After succeeding Theresa May as Prime Minister nearly three years ago (7.24.19), Boris Johnson was quickly understood by those relatively few Americans who pay attention to British politics as a Donald Trump-like figure — brash, conservative, weird blond hair, a bullshitter, an elitist, swaggering, amoral, supported by low-information rurals, deeply loathed by the British left, etc.
And yet from an American perspective Johnson never seemed as utterly foul and rancid and sociopathic as Trump. As arrogant and entitled and indifferent to conventional political behaviors as he was and presumably still is, Johnson has at least, faced with the end of his party’s support and cornered on all sides, finally faced reality and submitted to the rules of the game. Plus he was and is well-educated, well-spoken, occasionally witty and amusing, etc. A woolly mammoth living and conniving by his own rules, if you will, but far more civilized and respectful of the system than Trump ever was or will be.
“As we’ve seen recently in Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful. And when the herd moves, it moves. In politics, no one is remotely indispensable. And [so] our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward. I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks.”
Christopher Meade, 71, to the N.Y. Times: “About time! [Johnson] is a very bad prime minister and a very bad man. It’s been a disaster for this country.”
Francis Jackson, 63, a retired police officer from Manchester, England Jackson: “[Johnson] was abundantly declared a pathological liar, and I don’t like that. I believe you must lead by example, and the guy has no shame and no integrity whatsoever.”
Speaking as a retired civil servant who has worked under several prime ministers Meade said that Johnson is “by far the worst…he is like a child who does not want to let go of his favorite toy. It’s been disgraceful.”
Times analysis by Mark Landler: “The end, when it finally came, was just as messy and jaw-dropping as every other chapter of Boris Johnson’s political career.
“Holed up in Downing Street on Wednesday night, the prime minister faced a rebellion of his cabinet, a catastrophic loss of support in his Conservative Party and a wholesale exodus of ministers, which threatened to leave significant parts of the British government without functioning leadership.
“Yet far from surrendering, Mr. Johnson’s aides put out word that he would continue to fight. It looked like a last roll of the dice by one of the great gamblers in British politics. His brazen refusal to acknowledge reality invited comparisons to Donald J. Trump’s defiance in the chaotic days after the 2020 presidential election.
“By Thursday morning, however, political gravity finally reasserted itself.”