Shambolic and reckless... but here’s why the Brits will keep voting for Boris

There's one more term in office for Boris, says John Dolan
Shambolic and reckless... but here’s why the Brits will keep voting for Boris

UK prime minister Boris Johnson reacts as he prepares to paint with children during a visit at the Field End Infant school, in London. Picture: Daniel Leal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

I WAS tempted to start this column by writing that it’s been another bad week for Boris Johnson.

But, actually, has it?

The British Prime Minster blundered his way onto this island and duly insulted large swathes of its population in every interview he gave, every word he spoke.

His take on every issue is truly bizarre - utterly wrong-headed and ignorant of reality.

He looked down upon the mess that he had created with the Protocol, which itself followed on the hames he had made of Brexit, and appeared to genuinely believe he was the innocent party here; nay, the victim!

Then his Government blithely suggested they may break international law, as you do, in order to get themselves and the DUP - the first three letters of the word dupes, you may have noticed - off the hook of his making.

The political response to Boris’s shenanigans here - from a Taoiseach who reportedly shed his usually mild demeanour on the phone to him and was left in apoplexy, to a Sinn Féin leader who could barely stifle her contempt for him - was wholly understandable and wholly warranted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks to local business people after a regional cabinet meeting at Middleport Pottery in Stoke on Trent.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks to local business people after a regional cabinet meeting at Middleport Pottery in Stoke on Trent.

The media were baffled and bemused too: what to make of a man who seems to talk a language and follow a logic all of his own?

This is Boris Johnson’s way, both in politics and life. He can swear blind that white is black and black is white, and remain utterly impervious to anything so degrading as the ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ which the rest of us use to govern our lives and thoughts.

Boris is intensely disliked by almost every sentient being on this island, for a multitude of reasons - his reckless attitude to the direct effect of his policies on Northern Ireland being just one of them.

The rap sheet also includes the fact he is a privileged Eton toff and a Tory boy, then there are the multitude of mistruths, the bluster, the condescension to Ireland and Europe, the arrogance, even the way he (deliberately?) musses up his hair before he faces the public.

We are, of course, hyper-aware of his many domestic failings too; his initial attitude to Covid which involved pointedly shaking hands with hospital staff, his denial of breaking lockdown laws, then his fines for breaching them anyway.

And that’s just skimming the surface.

But I return to my initial point. A bad week for Boris? Not really.

Every single person he has antagonised was already antagonised by him. Sure, he didn’t win any fans, but he didn’t lose any either. And this is the way he operates.

I’ll go further. Boris Johnson is not halfway through his first term in office, and I reckon he will have enough support in the UK to win at least one more.

How so? How in earth will UK voters scan the shambles of his term of office, and decide they want some more?

Ah, that’s the real interesting question, isn’t it? Not 100 reasons to hate Boris. But a few reasons why so many will still vote for him.

Let me be clear; I firmly believe the Prime Minister is a shambolic and reckless individual, who has brought the body politic of the UK to its lowest ebb I have ever seen. In the medium term, he presents a real and present danger to peace on this island, and to the constituent parts of his own country’s Union. His policies could bring the UK - the country of my birth - to its knees.

No, I could never vote for him.

But many will. And here are a few reasons why...

1. The Brits like politicians who wear their politics lightly.

If you studied Politics at university, or if you have an ideology that guides your beliefs, best not to mention them if you’re running for election across the water.

The bulk of British voters are deeply suspicious of anyone who appears to have spent time studying the issues of the day, and finding solutions to them. The notions!

Offer them a Michael Foot or a Neil Kinnock, with their red rose badges and pamphlets, and it’s a no from them. But Tony Blair or David Cameron? Now they won’t frighten the horses, will they!

Boris is cut from the same cloth; indeed, he may share the voters’ contempt for politicians!

2. The Brits believe both UK mainstream and social media simply don’t represent them

And, let’s be honest, the perception is not far out.

Yes, mass market papers like The Sun and Daily Mail offer a skewed version of reality, but then so does the Guardian in the opposite direction, which leads me neatly onto my next point.

3. British voters are sick to the back teeth of liberal causes being constantly espoused

Here, I think, is where the Irish voters share something in common with their UK counterparts.

The culture wars, played out on social media, are being shoved down people’s throats daily.

It’s possible for British people to be concerned about equality, racism and gender disparity, while at the same time being irritated by constant attempts to smear them as guilty participants.

Although Boris is fairly liberal in inclination himself, in many voters’ minds he also represents a bulwark against all that statue-toppling, knee-taking, and accusations of cultural appropriation which baffle a large majority of Brits.

4. Ultimately, it will be Boris v Keir Starmer

Although there are signs of another surge for the third party in the UK, the Liberal Democrats, the next election, due in 2025, will almost certainly be a straight fight between the Tory and Labour leaders.

Keir Starmer has more chance of winning than his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn - who, as well as breaking rule No.1 of wearing his political heart on his sleeve, appeared to dislike Britain with a vengeance - but can he shake off the Labour image of a party more concerned about Palestine and trans-rights than bread-and-butter issues such as health, housing and the cost of living?

That’s what politicians are for, in British minds, to fix things, not to run people’s lives and to tell them what to think.

The challenge facing Starmer is that he has to achieve this turn-around to such an extent, that he overturns one of the biggest Tory majorities in history.

The sad news, for us on this island, is that Boris may be shambling around on the world stage for a long time to come.

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