FORGOTTEN in all of the commentary about the supposedly imminent demise of Boris Johnson is his dismissal 18 years ago as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party and shadow arts minister by Tory leader Michael Howard. In 2004, Johnson denied an extra-marital affair – on that occasion with Spectator journalist Petronella Wyatt – which resulted in an abortion. With what is now seen to be his signature exuberance as a breezy fabulist, Johnson had mocked reports about their fling as an “inverted pyramid of piffle.” That is, until Wyatt’s mother confirmed the relationship and the tragedy. Not that being party to killing an inconvenient child should be regarded as merely private for a public figure anyway but Howard was utterly sincere when he insisted Johnson wasn’t sacked for his private life but for dishonesty. Recognising the growing popularity of ‘Boris’, it was Howard who appointed him to the shadow ministry and to high Tory office. That decision was as ill-fated as the hiring of Johnson as a graduate trainee at The Times in 1987. He was sacked that same year for lying in an article he wrote for the paper.
The Wyatt affair’s brutal denouement rhymes with the secret 1990 recording of Johnson agreeing to provide the address of News of The World reporter Stuart Collier to his posh longtime friend – now convicted criminal and wife-basher – Darius Guppy. The latter’s intention was to have Collier professionally assaulted for investigating his activities. The affected ‘eccentricity’ and meticulously dishevelled appearance have always been useful to Johnson when he needed to extricate himself from a situation of his own idiotic making; situations that would have ruined the career of a man with council estate manners and a cockney accent. Not quite Vincent Gigante acting bonkers in his pyjamas to throw off the FBI but close. In the early 1960s, a well-briefed Malcolm Muggeridge told a shocked B.A. Santamaria that the lovable new President of the United States had “the morals of an alley-cat.” The same could be said of Johnson.
Like John F. Kennedy, he parleyed a cosmopolitan upbringing – seasoned with an aristocratically impractical education and rounded off with dilettante journalism – into a reputation as ‘brilliant’ man of the hour. Like the Richard Rich counseled by Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, he might have done more good as the teacher he once was at Timbertop rather than as a corruptible man at court. His historical legacy as Prime Minister will be Brexit – no small achievement – but nothing else Johnson has presided over at Number 10 will rattle and hum in the chronicles. That includes his alleged ‘leadership’ in the pretense of saving Ukraine. The very sight of Johnson, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau at the G20 as The Big Three embodying “Western values” over against Vladimir Putin would be laughable if it wasn’t so sickening.
The war in Ukraine is lost, for all intents and purposes. Still, Boris and the same maniacal zero-ists now shooting at Dutch farmers (sentenced by diktat to a Sri Lankan fate) are as willing to destroy the lives of their citizens in its tawdry name as they were in their equally insane ‘war’ on covid-19. A substantive leader would by now have admitted NATO’s folly in provoking military conflict in the East and encouraged the combatants to come to terms. Like his degenerate North American allies, however, Johnson ravenously seized the low hanging geopolitical fruit of proxy war as a way out of man-made pandemic chaos instead. There is only one genuinely tragic thing about the decline and possible fall of Boris: that British commentators believe Partygate (leaving aside the bum rap over Chris Pincher) is the big scandal. Rather than, say, Whitehall – and themselves – causing the worst levelling of the country since The Blitz. If nobody is ever held accountable for lockdowns, BoGo is likely to become not democracy’s vindication but tyranny’s great escape.
Boris Johnson’s position regarding having supported Brexit now appears questionable in light of his his current alignment with the EU policies.
Surely Johnson can’t last much longer. What a disappointment he’s been since Brexit. Maybe he didn’t expect that to succeed.
It’s weird the way Russia has declared itself the winner, and then keeps on fighting.
I doubt they will be able to get all the way to Kyiv now … therefore at some stage they must draw a line in the sand and make that the new border. There’s nothing in Ukraine that Russia really wants or needs, they are making a point to keep the Russian speaking people out of the hands of the Kyiv government and push back the NATO mid-range missiles a bit.
Russia might still blunder by overextending themselves.
From the NATO perspective, other than looting treasuries around the Western world, they haven’t needed to lift a finger.
Yes great article CL! (except the pro-Putin stuff near the end IMO)
How wrong you are my friend. Yes, no need to go to Kiev – however the very reason they are there is the untapped eastern Ukraine gas deposits which are needed as Russia’s fields continue to slowly decline. The war is about energy, the people on both sides are dying over money, energy being a currency.
Breaking: Johnson set to resign.
Ok. That long then.
… situations that would have ruined the career of a man with council estate manners and a Cockney accent
Cockneys aren’t English, neither is Boris “Johnson”.
