Embed from Getty ImagesI’ll be honest, I always kind of liked Boris Johnson. The affable, shaggy haired chap was to me the perfect local MP. He was able to connect with constituents and pushed hard in the house of commons on issues such as stopping the Heathrow Airport expansion, even offering to lay down in front of the bulldozers in an Arthur Dent style show of defiance.
Unfortunately, Boris also decided (or was persuaded) to become one of the leading figures in the #EUreferendum #voteleave campaign, and with it began his journey from a popular and trusted politician (something not easy in todays political climate) to someone now associated with a political group proven to have used misinformation and misrepresentation as a key part of their campaign.
He has been accused of being an outright liar, but without really knowing Boris, and only being able to judge from his past behaviour in public life, I see a different story here. I see someone who for certain, has (or had) high political ambitions for which I don’t personally think he was suited to, and for the same reason that I don’t think he was suited to high office is the same reason that I believe that Boris has been manipulated by more ruthless characters with motives that do not have the British common man or woman at their heart but who have used these people as their weapon of choice.
If you watch the famous, well, infamous interview with Boris on the battle bus that promoted the clear lie about the benefit to the NHS of #brexit , where he is challenged about this claim, many people say that Boris looked uncomfortable and presented a not very convincing defence of the claim. I believe that Boris never felt comfortable with the tactics being employed and yet he persevered. Many have said that he looked surprised and concerned at the #voteleave victory and I can believe this.
Maybe he was persuaded that the country would not vote for #brexit but it would force a big change in the complacent and arrogant attitude of Westminster, maybe he was convinced that on top of this, the Conservatives could claim that even though the country voted to remain, the Tory party had kept its promise. Whatever he was told or believed, I have never yet seen any evidence to convince me that Boris actually expected or even wanted to win the vote.
Boris is at his best when he is working at national level rather than internationally. He was a popular Mayor, who was seen as someone who did not take himself too seriously and even though clearly well educated (Google saw a spike in the search for the word Mugwump from those of us not Eaton educated) he could genuinely relate to what politicians like to categorise as ‘normal people’. His popularity peaked after his famous ‘Prat on a wire’ incident where he found himself stranded on a jammed zip wire after trying to make a spectacular entrance, Union Jack flags in hand.
History is unlikely to be kind to Boris but for what its worth, I think he should quietly return to what he does best, local politics. Also he should consider carefully when making sweeping statements about laying down in front of bulldozers as thanks to his party, it looks like they are coming and his promise may yet be put to the test by his constituents.