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Boris Johnson

We’re no longer seen as a serious country

Leon Neal/Getty Images

Even people like me who “deplore the prime minister” can’t deny he’s made history, says Max Hastings in The Times. Britain is ruled by a Conservative government that “is nothing of the sort”. It’s right on culture, left on economics, and it hoovers up any policy “that pleases a quorum of voters” – as long as it’s still bashing Europe. A heady mix of Boris Johnson’s “personality cult” and pandemic politics means his “new party” renders enduring issues, and opponents, invisible. Add to that a front bench cannily stacked with “lightning conductors for failure” like Gavin Williamson and this bulletproof bluffer looks all set for years.

“To govern is to choose,” an old truism goes. Johnson’s principle is “to govern is to fudge”. Actual challenges such as rescuing our education system or infrastructure have been batted away by noisy Johnsonian nationalism. Nobody cares that, since Brexit, 10% of bank assets have been transferred from London to Europe. Few will have read the US Council on Foreign Relations’s call for a “concert of major powers”, meaning the US, China, Russia, India, Japan and the EU – but not the UK. I once wrote that Britain would cease to be a serious country if it elected Johnson as PM, and I stand by that. He “hates to be forced to make decisions”, which will hurt us in the long run. Until then, we’ve “sailed away on a balloon ride”.

Read the full article here.