There is a growing chorus in the Conservative Party calling for the Prime Minister to be less like Boris Johnson. That doesn’t mean MPs are ready to replace him, but his style, once valued for the campaign’s effectiveness, is now seen as ruling liability.
The disillusionment with the Prime Minister’s handling of the lobby scandal surrounding Owen Paterson and its aftermath was exacerbated by a empty, poorly delivered speech to business leaders on Monday. Hostile briefings within the government have created the impression of profound dysfunction at the top.
Such things are often signs of a regime in ultimate decline, but not always. Mr Johnson is a resilient politician whose appeal to voters does not depend on qualities valued by Westminster veterans. A chaotic digression on the subject Peppa Pig where there should have been an economic strategy was not an uncommon unprofessional mistake. Clowning is Mr. Johnson’s calling. It has worked for him before, which is why the Tory Party made him its leader.
It is insincere from conservative to complain now about a method of government which was the inevitable consequence of the transfer of power to a responsible allergy sufferer. Asking whether Mr Johnson underperforms compared to his usual standard raises the wrong question. It creates problems of immense concern – the lack of a credible plan for “leveling”; systemic tolerance of corruption – subordinate to Westminster’s fixation on political theater.
The practice of MPs taking second jobs, for example, or the pattern of Tory donors taking seats in the House of Lords, goes back long before Mr Johnson’s administration. This week it became known that David Cameron was successful Lobbying at the Lloyds Banking Group to reverse a decision to sever ties with Greensill Capital – a financial firm that had established close ties with Downing Street and then employed the former prime minister after his retirement. The contact person at Lloyds was a peer, a former Tory treasurer who had donated millions to the party and whom Mr Cameron had himself ennobled in 2015.
It is absurd that the seats in the British legislature should be so divided. The blurring of the lines between government, party funding and the private sector is discrediting British democracy. If Mr. Johnson’s inept handling of a case resulted in the whole cheesy contraption being scrutinized, he will pervertly have been doing some sort of public service. When Conservative MPs are angry with their leader for making them vulnerable to this scrutiny, they are more likely to overlook the point about his moral and administrative misconduct.
When asked if Leveling Up is more than a slogan, Tory worries them Shortening of high-speed rail schedules for northern England might as well address the Chancellor as it does the Prime Minister. It is Rishi Sunak’s adherence to restrictive budgetary discipline that is holding back Mr Johnson’s more generous impulses.
The same could reasonably be expected from defects in the Health and social security billwhat a substantial Back bench rebellion earlier this week. The proposed bill is inconsistent with Tory’s election pledges to protect homeowners from having to cash their assets in paying care benefits. One such No. 10 betrayal is a joint venture with the Treasury Department.
It is hardly surprising that Mr Johnson’s disorderly behavior causes problems for his MPs. The blame lies with them for collaborating on the fiction that he was a suitable candidate to run the country. The Tories were happy when his incompetence was more competently masked. Mr. Johnson is not the cause of conservative problems. His leadership is a symptom of a deeper decline in the party.