Accept it. It’s too late for denial, and there is no time for the middle three stages. So fast track the grieving process and jump straight to acceptance, because the prognosis for Britain is in, and it’s terminal.
Boris Johnson will be your next prime minister, and possibly sooner than seemed possible a few days ago.
His appointment was ratified today, as tradition dictates, by the monarch (the unconstitutional one with the power).
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
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Until yesterday, Rupert Murdoch had two puppets, both former employees of varying longevity, and both regular dinner dates on state visits to London, in the game.
Hours after Michael Gove’s tragic burial beneath an avalanche of white powder reduced the old boy’s options to one, the Sunday Times gifted Johnson a free advertorial. Technically, it was presented as the first interview of his risk averse campaign (the chief risk being opening his gob).
If so, it was an interview of such searching ferocity that it should have ended with his reply to: “Have you anything else to tell a grateful nation, future prime minister?”
Little of what Johnson said, as if that counts in this contest, makes obvious sense. He “vowed” – and you can take a Johnson vow to the bank; then again, you could take a trillion reichsmark note to the bank in 1930s Germany – to run the country as he ran London as its mayor. That infers a commitment to the mass immigration and multiculturalism that’s so wildly in vogue in his party.
He is positioned both to play hardball with the EU, ignoring the legal requirement to pay the divorce bill of £39bn and exiting deal-less by Halloween if necessary, and also to revive One Nation Tory values.
How an acrimonious, ultra-hard Brexit dovetails with the values of the part of the nation known as Scotland (or the rest of the 48 per cent of that one nation who voted to Remain), he didn’t explain.
He did say he is prepared to scrap the Northern Ireland backstop, but avoided considering the prospect that doing so would drive Northern Ireland to leave the Union.
One thing he didn’t vow was to scrap VAT. Gove promised that, and hats off to him for such a realistic and carefully costed proposal. At times like these, it takes real courage to resist the urge to say crazy stuff to distract from a personal embarrassment.
He is expected to double down on the VAT brainwave on Tuesday, with a vow to scrap gravity and a further vow to scrap the common cold scheduled for Friday, if he’s still in the race.
If and when he isn’t, the only thing he’ll be scrapping is the 2016 previous character reading that Johnson is massively unfit to lead a conga, let alone a country.
Johnson (“I am not a vindictive person. I bear no grudges”) has forgiven Gove, he claims, and hints at giving him a cabinet job. He might send him back to education, where during a popular previous stint Gove introduced Draconian new rules banning users of Class A drugs from teaching again.
“My job,” says Johnson, “is to bring the party together.” That’s a boldly original statement, especially when all the other candidates have been very clear that their job is to split the party more asunder than ever.
But it’s pointless analysing his words, or reiterating that he’s a liar, a charlatan, a rogue, a narcissist and an entitled bone idle wastrel who can’t rouse himself to read a brief, as with his friend Donald Trump. (By the way, Johnson claims Trump rang him with the vow of a generous trade deal from the White House situation room – the one presidents only ever enter to oversee domestic or military crises).
The reason it’s pointless, is because every sentient life form in this country has known this about him for years. The barely sentient entity that is the Conservative Party knows it better than most, and has made up what loosely passes for its mind.
Through a mixture of fear of constituency associations, and the touching optimism that he’s a surefire election winner, the MPs are cascading into line behind the membership.
One well-informed Conservative hack writes in The Spectator about the mounting pressure to skip the members’ run-off if he comes first in the MPs’ votes. That lack of probing worked out so well for them last time that you appreciate its appeal.
Johnson’s lead in endorsements is widening all the time, and the stature of recent converts is hugely impressive. Lachrymose ERG hard man Steve Baker tweets, “I am going to put my complete faith in Boris Johnson”. If romantic, journalistic and political history teaches anything, it’s that no harm will come of that.
“It’s time for all Conservatives to do what’s best for Britain. It’s time to back Boris,” concludes an article Gavin Williamson leaked to The Telegraph. If a clincher’s required, joining them on the bandwagon is Chris Grayling himself.
Time will tell if the vows of Remain backbenchers to join the opposition in a vote of no confidence, and torpedo a Johnson government before it leaves dock, are as trustworthy as Johnson’s.
But barring a miracle, he will land the narrowing odds to kiss the constitutional monarch’s hand. After puckering his lips for Murdoch’s ungloved ring for so long, he will have earned it almost as much as the lesson about bewaring what you wish for that will swiftly and brutally follow.