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Toby Young

Boris’s departure will be seen as a victory for the puritans

Boris’s departure will be seen as a victory for the puritans
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One of the regrettable things about Boris’s resignation is that it will be hailed as a victory by the puritans. Boris is a Cavalier rather than a Roundhead – a Rabelaisian, freedom-loving character rather than a purse-lipped finger-wagger. More Oliver Hardy than Oliver Cromwell.

But in the end that proved his undoing. He’s so firmly on one side of this Cavalier-Roundhead spectrum he wasn’t able to summon his inner puritan when it came to scrupulously avoiding any Downing Street social gathering during lockdown that could conceivably be described as a ‘party’, or not giving a job to a sex pest. He's a live-and-let-live kind of guy, the opposite of sanctimonious, and that put him at odds with the political class and its outriders in the media, which has a strong puritanical streak. And those celebrating the most today are among the most po faced.

Does this mean his successor will be at the other end of that spectrum? I hope not, but I fear it does.

Written byToby Young

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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