Alex Massie Alex Massie

Boris Johnson isn’t fit to lead

Boris Johnson (photo: Getty)

Danny Kruger, formerly Johnson’s political secretary and now the MP for Devizes, has – perhaps inadvertently – done the country some small service. In a note sent to newly-elected Tory MPs, Mr Kruger has reportedly advised his colleagues that ‘calling for Dominic Cummings to go is basically declaring no confidence in [the] prime minister.’

Well, yes, indeed. That is the point.

Because, in the end, this is not a story about Dominic Cummings but, rather, one about the Prime Minister. Even if we concede the possibility that he has not fully recovered from his own recent illness and, by making that concession, are tempted to afford him a greater measure of the benefit of the doubt than is traditionally granted to prime ministers, it remains mightily difficult to construct a coherent defence of the Prime Minister’s recent actions.

There is little escaping an obvious reality: this is a prime minister without clothes. The country can see this, even if cabinet ministers and Tory MPs pretend not to. He is what he is and he is not up to the job. In sunnier times this might not matter so very much but these are not the best of times and, right now, a significant portion of the Prime Minister’s responsibilities are wrapped up in his ability to inspire confidence. He is the captain of the ship and voters are entitled to think he is paying attention.

The spectacle of intelligent people deliberately peddling nonsense is often aggravating but it’s rarely as enraging as it is now

No such reassurance has been forthcoming. On the contrary, the manner in which the Prime Minister has sought to dismiss any and all concerns about Cummings’s behaviour has further undermined already fragile confidence in his government’s handling of this crisis. There is nothing to see here and the little people should know it is time to ‘move on’.

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