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'When they can hide him no longer - danger will strike'

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A few months ago it seemed impossible that Boris Johnson could get even to the threshold of becoming prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Now he is in the final two, bracing himself for four weeks of party hustings around Britain with his opponent, Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s current Foreign Secretary. Then an estimated 160,000 members of the Conservative Party will vote to choose their new leader and, therefore, a new prime minister.

Johnson’s last ministerial post, from which he resigned almost a year ago, was as foreign secretary. He was, by popular acclaim and according to most of his parliamentary colleagues, an atrocious secretary of state. His staff detested his laziness and mendacity; ambassadors deplored his lack of diplomatic skill, and his utter unwillingness to cultivate any.

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Traits familiar from his previous jobs – mayor of London, shadow spokesmanships, editor of The Spectator and a rank-and-file journalist – were magnified in this great office of state: the indolence, casualness, monstrous selfishness, lack of attention to detail, incompetence and monumental dishonesty. The word often used about Johnson – uncontroversially – is that he is a liar. He reminds one of the joke about Richard Nixon – that he lied so much that, if he found himself accidentally telling the truth, he would start lying again to keep his hand in.

Johnson can only dream of being a statesman in Nixon’s league, but may soon get the opportunity to try. The Conservative Party is in desperate straits. Theresa May, leaving after three years as its leader, is widely thought to have been the most incapable prime minister since Lord North lost the American colonies. Her lack of nous, statecraft and conviction contributed to a failure to take Britain out of the European Union by the original date of March 29; an extension has been granted until October 31. She had to be prised from office with the equivalent of a crowbar.

She left resentfully, her party in a catastrophic state, routed at last month’s local and European elections.........

© Brisbane Times