Johnson: Goodbye, Boris? | International
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Boris Johnson dedicated himself for years to cultivating an image of a well-intentioned, friendly and eccentric jester, as if he were a character from the pages of an Agatha Christie novel. Along with his messy hair and his mismatched outfits, his frequent (and inappropriate) comments became an essential part of the character. Instead of downplaying the privileged upbringing he had received, he showed it off whenever he could.
Throughout his career (and with his Lazarus nature it may be premature to speak in the past tense), Johnson has consistently displayed unbridled ambition and an ability to sacrifice both loyalty and so-called principles on the altar of his ambition. This has little to do with the English gentleman model.
The irony is that this populist politician came to power on the promise of giving the people what they deserved. With unquestionable skill, he crafted a story in which both Parliament and the judiciary had conspired against the citizenry, robbing them your vote on Brexit. His strategy not only ignored the functions of the other powers of the State, but also sought to undermine them.
As prime minister, his attempts to silence the legislature collided with parliamentary sovereignty, a fundamental British constitutional principle. Even though he theoretically respected the judiciary, in practice he clashed with it. For example, with the sentence Miller II of the Supreme Court, which prevented the executive from suspending Parliament in 2019, had no shame in reviving the anti-judicial sentiment, which the yellow press had instigated during the Brexit saga with that infamous headline “Enemies of the people”. Recently, his government has advocated a possible replacement of the Human Rights Acta rule that incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into national legislation, for one bill of rights (British), tacitly characterizing judges as outsiders. Needless to say, no democratic state committed to fundamental rights can afford such contempt.
Johnson’s disregard for the principle of legality did not end here. He, too, had no qualms about commenting that respect for International Law (for example, the Northern Ireland protocol) could be dispensed with. Such statements provoked a unanimous rejection of four previous heads of government: Major, Blair, Brown and May, showing the seriousness of the statements, and uniting the political class beyond ideological differences.
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In any case, his decisions in the domestic sphere were the ones that finally led to his downfall. The impact of the 10 Downing Street party scandals during the pandemic led to an outright rejection by many citizens who trusted him in 2019. Similarly, his knowledge of possible allegations of sexual misconduct by MP Chris Pincher, previously to the incorporation of this one to the Government, was lethal. Despite the fact that Johnson continued to argue that he was the voice of the citizens, the outrage against these practices has not been confined to the walls of Westminster. To such an extent has this clamor been powerful that it is possible that he will not be allowed to continue as interim prime minister and that the opposition will lead a vote of no confidence.
In addition to this scenario, Johnson could be expelled by his own teammates before September (when it is estimated, approximately, that the new leader of the Tories be named). His inability to take responsibility and resign, scandal after scandal, as well as to demand the departure of his acolytes when they failed to meet the required standards in public life, has inevitably led to last Thursday’s announcement.
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