Just like his run up the British political ladder, there’s a can’t-look-away quality to his fall from power. But there’s also a lesson in his political riches-to-rags story — from landslide 2019 victory to 2022 vote of no confidence, as my colleague Adam Taylor put it, and ultimately to resignation.
From this side of the Atlantic, Johnson was as much the London Mayor stuck on a zip wire in 2012, awkwardly waving two Union Jacks, as he was the graduate of tony Eton and elite Oxford who nonetheless harnessed populist support for Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.
And, oh, the scandals. Back to Adam again for the succinct version:
“There was Britain’s disastrous early pandemic response, which included the prime minister almost dying of covid-19 himself. Then there were accusations of cronyism and corruption, including dubious dealings with Russian oligarchs and a Downing Street redecoration at a wealthy donor’s expense.”
“‘Partygate,’ the catchy name given to a rolling scandal involving rule-breaking pandemic parties at Downing Street, earned him the ignoble honor of being the first British prime minister to be charged with a crime while in office. And though he became prime minister in 2019 after pledging to ‘get Brexit done,’ his government is still mired in the details, even threatening to pull out of its own deal regarding the Northern Irish border.”
His resignation statement drew nearly as much attention for its style as its substance, with Johnson saying of fellow conservatives exhausted with him “the herd is powerful, and when the herd movies, it moves,” praising Britain’s “Darwinian system” for picking leaders, and saying he was sad to go “but them’s the breaks.”
But what caught The Daily 202’s attention was a line in the resignation letter from Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who said this about the Conservative Party: “We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding we are now neither.”
“The current circumstances.”
Over at the New York Times, Eshe Nelson describes the current circumstances: “Inflation in the country has reached an annual rate of 9.1 percent, the highest in four decades, driven by supply chain disruptions from pandemic lockdowns and the war in Ukraine. And price pressures keep building as companies begin to pass on the increase in costs to their customers and workers demand higher wages to cope with the rising cost of living.”
“Households are facing the worst squeeze on their…