Wednesday 18 September 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Boris out-Borises Boris'

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

The only one who can stop Boris now is Boris. This is what we are endlessly told by those in the know. And, at this stage, you wonder what even Boris could do that would out-Boris what Boris has already done?

This is a man whose romantic history is so complex that he refuses to even tell us how many children he has. But somehow it seems the Residents' Association types in the home counties, who get to decide Britain's next PM, are willing to overlook that. His lies and his offensiveness are portrayed almost as a kind of winning honesty, a lack of hypocrisy. What you see is what you get with Boris, they say.

But it seems Boris has a few more surprises up his sleeve. Let's face it, who could have predicted that in his hour of triumph, Boris would manage to have the police called to his house over a domestic? The fact that it barely goes without remark by Conservative old dears that this isn't Boris's house but the flat where he lives with his young girlfriend is a sign of how low the bar is set. Many of the neighbours weren't even sure if Boris was living there or not. You'd think upstanding Tories would want to know where their PM is sleeping at night.

But now at least they know where he keeps his effing laptop, which for some reason he wanted his girlfriend to get off of, while she wanted him to get off her, apparently. Crockery was thrown, and red wine may have been spilt on her good couch. But all was well when the police arrived, having been called by concerned neighbours.

You'd wonder at this stage if Boris is thinking of testing the old Trump maxim. Could Boris shoot someone on Oxford Street and still not lose votes? Indeed, at this stage, even Trump himself must be in awe of what Boris can get away with.

And, meanwhile, poor old Jeremy Hunt, a relic from another era, bleats on about how he's going to make this leadership competition about character. Yeah right, say Boris's fans. Boris may not have character, but you know what? He is a character. And that matters much more these days. But, of course, the truth is we are barely listening to any of them any more. They all drone on about various things - like the difficulties of filling the top jobs in Brussels, alternative arrangements to the backstop, so and so's lack of fiscal prudence and so on. But all we heard this weekend was that two minutes at the end of the news where they said there's going to be a heatwave next week. Never mind the accompanying thunderstorms. We barely heard that bit. Summer's here. Wake us up in September when Brexit is looming and we'll start worrying again. As Brenda from Bristol said, too much politics going on at the moment.

Sunday Independent

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