It seems fairly obvious that the foundation of any successful leader is a public’s trust in them. Without trust, elections cannot be won, and laws cannot be implemented. It seems bewildering, then, that we are mere days away from de-facto Prime Minister-elect Boris Johnson from taking over at the helm.
Boris is, quite simply, not a trustworthy man. Historic remarks about the European Union sit uneasily alongside his role with the ‘Leave’ campaign, a position that he has used in his recent (but still relatively rare) media appearances as evidence for his capability of delivering Brexit.
It is not only his political life that is questionable; the private life of Boris (which is very hastily becoming the public life of Boris) is not so much a murky lake as a turbid ocean of rumours, headlines, and hushed secrets. His recent spat with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, which he repeatedly refused to answer questions about for no clear or discernible reason, is just the latest in a long list of questionable personal affairs.
Perhaps most stark of these is his familial situation. Twice divorced, he has 4 children with one wife, a child with another woman with whom he had an affair, and is rumoured to have yet another progeny in hiding. An earlier affair with another woman also resulted in two abortions, yet another example of a potentially awkward issue being ignored by his peers.
Johnson is hardly the moral paragon of society that the populous should look up to; it is probably no surprise then, that he has been able to climb so high up the greasy pole of the ‘Conservative’ Party.
If a leader will not disclose something as simple as how many children he has fathered, then how can the public put their faith in him? This issue of trust is evermore significant in the context of Brexit – ‘Boris will get us out’ is the phrase I hear bandied around in many political circles. Quite how Boris will do this is unknown.
How can he hope to stop MPs from doing what they have already done before, and blocking a no-deal exit? How can he hope to agree a new deal with the EU in just over 3 months? Such questions are normally dismissed as scare mongering, or simply ignored, by his proponents.
We have already seen back-sliding on the very first issue of his campaign, namely tax reductions for the most wealthy. If this trend snowballs and picks up pace, as I believe it will, then we may very well find ourselves in 12 months (provided he survives that long) with a Prime Minister who is not wholly dissimilar from our current one.
In truth, Boris does not have an answer, and he knows it. He is relying on Brexiteers who feel that they have run out of options. And perhaps they have.
Small the gate and narrow the road may be, but Boris is not the shepherd to lead the flock along the path.
Even his campaign logo sounds like the stuff of Ladbrokes advertising – ‘Back Boris.’ When you back your team to win on the weekend and are let down, you may lose a tenner. But if you back Johnson, you may well end up losing Brexit. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, to see that it is rumoured that BoJo is looking at the possibility of an early election, as I penned for this fine publication over a month ago.
I cannot see a way out of the quagmire that he finds himself in, unless he can win a stable majority to back a no-deal, or he prorogues Parliament. Whatever happens, we’re in for a good show until Halloween.
Photo by BackBoris2012 Campaign Team on Flickr.