"Following an excruciating few days when many of his colleagues left his
cabinet over yet another scandal, Boris Johnson finally resigned on July 7 as
leader of the Conservative party. As the UK is a parliamentary democracy, he
continues as caretaker prime minister while the contest that will produce his
replacement plays out. This situation has caused only more confusion and
In a characteristic sorry-not-sorry speech, Johnson made clear that the problem
was not him or his policies, but rather that his own party had decided to move
in another direction. The “herd” had decided to find a new leader, leaving the
PM colleagueless and friendless in front of No. 10.
Johnson’s departure will mark the end of yet another tumultuous, chaotic period
of British politics. The question remains, however, how did one of the most
successful politicians of recent years go from winning a huge electoral
majority in 2019 to being forced into resigning less than three years later?
For some, the answer is obvious. Johnson attracted accusations of scandal,
impropriety and incompetence in much the same way that Donald Trump attracts
accusations of arrogance, misogyny and obnoxiousness. The justification for
this view is obvious, given their personalities and past performances.
Granted, even the most cynical commentator would be hard-pressed to imagine the
inventiveness of the ways in which Johnson offended everyday opinion. From a
scandal over wallpaper, being fined by police for breaking his own lockdown
rules and, finally, treating with indifference serious accusations of sexual
misconduct against a member of his government, the charge sheet is long and
novel, at least in British politics. Multiple quasi-apologies and half-hearted
mea culpas have provided grist to the mill.
But if we privilege the role scandal plays in this story, then the implication
might be that all was otherwise fine under Johnson’s administration. This is
far from the case. What became obvious to his own party was that behind the
buffoonish exterior, the quick wit and wearisome repartee, lay very little."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics