I used to quite like Boris Johnson, in the same sense that I used to quite like Eddie Izzard. Many years ago, when Have I Got News For You was still funny, Boris could do an entertaining comedy turn and I would laugh. The more I learn about the man and his politics, however, the less funny and the less interesting I find him.
The Boris Johnson of today is less like the Bertie Wooster character that he used to play in days gone by and more of a bullying man-child who shouts and sulks when his pretensions are challenged.
The fact that this long-time europhile has been adopted as the poster boy of the Vote Leave campaign, as a means to further his Tory leadership ambitions, tells you everything that you need to know about that ghastly Tory-led campaign. The fact that the other “leaver” groups, with the honourable exception of The Leave Alliance, endorse this man as their spokesman bespeaks the conformist mindset of those who should be striving to set the agenda.
Johnson’s recent appearance on The Andrew Marr Show is as good an example as any of the damage that he is doing to the “leave” campaign. Had a properly briefed politician with Johnson’s level of exposure had the opportunity to participate in a 25 minute interview on the BBC, he or she could have blown the debate wide open. Instead, we had Johnson’s ill-informed blathering.
It wouldn’t even take that much.
Marr: “Do you foresee Britain remaining part of the Single Market?”
Marr: “What about freedom of movement?”
Spokesman: “It’s not going anywhere if we stay, let’s leave the EU first and then see what we can do.”
Marr: “And what about all those third-party treaties?”
Spokesman: “In international law the presumption of continuity should address that or even an adjunct to access EU treaties on a temporary basis so as to continue those provisions in the short-term would be in everybody’s interests.”
The above is not some arcane information available only to a small priestly class. In fact, the most important details have already been organised into a short pamphlet that is accessible to anybody.
Personally, I think that there are very serious questions to be answered about how and why the political parties have been able to co-opt and dominate the people’s referendum, thereby denying us the debate that we were all promised. The Tory Party is more than happy for the EU referendum to become the “Boris and Dave” show; Johnson sets them up, Cameron knocks them down, and Tory shall speak unto Tory, and the rest of us do not exist. Corbyn’s Labour is an irrelevance and Farron’s Lib Dems do not even qualify for joke status.
The latest outing for the blonde bombshell has already been demolished by more experienced minds than mine. Why anybody other than partisan Tory sycophants find this acceptable is beyond me. It is about time we started to set our own agenda.