Thursday 4 May 2023

The Queen steered Boris Johnson towards Brexit deal


"After a private walk with the Queen he suggested to officials that she had delicately planted, without saying so explicitly, the idea of talking to Varadkar to solve the impasse.” From Sir Anthony Seldon's (disapproving) book on Boris Johnson.

The Times has the story today under the headline:

Queen Elizabeth ‘helped steer Boris Johnson towards Brexit deal’

Sir Anthony Seldon wrote a book of over 400 pages about Mr Blair's ministry which gave less than a page to immigration, which was the most significant aspect of his time in office. He is certainly a globalist.

So, of course, is Mr Johnson.

Both men had to resign last year. Sir Anthony stepped down as Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University after what the Daily Telegraph called 'serious financial mismanagement', though he was not personally to blame for it.

Before that he was headmaster of the minor public school Wellington. He is the son of Arthur Seldon, whose free market ideas influenced Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, but he is not a typical establishment figure, if that means descended from landed gentry, being the grandson of penniless Jewish immigrants or refugees from Tsarist Russia (the Ukraine).

He writes in the style, or lack of it, of a civil service white paper. He likes David Cameron and loathes Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings. 

He supported, of course, Remain.

This is from an interview with him by Tim Adams in the Observer.

'Talking about him, Seldon acknowledges the former prime minister’s charisma “lights up the room”, but you sense too his almost personal feeling of betrayal at the squandering of those gifts, that headmasterly reaction that Johnson had let down his school, his family, his nation, but most of all, himself.

'Of the 57 people who have held the highest office, Seldon suggests, Johnson was probably unique in that he came to it with “no sense of any fixed position. No religious faith, no political ideology”. His only discernible ambition, Seldon says, was that “like Roman emperors he wanted monuments in his name”.

'“To those many people who say, ‘Of course he believed in Brexit’, the evidence is absolutely clear,” Seldon says. “From the beginning it was striking that he believed that there was a cause far higher than Britain’s economic interests, than Britain’s relationship with Europe, than Britain’s place in the world, than the strength of the union. That cause was his own advancement.”'

Boris Johnson disapproved as strongly as Mr Adams 
of what the latter calls "the xenophobic – and untrue – scaremongering that Turkey was about to join the EU". Sir Anthony reports that, because of this,  Boris Johnson "wanted to come down to London and apparently punch Cummings”. In fact, Turkey is supposed to join the EU one day.

'“There has never been a prime minister who has been so weak to have ceded so much power to a figure like Cummings. Here was someone who went ahead and removed the chancellor of the exchequer, to replace them with someone more biddable. Who knocked out the cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, appointing someone unable to assert himself. Who tried knocking out and appointing his own person as governor of the Bank of England, and as head of MI6. While all the time expressing contempt for Johnson.”'

Yes, true. This was not cabinet or parliamentary government. It was disgraceful. 

I think Dominic Cummings, who has never been a Tory, was a very good thing, all the same.

Compare him with Theresa May's advisers who ruled her as much as he did Boris. 

He blazed like a meteor and is gone and now the Conservatives are empty of ideas or talent.


  1. After Turkey’s current performance in NATO, the “one day” it joins the EU will take place in the year 4055, if at all. No one can be serious that Turkey joining the EU is a real threat or even a possibility at this point.

  2. Turkey has been waiting to join the EU since 1962. It's very unlikely they'll join in our time. And they certainly weren't anywhere close to joining in 2016.

    Mind, the scaremongering about Turks doesn't even make the top five list of lies that Leavers were pushing to win Brexit. Remember the 350 million a week for the NHS? That one was such a huge porkie that they turned 180 degrees and started denying it literally the day after the vote.

  3. There is every reason to suppose that in 50 years, long after Erdogan goes Turkey will join, if the EU still exists, which i hope isn't the case. It was often stated British policy to help Turkey join.

  4. It has to be said, speaking perfectly objectively, that Remainer journalists shamelessly distort the facts - the same people distort the truth abut Donald Trump, Covid, Ukraine, China, Yemen, Black Lives Matter, etc, etc. (What was written on the bus was accurate, by the way!)