Boris Johnson is the most dominant Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher. John Major had his “Tory Bastards” to contend with. Tony Blair had Gordon Brown. Brown faced a rejuvenated Conservative Party led by David Cameron. Cameron was reliant on his coalition partners the Liberal Democrats and Theresa May suffered the ERG and the DUP.
Johnson, on the other hand, has swept away the opposition parties, commanding a commons majority of 80 seats. He is governing the country with little or no scrutiny as the official opposition go through a farcically elongated leadership contest that even the candidates appear to be getting bored with. And he has crushed any internal dissent by surrounding himself with a cabinet that is so compliant that, for the benefit of the television cameras, will, parrot-fashion, repeat their master’s campaign phrases in unison on his command.
It is said that a lucky General is better than a good one, and for now luck is on our glorious leaders’ side.
Both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats delivered the most dreadful of General Election campaigns, ensuring his comfortable victory. Now those same parties are in a state of bewilderment unable to hold the government to proper account. The media is being bullied and sidelined by Johnson’s partner-in-crime Dominic Cummings (who is a brilliant operator by the way), with the BBC bearing the brunt of those attacks. And even in the EU, the French and German governments are dealing with seismic challenges that may allow the UK to negotiate a half decent trade deal during the course of the next twelve months.
However, luck is a funny thing. At some point, it runs out.
If the Labour Party elect a credible leader and start focusing on the issues that matter rather than debating whether or not we are born with a particular gender or not, he will have an opposition facing him worthy of the name.
His forcing of Sajid Javid’s resignation, alongside the sacking of people like Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom and his decision not to bring Jeremy Hunt back into the Tory leadership means that a rump of powerful, discontented MPs is starting to gather behind him.
The Cabinet will not always be as compliant, and his colleagues are already doing some gentle sabre rattling on issues such as HS2 and the BBC.
Thatcher was at her most powerful between the years of 1987 and 1989. By 1990, she’d gone.
City ban farcical
The decision of UEFA to ban Manchester City from European competition for two seasons on the grounds that they have broken fair play rules is an absolute joke.
Set aside the fact that FIFA and UEFA can hardly hold themselves up as paragons of virtue, the guilty verdict was delivered by a panel consisting of characters representing some of City’s greatest rivals, including former Liverpool FC chief executive Rick Parry.
From the outside looking in, this appears like a Kangaroo Court trying to protect the old establishment and football cartel from an ‘outsiders’ takeover.
Most football supporters think that, as a business, football generally does not hold up to scrutiny. If City do end up being punished, we should expect many other clubs to be in the dock in the coming seasons.