Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeKathy GyngellWe called it right on irresponsible, feckless Boris Johnson

We called it right on irresponsible, feckless Boris Johnson


SO it seems that having a messed-up personal life does interfere with the job. Saturday’s Times let the cat out of the bag. 

‘Overburdened and underpaid’ and ‘weighed down’ by personal issues, the Prime Minister’s ‘surreal’ private life – which reportedly preoccupied him during so much of February – has finally caught up with him. The analysis came courtesy of that-oh-so liberal of newspapers, the Times, which, to underline the point, tweeted these lines from the article to promote it.

Well, well, well. So his personal finances are in a mess, specifically because of his divorces? Who’d have known that any politician’s private life and sexual incontinence could impact on his public office, or that his personal morality or character could have any bearing on his public conduct? 

You can’t say we didn’t tell you so. Laura called it all the way back in 2014 when Johnson declared his intention to run for Parliament. She said he failed the character test:

‘Until very recently it would be inconceivable that anyone with the personal life of Boris Johnson could even contemplate running for a party that holds itself out to be socially conservative.

‘This is a man who has conducted no fewer than three adulterous affairs. One produced a child – a fact that he attempted to keep out of the public domain – and another resulted in an abortion, reportedly paid for by Johnson at the private Portland Hospital in London (there’s a posh adulterous affair if ever there was one).

‘Today, socially conservative voters are supposed to overlook this personal car crash and just “assess him on the policies”. You will have to excuse me if I beg to differ.’

(This was before the more recent indiscretion revelations that have dogged the PM came to light, namely his relationship with and public fund backing of Jennifer Acuri and the Carrie relationship sequel. Mr Johnson appears unable to learn from his mistakes.)

It astounded us then that there were ‘living, breathing women out there who believe Boris Johnson is a suitable person to lead this country as Prime Minister . . . women with responsible jobs and families to raise, who describe this person as “strong”.’ 

For no, it was not just men who appeared to have abandoned their moral compass when it came to the morally bankrupt blond buffoon.

Again, a year later found Laura writing:

‘Many conservatives adore him and his buffoonery ways. They find it endearing and charming. I find it baffling . . . Listen up, fellow conservatives. The emperor has no clothes. Let’s call a spade a spade. Boris was bumbling, Boris was baffling and made Ed Miliband – yes, Ed Miliband – seem coherent and sophisticated.’

And two years on Laura was still repeating the warning that no one wanted to hear – that ‘his buffoonery does not hide his brilliance – he is just a buffoon. Sometimes what you see is what you get.’ 

The fact is that we are the only conservative website that has warned all along – for six  years and the life of our site – that this whole messy blond mop Boris cult might not be such a good idea, and also that with a private life in such a mess that yes, it would interfere with the job.

But no, the Boris backing band would not have it. They sustained the myth, even fantasising that this undisciplined man was a new Churchill. 

Almost to a man his fans, those who so foolishly put their trust in him, have been prepared to give him dispensation after dispensation on the basis that others in public life, such as the disgraceful Bill Clinton, had less than perfect private lives. Why this is either an exculpation or a reason to give a man who cannot conduct himself responsibly or whose private life is a constant drama a free pass for the highest of public office is hard to compute. Never mind, it was irrelevant, they said.

When, last May, our seemingly paralysed Prime Minister refused to give the country a date for its return to freedom, the writing was truly on the wall. Kathy wrote that if there was no health reason to account for the totalitarian move of keeping the country under emergency powers, ‘we are forced to accept that this is a man of no conviction, courage or character who only ever wanted the trappings of office’

It was left to Simon Heffer to ask two months later, in July, why Johnson was absent from five Cobra meetings at the start of the Covid crisis. ‘Given what Johnson later claimed to be the gravity of the crisis, it was an appalling dereliction for him to take a 12-day holiday at Chevening, apparently – and versions of the real reason are legion – to try to manage uncomfortable aspects of his increasingly surreal private life.’ 

We stated last May that we at TCW never believed Boris Johnson was a conservative, and that he’s shown himself to be no liberal either. Kathy wrote: ‘His bottling it on the day of the Referendum result was but one insight into his character and his mismanaged and irresponsible private life has provided several more. We always feared he was not a man to be relied on – even over Brexit. It seems we were right.’

As is now belatedly being recognised.

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