Matthew Dancona

Is this the measure of Johnson?

Is this the measure of Johnson?
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Susan Boyle leaves the Priory, Alan Johnson goes to the Home Office.  Or is it the other way round? The revolving doors continue to spin. I have long been mystified by Mr Johnson’s position as the Pearly Dauphin, the heir apparent to Gordon Brown. Nobody has been able to explain to me why he should be the next Prime Minister other than the undeniable fact that he has the Cockney charm of an early episode of Minder. Now I like Minder and the works of Guy Ritchie as much as the next man. But I do not see their relevance to the identity of the next occupant of Number Ten (which is no doubt Cockney rhyming slang for “fountain pen”, or something).

Well, it now appears that all that mysterious speculation about Mr Johnson was pretty irrelevant. He and the other prospective candidates for the top job have decided to leave James Purnell swinging in the wind and seem to have calculated that Gordon will be driven from Number Ten by the election results and the collective fury of Labour MPs. Wait for the Hotmail coup, in other words, and keep those smooth ministerial hands clean of blood. What leadership potential does that conduct suggest? What reserves of courage and principle does Mr Johnson’s behaviour reveal? He has just taken a tasty promotion from a discredited Prime Minister. History will not smile upon that act of shocking self-preservation. All that Postman Pat needed, it turned out, was a pat on the head.