Johnson’s Legacy? Lies, Misdemeanours and Misjudgements

What is Boris Johnson’s legacy? Frank McKenna offers a scathing assessment of BJs time in office.

Frank McKenna

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When a Prime Minister leaves office, their legacy is spoken of, and there is often a tinge of sympathy for the outgoing leader, particularly if, as is the case with the current incumbent, they are going against their own accord.

I’m not sure Boris Johnson will benefit from such a reaction – although for many months, if not years now, his political career and shenanigans have been viewed through rose tinted spectacles by many of his Tory colleagues, newspaper proprietors, and political commentators.

Indeed, right to the last, his acolytes are still claiming that Boris’ legacy will be a positive one because of Brexit, his handling of the COVID crisis, and Ukraine.

On Brexit, it is now apparent that his ‘oven ready deal’ was only half-baked. One of the first things that his successor will have to tackle is the poor deal Johnson did with the EU. It has added a mountain of red tape to importers and exporters, totally undermined the Good Friday Agreement, threatens civil war in Ireland, and has brought the prospect of a United Ireland closer than ever. 

The other consequences of his ‘hard’ Brexit approach has been to alienate the country that offered the greatest non-EU trade deal prize, the USA. Meanwhile, at home, we have seen crisis hit our farming community, an employment shortage in sectors that were heavily reliant on EU migrant labour, including construction, hospitality, and health – yet immigration numbers are still climbing!

As far as COVID is concerned, well he locked us down too late, and then for too long. Let’s not forget at his first press conference on the virus, he boasted about visiting a ward full of COVID patients and shaking hands with them all. Weeks later, he was admitted to an ICU and nearly died. His government wasted literally billions of pounds on dodgy track & trace systems, and then he lied about the UK only being able to roll out the vaccination programme as quickly as we did because we were no longer members of the EU.

On Ukraine, it is fair to say he has shown leadership against the invasion – but did any government do more to facilitate Putin’s terrorism? The UK was a haven for Russian Oligarchs cash – our capital nicknamed as ‘Londongrad’- and Johnson’s party took a shed load of donations from those individuals too. Just last week, the PM admitted that he had met an ex-KGB agent without British officials, and his administration was painfully slow in offering sanctuary to Ukraine refugees.

So, if they are his successes, it is sobering to consider his catalogue of capital ‘F’ failures.

He lied to the Queen over the proroguing of parliament. He enabled Dominic Cummings and his mate’s so much power over the treasury that it led his then chancellor Sajid Javid to resign in protest. He has surrounded himself with a cabinet of sycophants – appointed because of their undying loyalty to him rather than their ability – failing to build a Tory team from across the different wings of the party.

He has been found to have indulged in a ‘jobs for the girls’ approach when he was London mayor and foreign secretary. He defended Dominic Cummings law breaking when he visited Barnard Castle rather than Specsavers during lockdown. He reneged on a manifesto pledge not to raise taxes when agreeing to a National Insurance hike.

He attempted to change parliamentary rules to protect his chum Owen Patterson, who had allegedly been taking chunky fees from private sector companies to try and influence government policy. He appointed ‘Pincher by name, Pincher by nature’ to a senior position, despite knowing that he was a sex-pest. He has crashed the economy, with the UK the worst performing of all G20 nations other than Russia. He has lost nearly as many ethics advisors as Everton did matches last season.  

And, last but by no means least, he broke his own lockdown rules, threw numerous parties in Downing Street, lied to parliament about it, and ended up with him being handed a Fixed Penalty Notice.           

Boris’ legacy? A litany of lies, misjudgements and misdemeanours – and I’m being kind.

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