The only good of finally getting tv where I grew up was to watch, listen and learn from B.A. Santamaria
I actually met him once and went to school with one of his son’s.
A cockney is a native of East London – which is in England.
Johnson is a UK citizen who is English.
Being against the war (started by the US State Department and Ukrainian nazis) is not pro-Putin.
Cockneys v Zombies
I wanted Russia to win the day after that dreadful war started. So much blood now spilt so those pompous loons could strut a little harder, you too Elbow Overseasy.
I watch three news services a night – or at least have them on while I’m making dinner – and these huge protests have not appeared on any of them. For that matter I’d never heard ANY reporting of the ‘sex scandal’ which was apparently the final straw for Boris. How did I miss that? Until you learn it was a gay sex scandal.
Given that Russia invaded. Russia has destroyed towns. Russian troops have attacked civilian populations. I remain in awe of the willingness to demand Ukraine submit. This is becoming a quisling meme.
John son was born in New York, he was an American Citizen until quite recently.
The Johnson name was selected a couple of Generations ago, it was supposedly the surname of his Turkish Great Grandfather [the one who was brained by an irate mob for
suspected treachery during the Greek War of 1921-22]’s wife’s G/G[?] Grandmother.
He ain’t English.
Well, that could be considered a Tojo meme, post-Hiroshima.
Ukrainian nazis conducted an ethnic cleansing campaign against Russian expatriates for several years and were backed by the US in overthrowing the government – whereupon, surprise surprise, and despite assurances – NATO deliberately started eyeing the East. It is a tragedy that didn’t need to happen and must be brought to an end – first to spare the lives of Ukrainians (who cannot win) and, second, to spare those whose lives are being ruined by scarcity and inflation.
The enemy is China. We need Russia – to whatever degree is possible (probably post-Putin, of necessity) – on our side.
I looked into all that, and I disagree about the great value of these supposed Ukraine gas deposits … sure all energy sources are worth something, it’s not zero value, but nor is it worth going to war over.
The Yuzivska gas field was discovered in 2010 and signed over to Royal Dutch Shell around 2013 but work was abandoned in 2015 after political instability and ultimately small-scale war between the Russian-speaking separatists and the Western Ukrainians supported by Kyiv. Oddly enough Burisma was also involved in the deal and holds drilling rights in this region. Shale gas requires fracking, a technology the Americans are adept at, but Europeans seem to struggle with … a technology often treated with suspicion, and there were local protests against the Yuzivska gas field development.
Similarly Chevron was awarded rights to the Oleska shale gas deposit in 2013 but has failed to deliver any significant gas out of that, despite supposedly being planned to start production back in 2017. Since the Oleska fields are further West, there’s little chance of Russia being able to interfere … and yet you would think in this era of high gas prices that it would be all over the investment headlines as Chevron hits the Jackpot selling Western Ukrainian gas into Europe. Chevron is backed by Kyiv … given Ukrainian corruption they probably would be better off without friends such as these … although corruption might have slowed progress, the logical conclusion is that the “proven gas reserves” were more hype than real and what the Ukrainians really have is lots of coal, not much gas or oil.
Coal is interesting in as much as Europe also has plenty of coal, so does the UK, so do many countries. We just aren’t allowed to use the stuff, meaning there’s a strategic advantage for countries that ignore “climate change” regulations and use their coal anyhow. Germany could go that way any time, they just have to get the Green parties to admit they were wrong … quite a challenge. Thanks to our nutty aversion to Carbon, there might be gains in taking a coal field and pretending it’s a low-yield gas field … but if there was real money to be made, then Chevron would be cashing in by now … implication being, there isn’t significant value here.
In the scheme of things, I can’t see any reason the Russians would be interested, other than perhaps to knobble their potential hydrocarbon competition. Russia is not adept at fracking technology, they have not been enthused about shale gas, and their main skill is dealing with extreme cold in order to develop Arctic deposits. Russia has massive known shale gas reserves, inside Russia, that they are not showing signs of using, and Putin has put on his fake-Green environmentalist hat to declare how hand wringingly dreadful is the whole idea of fracking.
The main Russian reasons for wanting to hold Sevastopol and Mariupol are military/strategic … no different to why Catherine the Great wanted those bases in the first place. Beyond that, any stable border is a good border. Russia has little to gain, and a lot to lose.
I heard it explained succinctly: this is a war designed to bleed Russia, not to benefit Ukraine. The Western powers don’t care that much about a few coal fields, they do care about disabling Russia’s long term economic growth. They would like to recreate the Crimean War, but it isn’t working out that way … Franck and Turkey are not interested, the UK is weak and the British Empire has long gone.