No matter of polishing power will put a shine on that proverbial turd. And by the same token, no amount of favourable press coverage, partisan spin, PR and other gloss will maintain the pretence that London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is fit to be Prime Minister. That is why he was kept away from debating the issues until most Tory members had returned their leadership ballots.
A total Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
Because when the debate came last night, with ITV’s Julie Etchingham moderating Bozza’s debate with Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary), the front runner to replace Theresa May showed that, at the highest level, he was out of his depth. Hunt is not the most formidable opponent he will face, yet Bozza still came off second best.
And worst of all, Bozza let slip his strategy for the all-important period following his entry into Downing Street. He’s going to call a General Election. Ben Jolly picked up the message loud and clear: “Boris Johnson just told Jeremy Hunt, ‘that is how we lose the forthcoming election’”. So did Rachael Cousins. "Odd for Boris Johnson to mention the ‘forthcoming election’. Something we don’t know?” Well, we know now.
He’s going to call an election, and as today’s Daily Mail has shown, it will not only be a dirty campaign, but his character and that of his closest companions will fall inevitably under the spotlight. The Mail has homed in on the departure from CCHQ of Bozza’s partner Carrie Symonds, and suggestions she was given the opportunity to jump before being pushed. His own character will also be up for examination.
The nature of that examination was hinted at by Abby Tomlinson: “Boris Johnson said he gets ‘surprising results in difficult situations’ does he mean like making sure an innocent woman stayed in an Iranian prison?” The name of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe will come up. And it will keep coming up. As will Bozza’s failure to “take back control”.
He won’t? Robert Peston had the bad news: “@BorisJohnson dodging whether to keep [Kim] Darroch as US ambassador till Christmas”. Tom Clark observed “BoJo would rather retain relations with Trump, who he declines to condemn, rather than taking winning patriotic points by condemning him”. Sunny Hundal added “Boris Johnson is too weak to stand up to Trump even on the subject of our Ambassador. He's an embarrassment”.
Politics Home editor Kevin Schofield noticed Bozza’s inability to do detail under pressure: “Not saying Boris Johnson is not great on detail, but he just got the year of the EU referendum wrong”. Peston reported criticism of Bozza favouring the rich: “‘We are not the party of the rich, we are the party of everyone’ says @Jeremy_Hunt in very boisterous criticism of @BorisJohnson”. There would, moreover, be sterner critics to come.
As Sunny Hundal reminded the Tories - many of whom have already made their decision and cannot therefore row back - “This debate is full of moments that Labour can use for attack ads. Corbyn's team must be loving it”. So they must. And they will be.
The myth of Bozza the Heineken politician is just that. His performance last night showed he cannot cope with being put under the proverbial cosh. His character is about to be mercilessly shredded. And he’ll lose that election. Corbyn by Christmas? Could be.
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