(Or: don’t offer him a cigar, or he’ll go up like a Chinese Lantern)
So, when the chips were down, and the moment of destiny arrived, Boris Johnson scuttled away like the kid in the schoolyard who whips up a fight, and then runs off when the punches fly. As acts of cowardice go, it’s pretty much as big as it gets. It also probably means the end of any pretensions at any kind of top level political career now. He’s damaged goods. There are some who will claim he’s hanging on for next time, when the winner of the competition for the poison chalice realises the job is basically undoable. But they’re wrong. If Johnson has any fleeting idea of trying a run in the future he will have this moment pulled down over his shoulders like a burning car tyre. It’s over. And the knife was finally plunged in by the Macbeths: Gove and his egregious “journalist” wife, Sarah Vine. The trusted lieutenant turns. The only real similarity is the Duncan that Macbeth finished off was not the heroic figure of Shakespeare, but a widely despised, useless King.
So what do we get instead? Liam Fox, a man with all the easy charm of a proctosigmoidoscopy*, Crabb and Leadsom, who sound like two low-rent Bond villains, or perhaps a couple of minor characters from Slytherin house. They have about as much chance of winning as I do. But it all looks like a straight fight between Pob and Cruella de Ville.
Gove is the man who published a pamphlet about how best he might go about privatising the NHS, so obviously it’s safe in his hands. And, during the referendum “campaign” (by which I mean hissing bitch-fight), he famously said that “people in this country have had enough of experts”. I’m not sure how he’d know that, given how much of his time in the Deoartment for Education he spent putting his hands over his ears and singing “la la la” at anyone who knew more about education than he did, which was awkward, because that meant just about everyone. And a number of potted plants.
Meanwhile, much is made of the fact that May has been in her current job for a long while. It’s hard to know how sometimes when you consider what a top-notch job she made in managing the problems experienced by the UK border Agency. And of course there’s the ongoing clusterfuck that goes by the name of the Investigatory Powers Bill.
For anyone still clinging to the illusion of “getting control of your country back”, consider the choice between these two, and then further consider that you have no say who this new leader will be. You will have no control over how they will approach the exit negotiations you craved. And if you don’t like it, it still entirely possible that they will not call an election for four more years (the law is reasonably clear on that), long after the terms of EU withdrawal are done and dusted. Suck it up, and enjoy your sovreignty. But don’t get too relaxed, peak stupid is still a way off yet, I fear
It’s going to be a long, unpleasant summer.
* getting a camera shoved up your bum to look at your coln