Monday 17 January 2022

You know where you are with Boris. He always lets you down.

More than 20 years ago, Boris Johnson was beginning to be famous. I was asked to appear in a documentary about him. He had recently been adopted for a parliamentary seat while editor of The Spectator, despite having indicated to the paper’s proprietor, Conrad Black, that he would not do this.

“How did Conrad Black feel about that?” asked the interviewer. In the funny way that sometimes happens when broadcasting, I could hear myself saying, “Well, I think he might have felt like David Niven, who said of Errol Flynn: ‘You knew where you were with Errol Flynn. He always let you down’.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt I had been unfair to Boris and rang him to apologise. He was, not surprisingly, annoyed with me. It is not true that Boris always lets you down: he is capable of acts of great kindness. But I was not completely wrong either. The fairer way to put it would have been to say that Boris is reliably unreliable.
Thus begins an article in the Sunday Telegraph in support of Boris, by one of my favourite living Englishmen, Charles Moore. Edward Norman and Lord Salisbury are the others.

It's true that Boris has let down a lot of people including those who support him. His worst betrayal is his betrayal of his supporters in favour of his young wife's ideas: the disastrous Carbon Zero policy, a mass of restrictions on freedom because of her girlish desire to prevent animals suffering. He is also as keen on wars for values as Hillary and Mrs Johnson is keen on even more anti discrimination laws.

The real Boris understood the country, was funny and believed in freedom. He has vanished.

Tom Bower's biography of Conrad Black, I am told by a well informed friend, is a travesty. He also wrote a biography of Boris that I want to read. This is from his article in the Spectator.

"Having read very few modern political biographies and history books, he failed from the outset to dominate and manage the Whitehall machine. Handicapped by weak personal advisors in Downing Street, he was thwarted by a depressing clique of senior civil servants. Key departments, especially health, education, defence, the Foreign Office and Home Office, are staffed by incompetent, illiterate, woke antagonists.

"As a loner without intimate friends, Boris failed to hit the ground running with an army of ruthless, skilled loyalists. Two years later, Whitehall’s Wokes have suffocated Boris’s instincts and left him powerless."

"...The first sign of Boris’s loss of a life-saving ‘mothering’ wife was when he caught Covid. Carrie moved out. Alone in the Downing Street flat without adequate food and, critically, proper medical attention, Boris nearly died. After Carrie returned, Wilfred, his sixth child was born. As a modern mother, Carrie expected the Prime Minister to act as a modern father and to change the baby’s nappies. The result was an exhausted politician in need of home comforts and regular square meals.

"Then followed Carrie’s redecoration of their Downing Street flat. Astonishingly, she failed to check whether Boris personally could fund her extravagant taste. Asked to explain the financing, Boris’s answer was, to say the least, inaccurate. The Mustique ‘affair’ should have been his warning but Boris, like his father, has surprisingly shown an inability to learn from his mistakes. He dug his own grave then just as he would later by adopting Carrie’s unreasonable passion for animals and the environment.

"Fatally, Boris failed to realise that Carrie was politically unsophisticated. Her interference was provoking widespread resentment within Downing Street. Boris’s failure to stop her fatal fight with Dominic Cummings to impose Allegra Stratton as the prime minister’s spokeswoman exposed Boris’s own weaknesses. Allowing Carrie to participate in that decision, let alone win against Cummings who was proven to be right, has unleashed Cummings’s vengeance against a woman he calls ‘Princess Nut Nut’."
More from 2019 about Mrs Johnson and her passionate nature by her ex-boyfriend is here, under the headline

She's dynamic, magnetic, passionate and high-octane! As the woman tipped to join Boris in No10 finds herself in the headlines, her old flame reveals that life with Carrie is never boring

I usually cannot bring myself to read Nicholas Timothy in the Telegraph. He and Fiona Hill for almost three years ruled England via Theresa May and ruled very badly indeed. They terrorised cabinet ministers. For the first time in years today I read what he had to say. He made the point that for now the country is angry not with the Tories but just with Boris. That may well change if he sticks around.

But is there a real conservative around who will stop illegal immigrants coming into the country, laugh at climate change and avoid attempts to be a European or global power? 

Lord Salisbury is getting on a bit, though he would be good. Maybe former civil servant turned Brexiteer Lord Frost is the nearest we have.


  1. Replies
    1. He is the most important politician since the 1940s but he has such limited experience and I cannot see how he could even get into parliament.

  2. Mothering adult men is an incredibly boring task and a self-defeating one too — most men will turn against the woman who does it.

    But the idea of his wife walking out on a very sick man who happens to be prime minister does give pause.