Several times, and many miles, removed from Britain’s national humiliation, I feel blessed that I am, until Thursday, on a lovely island off mainland Croatia. If it is not bad enough that Brexit has made Britain the laughing stock of the world – and make no mistake, it has – then just think how the impending coronation of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as prime minister is going to play out. The elderly majors and blue rinsers of Conservative party associations are about to inflict upon us someone less suited to leadership than anyone in British history.
Even Brexiters who see Johnson as the man to finally to bring about their dream of pulling up the drawbridge to Europe should wince in horror of our impending disaster. For with Brexit, as with everything else, Johnson has no plan.
No one in Johnson’s circle of friends actually calls him Boris. It is almost as if Boris is an additional persona, a kind of Superman but without any special powers. An alter ego of industrial size. They call him ‘Al’, or ‘Alexander’, which of course is his first name.
His near certain and imminent arrival in 10 Downing Street will surely disappoint those who see in Johnson some kind of unifier who will somehow bring the country together. This is not what Johnson does. Johnson is about Johnson. His is a project of self-promotion, of ego, of narcissism is right out of the Donald Trump playbook.
Johnson’s buffoon act may impress some. I have seen over the years comments from working people like “I love Boris”, as if being an important politician is no more than a bit of a laugh. Some even say that if – I’d say when – Johnson messes up, it will have been a welcome distraction from grim reality. As long as it’s not their job, their business, their future that ends up in the rapidly filling dustbin of history.
Whether the Johnson public image is real doesn’t really matter. Real or fake, it’s more than alarming that someone who routinely lies, distorts, makes racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments, as well as having no grasp of or interest in detail is set to run the country with disastrous results.
If only this was all a big joke, but it isn’t. Britain, already divided and broken, is about to have a prime minister who will set fire to what’s left. You can call him Boris but you should call him Al.