After a dismal result in the North Shropshire by-election, are Boris’s nine lives finally up?


A friend of my dad announced to me a couple of days ago that the day Boris Johnson is no longer prime minister, he will be inviting everyone he knows over to his house to drink a whole lot of beer. Since this man makes his own – by all accounts very strong – brew, this could be a very messy rendezvous.

These feelings are felt by many across the country.

By this point, public consensus says Boris has to go. The cat has spent all of his nine lives.

In the just over two years since Johnson was elected to office (has it really only been two years?), he and his party have been knee-deep in calamity, scandal, and cronyism. Yet, they have survived by ducking and diving every time, cunningly pointing their fingers in the opposite direction, or shutting off the power when the spotlight has been shone on their misdoings.

By this point, the public consensus says Johnson has to go. The cat has spent all of his nine lives. The PM’s approval rating is at an ‘all time low’, according to The Independent, falling 11 points since November.

It seems quite a shame that we have only now hit the iceberg pundits think is strong enough to sink HMS Johnson – the Tories’ stinking defeat at the North Shropshire by-election. A seat that has been a Tory stronghold for nearly 200 years, Helen Morgan’s win for the Liberal Democrats is the seventh-largest swing in the United Kingdom’s by-election history and a glaring sign that it’s time for Johnson to abandon ship.

No matter how much our good friend Rod Liddle tries to distract us by proclaiming Labour’s poor polling in the by-election, this result is a clear sign that our circus clown’s fumbling and bumbling will no longer entertain the electorate. North Shropshire represents a wider dissatisfaction across the country: Boris, finally, must go. The Tories’ and often his own personal scandals have finally caught up with him.

How can the straw that breaks the camels back not be the weight of grieving families, but instead a small crack in the ‘blue wall’?

Yet it really exposes the demoralising state of affairs we live in when the only numbers that threaten the premiership, are the numbers of votes lost in a by-election. Numbers that should have ousted him earlier include the number of children, at least 250,000, going hungry this Christmas, the number of dodgy multi-billion-pound contracts given to Cabinet member’s cronies, or – the clincher – the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK since the pandemic began, nearing a grim 150,000. How can the straw to break the camel’s back not be the weight of grieving families, but instead a small crack in the ‘blue wall’?

Don’t be fooled, Boris will try to cling on by his claws. He will use the Omicron wave as a distraction, a convenient means to make a slight of hand move, to restore his crumbling façade as an upsetting-pint-pouring man of the people, a scruffily blonde-haired neo-Churchill leading the charge against another legion of coronaviruses, with a syringe in his right hand and a Union Jack in his left. This will be the narrative he and his cronies will seek to peddle.

Yet, this narrative is weakening, as his support base dwindles. The Tory rebellion of 99 MPs voting against Plan B on Monday is representative of the country-wide dissatisfaction with the PM. Lord Frost’s recent resignation signals the same. Many who once backed Boris in his campaign against Covid-19 are now tired of restrictions and want to solve the Omicron crisis – if they even see a crisis at all – in a way that better preserves the ‘normality’ we have enjoyed over the past six months.

Boris is being flanked on two fronts, by those who have always seen through his scandals, and the growing number of people who believe he has betrayed the Brexit Britain he represented in July 2019 of bulldog-British libertarianism.

Boris will go soon. Regrettably, he won’t be properly held to account as he should be, despite the catastrophic failures he is responsible for. When he eventually leaves Parliament, he’ll probably be rewarded with a lovely place as Chairman of a flashy board.

Whether it be a surprise Christmas present or an Easter miracle I’m uncertain, I nevertheless foresee him losing hold of the wheel of this ship before my final exams this summer. And I’ll certainly hope to be celebrating with a bottle of home-brew in my hand.

Image: UK Parliament via Creative Commons.

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