In the Book of Daniel, King Belshazzar, having trampled his foes and trashed their temple, held a great feast to celebrate his victory. When the party was in full swing, the hand of God appeared, and as the King and guests looked on in horror and amazement, it began to write on the wall. The message proclaimed that the King’s days were numbered. He had been weighed and measured, and had been found wanting.
His unsuitability to rule had been exposed and his fate was sealed.
At the Palace of Westminster, Boris Johnson; having trampled his principles and his colleagues, is, we are told, assured victory in the leadership race. The man who would be King, is about to get the top job. The champagne’s on ice and the banqueting hall is being prepared. With the absence of a divine scribe, or graffiti artist, as we’d call them today, and with many people having serious reservations about his suitability, I thought I’d take this opportunity to weigh and measure him here and see how he shapes up.
We all know Boris is a character, but to quote a line from Pulp Fiction. “Just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character.”
Boris studied the Classics, so we’ll give a heads-up to them as we go.
The Roman Empire covered much of Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It had a common rule of law and in exchange for loyalty it guaranteed security and citizens’ rights. It also allowed for the free movement of goods, services and people, within its borders.
When the Empire collapsed, we were left isolated and vulnerable. The country slid into economic decline, beset by internal squabbles and the constant threat of invasion. In the fear and uncertainty people found themselves yearning for the stability, peace and prosperity they’d once known.
For seventy years Europe has been at peace with itself. Its strength lies in its unity, which has allowed it to co-exist and collectively prosper, economically and socially to the benefit of all of its citizens. That unity is now being tested and it’s in no small part down to Boris, who surprised both his friends and colleagues by switching from a pro-EU stance to a Leave one, in the space of three days. Lending his fame and giving heavyweight political clout to the Leave campaign, he undoubtedly helped swing the vote. This is Boris in June 2016.
BJ. “This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?”
This was an article written for his Telegraph column in June 2016. It wasn’t published as a few days later he surprised everyone by switching sides.
And from his friend and colleague Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill.
“Whatever my great friend Boris decides to do I know that he is NOT an outer.”
Privately, his colleagues said that it was his personal ambitions, rather than his beliefs and convictions, that had swung him?
On the campaign trail he went all Marie Antoinette, banging on about us `having our cake and eating it.’
It was all a game; he was having fun. It didn’t matter because he never imagined he would win, as was evident the morning of the referendum result when a visibly shocked Boris appeared to the gathered media. “We’re still European”, he stuttered, almost apologetically, having realised the magnitude of his actions. A Pyrrhic Victory? He’d won, but at what cost?
He’d rubbed the lamp and released the genie. There was no going back.
Still, there was no point him allowing a National crisis, partly of his making, to get in the way of his career. There was a leadership contest to contend and he was a frontrunner, only for his Brexit pal Michael Gove to do the` Roman thing’ and stab him in the back! “Et tu, Brute”, quipped his dad, upon hearing the news.
`They created a desert and called it peace.’ Tacitus.
As a committed Europhobe, Boris now bestrides the political stage like a colossus. His seeming disdain for Europe only matched by his dismissal of Ireland as some kind of political backwater, unworthy of serious consideration and Scotland as an ungrateful recipient of Westminster handouts. He’s become a serious danger to the Union itself.
The Peloponnese War between Athens and Sparta, two former friends and allies, brought an end to the Golden Age of Classical Greece. With its economy crippled, Athens’ democratically elected government was ousted and replaced by the Thirty Tyrants. It was the end of democracy. It never recovered.
The same Boris, who recently referred to the French as `turds’ is hoping to re-negotiate our exit terms when he becomes Prime Minister. Here’s a view of him from across the Channel.
Charlie Hebdo – July 2016
JUMP. FATSO! (an extract)
“I have a face like an elephant’s arse” said the great English actor Charles Laughton. Another famous Englishman deserves such an epithet just now: Boris Johnson. Ever since the Brexit vote, his impish, schoolboy features have come to resemble more and more the face of a cartoon coward. When an elephant slopes off, it inevitably shows you its backside and this is pretty much what Boris Johnson has been showing us for a week or more now -a face which looks like an elephant’s arse as said pachyderm buggers off, having just trampled all your crops.
Our media circus makes fairground animals out of our political figures. Showbiz beasts who will, to catch the eye of a jaded public, rear on their hind-legs in the middle of the ring with infinitely more alacrity than any weary elephant and commit any contortions to keep the punters happy. Contortions and moral gymnastics were definitely necessary for Boris Johnson to switch from a broadly pro-Europe position to a prominent place amongst the rabid Europhobes. We had thought that Boris Johnson was a politician. But it seems he was merely a circus animal.
For too many politicians, Europe is nothing but a circus. In France, our version of Boris Johnson goes by the name of Nicolas Sarkozy. He, also, is prepared to say almost anything to get the cameras turned in his direction. Boris Johnson spooked the British electorate with nonsensical stunts about the exact shape of bananas permissible under EU regulations. Sarkozy pulls the same spurious legerdemain with similar supposed EU restrictions on the shape of cucumbers. They resemble very much the old notion of 18th century ‘wreckers’ who would swing lanterns on the coastline during storms to trick mariners into shipwreck upon those coasts, in order to pillage the wrecks for booty. In Jamaica Inn, Charles Laughton plays a country squire and Justice of the Peace who is also the secret leader of the local gang of wreckers. There’s something very Boris Johnson about that. The European Union is definitely a kind of big ship. And often those politicians who should be defending it spend their time trying to shipwreck it – exactly like the upstanding pillar of society played by Laughton in the film – a man expected to uphold the law but who is, in fact, its most implacable enemy.
At the end of Jamaica Inn, Charles Laughton is chased by the mob he has so long swindled and betrayed. He flees to the top of a ship’s mast. When he’s sure that everyone is looking at him, he throws himself from his refuge and is dashed to pieces on the deck below. Thus, forcing the ugly truth of himself upon the luckless onlookers: the truth that he’s nothing but a big fat shit which goes splat when it hits the deck.
So, go on, Fatso, jump! The crowd is waiting. Waiting for Boris and his buddies to do the dignified splatty-type thing. But the crowd will be waiting a long time. Because in the end, Boris Johnson lacks something of Laughton’s class. He and the other wreckers of Europe have already scarpered. Look at them disappearing over the horizon.
He’s tipping the scales now. But is the Writing on the Wall?
Plato, who didn’t care much for poets – or democracy either, for that matter; divided the world into two realms. The visible, which we see and grasp; and the intelligible: the mind, or the forms. The former ever changing, the latter, constant. He believed that only the forms could be objects of knowledge because they possessed the unchanging truth of the mind.
Boris must have skimmed over that one in his studies?
It’s a different country now: cracks have appeared and the divisions are ever more apparent. Boris and his gang opened the box and emptied its contents. All that remains is Hope.
Next month: The Vanishing Elephant Trick