What is the difference between the Terminator and Boris Johnson? One is an inhuman evil destructive force without empathy or compassion. The other is also Prime Minister.

First published: August 2022.

The new Prime Minister is due to take over from Boris Johnson on 5 September, that however is unlikely to be the last that we hear from the serial liar and law breaker who spent years plotting and conniving to get the top job only to be wheeched out of it just halfway through a five year term despite winning the Tories their largest majority since Thatcher, after even the craven enablers in his own government started to realise that his dishonesty and entitlement posed a severe risk to their own political careers and the Conservative party’s chances of re-election. They are creatures in Johnson’s own image, concerned only for themselves.

The most likely winner according to a number of opinion polls will be the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, a woman who has passionately held political convictions, and if those passionately held political convictions aren’t going to help her career advancement she’s got some different political convictions that she will hold just as passionately. Truss is the ultimate political chameleon.

However, Truss has successfully positioned herself with the party membership who will choose the next Prime Minister as the Johnson continuity candidate. She has the support of all the prominent Johnson loyalists such as Nadhim Zahawi and Jacob Rees-Mogg as well as the Johnson fan girl Nadine Dorries whose declarations of unconditional loyalty to her spurned prince would make her come across as a deranged stalker if she was not actually a cabinet minister. There are rumours that Dorries will be elevated to the peerage in Johnson’s resignation dishonours list, this will leave a vacancy in her ultra safe Conservative constituency and some have speculated that Johnson intends to take her place rather than face the humiliation of losing his more marginal Uxbridge seat at the next election or if he is found to have mislead Parliament and has to face a recall.

Dorries has described the investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee into whether Johnson misled Parliament – spoiler alert – he did, as a witch hunt and “the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in Westminster,” adding that “it will cast serious doubt not only on the reputation of individual MPs sitting on the committee, but on the processes of Parliament and democracy itself.” Would you call a senior politician of a NATO country dropping his security detail and flying over 1,000 miles to have undeclared meetings with an ex-KGB agent and Kremlin associate whose son he later ennobled an ‘egregious abuse of power’ or is it just plain and simple treason? Just wondering, Nadine.

Truss’s political career has largely consisted of achieving nothing on her own merit but ruthlessly taking credit for the achievements of others. She gave herself the lion’s share of the credit for securing the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori from prison in Iran, which was the result of long and complex negotiations carried out by civil servants at the Foreign Office, for the most part under her predecessors.

Pauline Buchanan Black wrote about her experience of Liz Truss for The New European. At the time, Truss was the Environment Secretary. Ms Buchanan Black, who was the director general of a tree planting charity, wrote a damning assessment of Truss, saying : “It quickly became apparent to me that Liz Truss is someone who likes to take credit for work that is not hers, and shun those whose work it actually is. I see that as the worst quality a leader can have.”

Truss recently dismissed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as being an “attention seeker”. There was a heavy dose of psychological projection there. Truss is notoriously obsessed with publicity and her social media profile so much so that employees at the Department for International Trade supposedly joked that they worked at the Department for Instagramming Truss.

Liz Truss and Boris Johnson. | Flickr/Number 10

According to Dominic Cummings, who knows a thing or two about transactional politicians, the real reason that Johnson has told his supporters to get behind Truss is because he knows that she will be a disaster. Cummings described Truss “as close to properly crackers as anybody I have met in parliament”, and said that she was called the hand grenade because she destroyed everything she came into contact with. Cummings believes that Johnson thinks that Truss will be just as much of a hand grenade in Number 10 and will prove utterly incapable of rising to the challenges of the cost of living crisis which will bite in a serious way next year. Truss will be a prisoner of the extreme right of the Conservative party and will concentrate on policies aimed at pleasing her core support. We have already seen signs of this in just the few short weeks of the leadership contest. Truss has managed to anger swathes of Scottish and Welsh public opinion, not just independence supporters.

The rising public anger and industrial unrest which will be provoked by the cost of living crisis and the inability of Liz Truss to deal with the widespread problems that will crop up for the government next year with ever increasing frequency will lead to a catastrophic showing in the polls for the Conservatives.

The reality is that this is not a cost of living crisis, it’s a cost of corporate greed crisis. Truss will do nothing to deal with that. She will reward the rich with tax cuts. Truss will attempt to crack down on protests rather than tackle the underlying issues which led to the protests in the first place. Johnson is banking on panicking Conservative MPs ditching Truss in order to save themselves just as he was ditched, and then he hopes to ride their wave of discontent back into number 10.

Boris Johnson. | Flickr/Number 10

The havoc that will be wrought on public services and ordinary working people in the meantime is of no concern to Johnson or the Conservative party.

However, should by some miracle the equally insanely ambitious Rishi Sunak beat the odds and take the top job, Johnson and his supporters will devote themselves to plotting against him from the back benches. It will be a repeat of the way in which the right wing extremists of the European Research Group plotted against and undermined Theresa May.

Johnson really is the English nationalist Trump. He’s not going to concede defeat even after he’s been forced out of office and a successor has been appointed. Johnson’s baleful legacy will be casting its shadow over British politics for quite some time to come. Johnson is determined to return, which is why he finished his churlish and graceless final statement to the Commons as Prime Minister with the words Hasta la vista, a Spanish phrase which means See you later or Until the next time. Hasta la vista baby is most associated with the Terminator from the movies, an amoral machine for wreaking havoc and destruction, completely lacking in empathy or compassion, so very much like Johnson then.

PMP Magazine



Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger who writes and talks about UK Politics and Scottish Independence.

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