Who is Boris Johnson, really?
From a naughty, arrogant Classics student at one of the richest and poshest schools in Britain, Eton College. To Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and possibly the most hated Prime Minister in the UK’s history. Who is Boris Johnson, where does he stand within the greater Conservative Party, Boris Johnson’s base, and most importantly, how will he be seen in the future and by whom?
Johnson has a long history within the British establishment, he used to be a Journalist and editor for The Spectator, a Conservative-aligned Magazine in the UK. In his time as a Journalist, he was noted for constantly walking the line between Truth and Outright lies, bending narratives to suit whomever his targeted readers were going to be that week. Johnson had somewhat of a vendetta against the EU whilst he was a Journalist for The Spectator. The main example is an exaggeration of the EU’s rules around the sale of bendy bananas and weird-looking fruit.
Which then became a weirdly common talking point of the Eurosceptic Right in British Politics. A talking point that was based on an article in which’s relationship to the Truth, was tumultuous at best. Johnson’s style of writing and specifically what he wrote about at any given time was Populist, he would listen in to what was a minor grievance and then exaggerate the importance of the grievance. Often resulting in becoming a speakerphone for quacks and charlatans on the Right whose main grievances with the EU were Immigration, Arbitrary rules on fruit exports, the EU’s “wokeness” or further exaggerations of the EU’s power as a whole over the UK.
Fast-forwarding to Johnson’s first stints in politics, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 after which becoming a household name as a Mayor of London for 8 years. In which the nation as a whole became aware of Johnson’s cartoonish “buffoonery” by spending extraordinary amounts of money on public infrastructure projects like the new red double-decker “Routemaster” buses, the Thames cable car project, the envisioning of the so-called “Garden Bridge” that never came to volition. As well is taking credit for the “Boris Bikes” which are bikes the public can hire to cycle around London, which wasn’t his idea, it was his predecessor Ken Livingstone’s Idea, but that willingness to steal ideas will become a trend in Boris’ life.
Johnson’s fondness and readiness to spend an ample amount of money on Public Infrastructure separated him from his fellow Conservative colleagues as Conservatives in Britain have historically shied away from spending ungodly amounts of money on any kind of state-run anything. Boris spent money like a child playing monopoly for the first time, erecting new houses, roads, and city-run projects at an almost bi-monthly rate.
The 2012 Summer Olympics were under Boris’ watch and characteristically were fuelled by around £6.8 Billion of Investment to build the Olympic Village in Stratford in London. Which included the London Stadium, an aquatics center, a velodrome, a hockey and tennis center as well as Copper Box Arena. During this time, Boris was known to have said some pretty ridiculous things as well as done some pretty ridiculous things. To name the one we all know, He attempted to zipline as a PR stunt to promote the 2012 Summer Olympics, and managed to get stuck for around 10 minutes, to quote another journalist at the time “Like a damp towel on the line”.
Another of which was when he went a bit too far in describing the “painstaking” efforts the London Velodrome went to, to achieve a “pinkish hue” by rubbing it with Rhubarb. Proclaiming it to be the sole reason that there would be jobs created by the Velodrome, and not that, you know it needs staff to run the sports center, maintain upkeep, or hold events post-Olympics.
Boris’s Ideological leanings are extremely difficult to pinpoint based on what he has done either as an MP, Mayor, or Prime Minister. If we are to base it all on what he’s funded, done, etc. Then we could say he’s a centrist, but he’s also pro-low taxation and wants to de-regulate industry. Which naturally pushes him to the Right of British Politics. Couple it with the things he’s said he’s in favor of but hasn’t done, such as Decriminalising weed, which he is supposedly in favor of. He was known for being pro-LGB rights but quite willing to participate in Transphobic rhetoric and policy. Boris could be seen, largely as a Right-wing Libertarian with a Populist streak.
Following his tumultuous and rather catastrophic streak as Prime Minister, he’s proven himself to be a lier, to which most of London and his prior colleagues are screaming “I told you so”. His administration has flip-flopped economically, proclaimed “Fiscal responsibility” then immediately done something that went against it such as the first time they extended the 80% furlough scheme despite Rishi Sunak saying it wouldn’t be extended. To the rather hilarious recent example of them taking a Labour policy, doubling it, but not giving the public enough from the windfall tax on energy companies for it to be worthwhile doing. Most of the fiscal help actually goes to more government contracts, which will be the thing that causes more inflation, not less.
Much of Boris’s flipping and flopping tends to follow scandal and is a desperate attempt of trying to rekindle a positive image of the Conservatives and specifically Boris as a whole. Given that he’s caught out being a criminal, willingly protecting a lobbying Politician, changed the ministerial code so that if he breaks the rules again, he can just get away with it. Boris is the man today that he was as a Journalist and as Mayor of London.
He’s a Populist buffoon whose base is the Eurosceptic right, and Eurosceptic areas of the UK that agreed with him in the referendum. If you are in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. He doesn’t care all that much unless there is increasing Conservative pressure for him to start caring. Such as on the Northern Ireland protocol.
He is a politician with two faces, one for the world, and another for his base. To the world, Boris is a Bizarre man who seems to care about Britain’s international image especially when it comes to America. Boris’ face to Britain on the other is an eristic, careless, flip-flopper who doesn’t care for the rules and conventions that have governed the office of the Prime Minister for generations. If the rules are inconvenient to his partying lifestyle, he changes them to keep himself in charge.
What will Boris be remembered as, to the Brexiteers he will be regarded quite highly for “getting Brexit done” despite the fact that he largely oversold Brexit and under-delivered. He didn’t give Brexiteers the Halloween Brexit he proclaimed they would get. He didn’t shift fiscal policy adaptively during the pandemic. He didn’t provide as much support to freelancers and small businesses as he proclaimed he would.
The Brexit he delivered largely became costly to the businesses he convinced to back leave, due to higher shipping and trading costs. The agrarian side of Britain has largely been convinced under false pretenses that they would get better quota’s on fishing, and better negotiation power for their Lamb, Mutton, Pork, Beef, and Chicken to mainland Europe.
So who has Brexit actually worked for? It definitely has not helped the majority of workers or Businesses based in Britain. But it has worked exceptionally well for Investors who wanted regulation-free investment into western markets in Canada and the United States. American Investors can now almost freely Invest in the UK without having to abide by EU rules. There are some winners in Specialty manufacturing, but there aren’t many. The GDP of the UK has shrunk, and a few businesses have moved their HQs out of London and into the EU.
To wrap up to quote, albeit paraphrase a letter made by Eton College about Boris to his father, Stanley;
Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his work, It is a question of priorities, which most of his colleagues have no difficulty in sorting out. Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticized for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility. I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else