There was a time when I thought my early assessment of Boris as a clown and a liar was too harsh. I began to to see beneath the bravado an astute politician who saw the injustice of Thatcherism being retained as a political blueprint, when times and people had changed. Who shifted the Tory party far to the left of Labour on the role of government in shaping the nature of the economic model and its impact. Who understood the need for skilled jobs providing higher lower to middle incomes. Who saw increasing living standards was once again a key political aim. Who meant what he said about levelling up. Who, caught off guard by the pandemic, bet the house on vaccination and won big.
Unfortunately for our country, the last several weeks have reminded me that my original judgement was not harsh, but right. Boris may be all those good things, but unfortunately when challenge comes, he remains a stranger to the truth and an idiot on the platform, leading a team seemingly unable to deliver its promised outcomes across a range of issues. Mess and muddle seep through Whitehall like creeping lava from Boris’s volcano.
The biggest lie of all, that Brexit will be a wonderful sunlit dawn of freedom and opportunity, is now believed in by nobody. Its promoters have either been thrown out in disgrace, gone very quiet, or vanished into the night like a phantom army. Except for Lord Frost. He ploughs on, threatening and obfuscating, in negotiations without end, rejecting reasonable accommodations as not far enough, demanding to change what he promoted, agreed to and signed. This is surely one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s political life.
And who got us here? Not Kermit the Frog, nor Pepper Pig. Just Boris. The clown.