cried. But my tears are now of anger. The Tories act as though they are governing in coalition with Labour and the Liberal Democrats instead of making good use of their majority. Cowed by their parliamentary opposition, who have continually goaded them into punitive and economy destroying lockdowns, the government under Johnson has proved to be weak and hysterical.
Under Johnson the politicisation of the police has grown exponentially.
Our once great country is now a totalitarian place, where only state-approved protests are allowed and others are brutally disbanded by officers all too happy to do the government’s dirty work. Illegal migrants are given a free pass at our sea borders, but you try to cross from one county to another and border patrols will arrest you faster than you can say ‘Covid-19’.
Excuses that Labour would be worse when it comes to Covid-19 abound on social media. It’s the one my own MP gave me when I complained to him. But this is a very low bar to be aiming for. I would have expected this behaviour from Labour but not from the Tories, and that’s why their demolition of our country hurts so much.
Johnson and his junta lieutenants have surpassed all expectations. I didn’t vote for a woke, regressive, socialist cadre which spends billions of taxpayers’ money as though it grows on trees. But that’s what I got.
One year on from his stunning election victory who would have thought that bouncing BoJo, the man who epitomised liberty and optimism, the bloke who you could have a pint down the pub with, could have gone so utterly woke? The principles of light regulation, low taxation, living within your means and personal responsibility have been buried by the forces of the ‘Blob’ in response to Covid 19. The NHS has been elevated into some sort of deity with the implementation of authoritarian and draconian restrictions against the virus at the behest of a posse of unelected, risk-averse Sage ‘experts’. Despite no evidence that correlates lockdowns with coronavirus deaths, these continuing policies have damaged liberty and livelihoods as well as psychological and physical well-being.
Doubtless the PM has been deeply affected by his Covid experience earlier this year, but the chances of a healthy person under 65 dying from this disease are less than from cancer or heart attack. A government shake-up is urgently required with the services of some cabinet ministers so outstanding in their mediocrity quickly dispensed with, including that well-known shrunken violet and conveniently lachrymose Health Secretary Matt Hancock together with the hapless former fireplace salesman Gavin Williamson at the Department for Education amongst them. Meanwhile the PM has been led a merry dance by the antics of the First Ministers of the devolved administrations, especially in Scotland and Wales, deliberately diverging from UK government policy and effectively handing the bill to the majority English taxpayer.
Earlier in the year, ordinary voters were left appalled as the ramifications of the deplorable killing of a career criminal in the US was allowed to spill on to our streets. Simultaneously witnessing British cultural institutions succumb to a severe bout of institutional collywobbles resulting in a reinterpretation of British history straight out of the Marxist playbook of unconscious bias and Critical Race Theory. TV screens were awash with police officers subjugated into ‘taking the knee’ in homage before a howling mob and the remainder running away like something out of the Keystone Kops, whilst statutes were defaced, including that of the PM’s hero Winston Churchill.
It appears that the PM’s unelected fiancée is running the No 10 operation with the proposed introduction of loopy green policies, which will disproportionately affect the poorest and most disadvantaged in society, favoured by her wealthy environmental activist friends Chris Packham and Zac Goldsmith. Are those who have suffered the most really going to be comforted by the prospect of an eco-boiler scheme and a ten-point plan green industrial revolution imposed on them by career politicians looking forward to taxpayer-funded, gold-plated pensions whilst at the same time the countryside is being concreted over by those very same politicians insisting on delivering more unaffordable homes in areas based on higher house prices and not genuine need? The PM may be about to discover next May in the English local government elections.