A Meditation On Boris Johnson

…from Mark Steyn:

Is he a nice person? Well, he’s left an awful lot of human wreckage in his wake. Some of the women he’s used and discarded seem to me, without naming names, to be sad and profoundly damaged from their brief intersection with his wandering zipper. His latest squeeze seems likely to be moving into Number Ten without benefit of clergy – a first for the Tories and a sign of how desperate they are after years of letting all the sober, serious, earnest types turn their party into a laughingstock.

What does he believe in? Other than himself, not terribly much. About a decade ago, I was in London for a couple of days and had lunch with him and Stuart Reid at a favorite Italian restaurant. Stuart was the deputy editor who did all the hard grind at the Speccie, while Boris was the great fizzing impresario fronting the operation – a business model he transferred successfully into his mayoral regime, and will no doubt be trying again in Downing Street. He was going on the BBC’s “Question Time” that night and was worried that he didn’t have anything sufficiently arresting to say, so asked if I had any tips. I gave him a few thoughts on the passing scene, and he considered them not in terms of his own public-policy positions (if any) but in terms of attitudinal cachet. Finally, I said, “Why don’t you really stir them up and put in a word for social conservatism?”

“You mean abortion and all that? Oh, G od..,” he sighed, and ordered dessert.

If that seems to be (for self-interested reasons) his most firmly drawn red line, don’t nevertheless overstate his ideological flexibility. Like Boris, Theresa May schemed and maneuvered for decades to reach the top spot …and, by the time she pulled it off, she’d spent so much time and effort on the scheming and maneuvering that she had no idea of what to do once she got there. Boris is likewise invested in himself, but, having reached the finial of Disraeli’s greasy pole, he doesn’t intend to be just the latest seat-filler. Mrs May wanted to be prime minister; Johnson wants to be a great and consequential prime minister.

Between him and Trump, we are in for interesting times.

4 thoughts on “A Meditation On Boris Johnson”

  1. > Mrs May wanted to be prime minister; Johnson wants to be a great and consequential prime minister.

    Oh, I hope so. I only hope ‘great and consequential’ means the UK benefits too.

    1. It’s like Trump and Obama. They are both very similar, consequential, and especially flawed. The key difference is that one loves the USA and the other thinks it is an illegitimate country. Their policy success and failures generally reflect this.

  2. I don’t know much about the politics over there except that that country needs a lot more than a new PM. The cops are trolling social media for insults or political views than run contrary to the leftists while ignoring actual crime.

  3. OK, Mr. Steyn, the Prime Minister office is a greasy pole, but it is occupied by seat-fillers?

    I suppose one shouldn’t interrupt the esteemed columnist when “he is on a roll”, but isn’t that what in the trade is called, a mixed metaphor?

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