Alex Massie Alex Massie

Boris Johnson is eating reality

Nothing is real and anything is possible

It is neither fair nor correct to say it was obvious from the moment Boris Johnson became Prime Minister that he was not fit for the job for this was a truth obvious long before Johnson entered Downing Street. Nothing in his career suggested a man capable of making a success of one of the country’s most demanding jobs. What was foreseeable was in fact foreseen.

Voters may be excused for accepting Johnson’s promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and for preferring him to the grisly prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn — but those Tory MPs who put that choice in front of them have no such excuse. They knew the calibre and character of the man they chose and they cannot claim to be surprised by what has happened since. It was always a punt and the more honest Johnson backers will admit it. This is the sorry reality: he is not up to the job because he was never up to it and he never will be.

What does Johnson actually want to do as Prime Minister? Your guess will have to be better than mine because I haven’t a clue. To the extent the government has an agenda at all, it is one marked by staggering incoherence. Prime ministers often learn how to be more effective, but their character, nature and purpose typically remain constant. What you start with is what you finish with. This would be sub-optimal in times of placid prosperity, it is not quite so amusing now.

All governments have moments when the truth becomes a problem but in this ministry’s case the lies serve no great matter of state. They are merely routine, a now-standard way of doing business. So of course there was a Christmas party in Downing Street and of course all those who attended knew it should not have taken place.

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