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29th Apr 2021

Boris Johnson has revealed himself to be the embarrassing man-child he really is

As he balled up his fists and yelled at Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, we were all reminded of what a petulant little man-child our prime minister truly is

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

As he balled up his fists and yelled at Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, we were all reminded of what a petulant little man-child our prime minister truly is

It’s been a bad few weeks for the prime minister in the press, there’s no denying that, and you’d have to be a proper grown up to handle it; even the Daily Mail has turned on him, a Tory’s worst nightmare.

Controversies about lobbying, Dominic Cummings, and the Downing Street flat’s furnishings have swirled around him, with it emerging that, his old pal from Eton and the Bullingdon Club, former prime minister David Cameron gets around more than the clap.

Indeed, it would be hard for even the most seasoned politician to manage the constant stream of political nonsense spewing out his party right now – let alone our 56-year-old toddler prime minister, who it turns out deals with it like all toddlers do: having a tantrum.

Red faced, flustered, pointing his finger at Labour leader Keir Starmer, and going on an incoherent rant, Johnson looked more like a baby having a hissy fit in a high chair – than a man in the highest political office in the land addressing parliament.

All it took for him to lose his cool was for Starmer to read out the Nolan principles – principles that all politicians agree they should uphold. These are: openness, integrity, honesty, accountability, selflessness, objectivity, and leadership – not overly difficult to grasp. You’d think.

However, it served as the final straw for a prime minister under fire, triggering him to go off on a tirade about everything other than what Starmer had actually said.

Rattled, he falsely accused Labour of opposing his final Brexit deal, and said he’s “rolling out” more nurses in the NHS – talking about them like they’re the latest iPhone, and overlooking the fact that hundreds of NHS workers died after contracting Covid-19.

To be honest, it’s easy to see why – his record on the Nolan principles at first glance is dire, if we just look at the three most basic: honesty, accountability, and leadership.

Honesty? Well, he got fired for fabricating quotes at The Times, has had multiple affairs, discussed helping to have a journalist beaten up. He apologised to the Queen after a court declared he misled her on proroguing parliament, broke his promises to Northern Ireland on the border down the Irish Sea, and then of course there were the “£350m a week for the NHS” Brexit buses … the list is dizzyingly long.

Accountability? We have the worst death toll in Europe and one of the highest per capita globally, we have the worst economic decline out of any G7 country, and the person who decides whether he breaks ministerial code is… Johnson.

He’s faced no consequences for the lies he’s told. No consequences for his catastrophic mismanagement of Covid-19. And now, he is directly responsible for deciding whether he should be sacked over the scandal around his flat. That’s not what I call accountability.

Leadership? Here, the immortal words of The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker are appropriate: Johnson’s leadership more closely resembles a f*cking clown trying to run across a minefield than a prime minister leading us through a crisis. And, lest we forget, he’s also been reported as saying that he wishes he’d left the country open during the pandemic – in the same way the mayor in Jaws left the beaches open despite a massive shark eating people.

But who could have predicted this?

I mean, you could argue him breaking through a wall of polystyrene bricks, cosplaying a dream of being Boris the Builder at the last General Election, could have been a sign – or his fantasy plans for “Boris Island” in the middle of the River Thames. He’s more like Boris the Destroyer.

Then of course were the offensive comments describing Black people as “piccanninies” with “watermelon smiles“, or his former lover Jennifer Acruri receiving £126,000 of tax payer’s cash when he was London mayor which has still not been explained, which could have served as bad omens.

It’s said his party call him the “Teflon Tory” because it seems, no matter what this toddler does, he survives – like a cockroach in a nuclear war; he manages to stay strong in the polls, riding on his clown-like persona.

However, there may be signs his political luck is running out, because the devil is often in the details – like Al Capone, being taken down by fiddling his taxes.

Questions from HMRC, the Electoral Commission, the press, and politicians are all backing him into a corner.

Not only that, but labelling the one person that knows everything about his political dealings, the Machiavellian Cummings, a “chatty rat” almost feels like an act of political suicide. Cummings’ savage blogpost is likely to just be the starter in a three course meal of deception, corruption, and incompetence – look out for his appearance before parliament next month, it’ll be a blockbuster.

In 1982, Johnson’s housemaster at Eton said of him: “Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility… I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”

It seems little has changed.

But, like when he was stuck on a zip-wire when he was London mayor, waving a tiny Union Jack, it looks like his political momentum is on the precipice of grinding to a halt – hanging by a thread.

And unlike when he’s asked difficult questions by journalists, there aren’t any fridges for him to hide in from the Electoral Commission or HMRC this time.

It finally looks as if this clown show may be reaching its grand finale.