Prime Minister Boris Johnson presents a perfect analogy for the state of the current Government
By Claire Dickson
The recent Number 10 scandals, involving prohibited house parties and extensive parliamentary standards breaches, provoked an opinion poll nightmare for the Conservative Party. No more than 4 months before a key leadership test in the form of electorally measurable winnings looms the predicted 16-point Labour lead; what’s worse, it’s in the Red Wall seats delivered by Brexit on a plate last time round.
But controversy appears to have followed its leader from the outset as demonstrated by his roots in the Times newspaper. It may not provoke surprise that within months of his entrance to the reporting role, an invented quote from an academic was resultative of his initial front-page story. It was the wake of complaint from the academic which provoked Johnson’s unrelenting response wherein instead of apologising, he claimed that the ‘mystery had deepened.’ A sacking from the paper was described by Johnson as his ‘biggest cock-up’ – but was the worst still to come for the Prime Minister in waiting?
Central to the Brexit campaign lay Johnson’s claim it would enable an extra £350 million per week to be utilised by the NHS, aided in its perpetuation thanks to his famous Brexit Bus. All this despite the fact the only change able to take place would have been an alternative spending arrangement for the money the European Union already spent on the UK. Added to this, Johnson became a key figurehead for the Vote Leave campaign; the same organisation which was later fined £61,000 and referred to police for breaking electoral spending laws. Activity undertaken by the group was the inclusion of establishing a fake company to gain entry to David Cameron’s speech given at the Confederation of British Industry wherein they held banners connecting the CBI with Brussels and stated their intention to disrupt meetings of pro-EU companies.
Nor can it be said that Johnson weighed in on his vows to level up the north. With the pandemic serving to expose the economic boost required for prosperity there, it may only be the words of an intentional speech rather than deeds forming the skeleton of progress. Beginning with transport, whilst the Prime Minister didn’t deliver on pledges to parallel the quality of Northern Powerhouse Rail with Crossrail in London, a single bus journey in Greater Manchester will usually add up to as much as the London cap. Educational attainment in the north has been etched across a bleaker canvas again as the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the education gap between London and the north is only widening. All this added to an initially vague definition of what Johnson meant by the term as it was found via survey that only 1 in 5 members of the population are actually aware of what ‘levelling up’ entails.
In conclusion, it stands to sense that a track record of unreliability produces plummeting polls – perhaps the rise to the fore of recent scandals has merely been the tip of the iceberg inflicted on an ever wearying electorate. Earlier this week, Scottish Tories’ leader Douglas Ross called for the immediate resignation of the Prime Minister; he was not alone in this motion, with many finally considering Labour lead Sir Keir Starmer to have bested Boris during Wednesday’s Prime Ministers Questions; the Labour leader called Johnson’s apology to the British people “pathetic” and saying “the party’s over”.