Even if Boris Johnson was to resign at the end of the year, it will be six months too late, writes JULIAN SELF.
Boris Johnson is nominally the leader of the government (until February, at least, according to his chief advisor’s dad) but it is surely becoming abundantly clear to everybody that he only ever wanted the title of Prime Minister, not the actual job that went with it. Nobody even seems to know where he is most of the time, unless he can smell a photo opportunity. Dominic Cummings, meanwhile, has never been elected by anybody??????????, and he’s never going to have the support of the public at large.
Among the many things that Cummings/Johnson has decided to ‘shake up’ recently is building regulations. These were put in place with good reason and developed and fine-tuned over a period of many years. Scrapping them will be a huge mistake that generations will never forgive the Conservative Party for. Substandard housing (some of which, we know, would be converted office space) will benefit nobody, and a continued lack of decent, affordable housing will be to the detriment of our nation.
More than that, have lessons still not been learned from Grenfell? Regulations keep householders safe; unrestrained, builders and developers cut corners.
Johnson wants to be seen as the saviour of our nation, delivering Brexit. He would do well to remember that a great many of those who voted to leave the EU did so because they wanted to protect the green spaces of our country, not to have them ravaged by unbridled development. No wonder so many who voted to leave the EU are now ruing their decision. This government has already lost public trust over planning thanks to the Robert Jenrick affair.
Having an unassailable majority in the House is a privilege; it should not be abused. We already have a no-deal Brexit apparently being forced through (which nobody voted for, no matter how much historical revisionism the ERG and Nigel Farage care to apply), and we are amidst a monumental mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic and a risible fumbling of the exam results catastrophe. How many more shambolic foul-ups can one administration bear?
The principle ‘vision’ of our de facto premier Cummings seems to be tearing down the institutions of this country (let’s not forget that Public Health England, the NHS, the BBC and the Civil Service are also firmly in his sights); though it appears that he is not remotely interested in exercising any control whatsoever over the actual building of anything… Johnson, meanwhile, refuses to be held to account for any of his government’s mistakes. Neither, for that matter, is he inclined to let his ministers take responsibility for their failings.
Alas, the electorate at large will not have an opportunity to express an opinion at the ballot box regarding their confidence in Johnson’s leadership for another four and a half years, but I’d suggest that his party really ought to give some consideration as to whether or not they want to continue lurching from one catastrophe to the next under his part-time premiership. Johnson has made a mockery of our democracy (he regularly reduces Prime Minister’s Questions to the level of playground taunts, when he can be bothered to show up) and he demeans the office of Prime Minister with his cavalier attitude to the truth. Can the Conservative Party really stand even another six months of this behaviour being conducted in its name?
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