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Boris Johnson as Prime Minister should be a dream come true for those on the left

James Clay on how Boris Johnson's ineptness is a gift for the Labour Party

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Boris Johnson has managed to bumble his way through life without a care in the world. An education at Eton and the position of President of the Oxford Union gave Johnson a certain spring in his step that most of us could only wish for – that and numerous personal connections to rely on later in life. His confidence and relentless desire for self-promotion has spurred his climb up the greasy pole.

Like his hero Winston Churchill, Johnson always thought he could defy the odds and become Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. When Britain was in its hour of greatest need, Churchill rose to the occasion and fended off the forces of fascist evil. Faced though by mother nature in her most malevolent form, Johnson could only offer a fragment of the leadership shown in 1940.  Instead he sat in Downing Street sipping his fourth glass of Chateau D’yquem having presumably just finished a quick game of pass the PPE contract.

The situation Britain faces today though is far from funny. Thousands of families have lost loved ones while millions of us have had to cope with some of the most draconian restrictions that this country has ever experienced. As a nation we have sacrificed more over the past two years than at nearly any point during our long history. People are justifiably angry but if they want proper change, Johnson’s premiership has to continue just a little while longer.

In 2019, faced with the threat of a Jeremy Corbyn led government potentially backed in coalition by the SNP, the Conservatives turned to Johnson as the best man to deliver Brexit and stave off the threat of a socialist government. Now though, the tables have well and truly turned. He is no longer the man we love to hate; he is the man that we just simply hate.

A question often posed by political commentators is whether or not it is the government that loses an election or the opposition that wins an election. Despite his relative political inexperience, Sir Keir Starmer is obviously aware of this, hence his reluctance to call for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. He understands that in comparison to Johnson’s clownish appearance, he appears both polished and professional. During general elections, the perceived confidence of party leaders is a considerable factor determining how people decide to vote and these two men are worlds away in this department.

Any of Johnson’s potential successors would immediately shatter this one clear advantage that Starmer currently holds. Whether his replacement is the pint-sized pinnacle of polish, Rishi Sunak, or the globe-trotting go-getter, Liz Truss, Starmer will look rather empty if Johnson resigns. Although other names have been floating around the media, those two individuals stand out by a country mile. Sunak may have bankrupted the country and demonstrated a complete lack of economic literacy by raising National Insurance but he is still seen as man in control. Truss on the other hand oozes optimism in this post-Brexit age of global Britain. Conservative backbenchers are becoming jittery and a leadership challenge could be just around the corner. If they choose wisely, this could spell disaster for Labour.

Keir Starmer and the others in the Labour shadow cabinet, whoever they may be, have to realise that the Conservative Party may have lost their previous tidal wave of support but this does not necessarily mean that this is game set and match in any future election. The Media barons such as Rupert Murdoch continue to hold allegiance to the Conservative Party and many up and down the country are still reluctant to believe that Labour are government material. Starmer’s well-crafted façade may be a good starting point but the sands of time are slipping for him to truly cement his vision for a Labour-led Britain. I’d probably even go as far as to say that Johnson as Prime Minister is not only a sad reflection of the decline of Britain’s political class but also a damning reflection on Labour’s inability to hold the government thoroughly to account over its failures.

If one were to steal a glance at history, it would make considerable sense for the Conservative Party to elect a different leader. After the disaster of the Suez Canal crisis in 1956, Anthony Eden did the only correct thing and resigned as Prime Minister. Despite confirming Britain’s relative geopolitical decline and complete lack of influence in the post-colonial age, the Conservative Party still managed to hold power until 1964 due to the refreshing and imperturbable leadership of Harald Macmillan. Wouldn’t it be a pretty miserable affair for the Labour Party if it was still out of power eight years from now?

Obviously maintaining rigorous scrutiny of government failure is of utmost importance but Johnson in his current form is an absolute gift for the Labour Party. One which, if given the chance, will keep on giving.

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