CONTEMPLATING TRUMP MARK TWO

So now we stop laughing. Now we stop mocking our American cousins for being daft enough to elect to the highest office in the land a man whom they knew to be a cheat, a serial liar, and a stranger to detail, research, and hard work. Because, unless some miracle happens, Britain is about to usher Trump's mini me into number 10 Downing Street.

Admittedly Boris Johnson's base is not, as with Trump's, a segment of the electorate at large; not the result of swing states swinging away from liberal values, or rust belt counties persuaded that tomorrow's world can be rebuilt from yesterday's industries. Instead, thanks to a constitutional quirk of fate - at least as indefensible as the USA's electoral college - the party of goverment gets to choose a Prime Minister because it is technically in power. I say technically because to all intents and purposes the Conservative Government has long ceased to govern, preferring instead a lengthy contemplation of its own political navel.

People have pointed to a similar "coronation" when Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair without even the recourse to a ballot of its own members. And indeed that too was an insult to the democratic process. Amongst those who said, correctly, that there should have been a general election to confer legitimacy on the new premier, was one, Boris Johnson.  Had Gordon Brown gone to the country during his honeymoon period, history might have taken a very different turn.

Nevertheless there are disturbing contemporary parallels between what has been an American tragedy, and what may well turn out to exacerbate the crisis now engulfing the UK.  One is the character of the two men - though character is perhaps not the mot juste. Both men are serial adulterers, both have been caught out telling monumental porkies and then denying it, both are convinced they are born to lead whilst neither has the intellectual equipment, application or rigour for high office.  Many Tory grandees and commentators have gone on record as saying they wouldn't trust Boris as far as he could be thrown - no great distance even in his new slimmed down, election ready persona.

If Patten, Clarke, Hastings and Parris think you are a 24 carat shit, and those with whom you  have "worked" most closely describe you as a dilletante who does no homework, denies all failures and attributes the success  and initiatives of others to himself, then it is fair to assume that Johnson's qualifications for premiership are on the anorexic side of slim.

Yet, just as the Republican Party fail to call out the most egregious behaviour of the 45th President of the United States, just as they pander to his ego, swallow his blustering lies, and stand by as he trashes the reputation of the country he represents, so too does the Tory Party bring themselves to suggest  it's acceptable to connive in shoving along the Boris bandwagon.

Their motives are not pure.  Some on the far right think his election is the gateway to the Bexit carnage and catasrophe they have brought closer with their fantasy predictions and self important idiocy. The fact that the airwaves can be regularly polluted by 4th rate nonentities like Rees Mogg and Francois tells you all you need to know about the current parlous state of Conservative politics. 

Some are pushing the bandwagon along out of naked self interest; unwilling or unable to vote against the man who may  be handing out jobs on the government payroll.  And many, to their eternal shame, are interested only in calculating who can help the Tories win an election and or, curb the threat of Nigel Farage, the one trick pony with a side line in re-invention.

Tonight six men who now only harbour  hopes of getting on to the second place on the ticket which will go before 150,00  mainly elderly, almost entirely white,  pretty right wing Tory party members, will put their case to Channel 4 viewers mediated by the excellent Krishnan Guru Murty. Johnson has declined the invitation, not least one suspects because there will also be an audience who just might ask interesting questions. He has been allowed out by his minders for only one broadcast interview thus far, in which he waved away problems with dealing with the EU or fixing the Irish backstop with airy assurances that solutions could be found. Maybe they will be. But not by this chancer.

Instead we will have to wait till Tuesday till he deigns to stand at a lectern, doubtless deploying his usual trick of blustering on long enough to prevent much in the way of useful interruption. He is a very bad joke, is Mr Johnson.  But if he becomes Prime Minister of the UK then we really don't have a finger hold on the moral high ground when pointing to the charlatan over the water.