My anger for the Tory MPs who continue to enable Boris Johnson's political career - Euan McColm

You’ll have made up your mind about Boris Johnson by now.

Having witnessed his behaviour - whether over his many years in public life or just over recent months while the partygate scandal has churned on - you will surely have formed a firm opinion about our Prime Minister.

Either, like me, you will consider him utterly unfit for the office he holds. You will be horrified by his willingness to lie and you will despair that this self-obsessed man-child is protected by a battalion of lickspittle Tory MPs who’ve lost any sense of morality.

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Or, you will be wrong. Hopelessly wrong.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street. Picture: Sue Gray Report/Cabinet Office/PA Wire

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Johnson’s unsuitability for the job he performs was clear long before last week’s publication of the report, by senior civil servant, Sue Gray, into a series of law-breaking parties in Downing Street.

When he accepted a police fine, last month, for attending an illegal party while the rest of us adhered to strict lockdown laws introduced by the UK and Scottish governments, Johnson’s lie - that no such events had taken place - exploded into a billion tiny pieces.

But there is little point in expending our energy in being angry at Johnson. Our fury will make no difference to him. He doesn’t care. He views the people he “serves” with nothing but contempt.

You might as well berate a dog for crapping in the park as criticise the Prime Minister for lying. Both are simply doing what comes naturally.

My anger is reserved for those who continue to enable this appalling man’s political career.

In the aftermath of the publication of Gray’s report, scores of Tory MPs, including cabinet ministers, began issuing statements of support. Too witless to come up with their own form of words, they depended on lines dictated to them by party spin doctors.

And so, statement-after-statement contained the claim that Johnson had taken “full responsibility” for what had happened in Downing Street.

These politicians must have a very different understanding to the majority of us of what it means for someone to take responsibility. Johnson has done no such thing. Taking responsibility would have meant resigning.

But Johnson has never taken responsibility in any area of his life. Rather, he has repeatedly lied and used people to get what he wants. And when he’s been called out, he’s done that shrug-the-shoulders-tousle-the-hair act. “Oh, what am I like?” he laughs.

That schtick ceased being even vaguely amusing a long time ago.

Yet, still they line up, these weaklings of the Tory Party, to tell us Johnson’s changed, that he’s learned his lesson, that he’s taken full responsibility.

When it comes to matters of morality, Johnson is a lost cause. He is incapable of caring about the impact his appalling behaviour has on others.

Why, I wonder, are so many of his colleagues willing to sell their souls to keep him in office?

In the case of cabinet ministers such as the spiv Jacob Rees-Mogg and the juddering halfwit Nadine Dorries, the answer is pretty obvious. No serious prime minister would consider having them - or any number of their colleagues - in cabinet roles. Their fortunes are tied tightly to the Prime Minister’s; when, as eventually he will, he goes, they will return to the backbench obscurity befitting of their talents.

A handful of notable exceptions aside, Tory MPs have decided to rally round the captain who’s blown a hole in the hull of their ship.

Often, we hear from Conservative MPs an explanation for Johnson’s ability to keep going despite scandals that would bring down any other political leader. He’s a survivor, they tell us. It would be a mistake to underestimate him.

These politicians talk as if they have nothing to do with Johnson’s survival, as if they are powerless to prevent him from continuing in office. Of course, this is not the case. Tory MPs could, if they wished, make a lie of the claim the PM's a survivor. They could easily vote to remove him from office. They have that power.

Politics being politics, MPs’ judgement is frequently influenced not by what is right but by what is expedient. While Johnson appeared a sure-fire vote-winner, enough Tory MPs were willing to overlook his failings.

I wonder how long that indulgence will last.

This weekend, Conservative MPs will have heard the views of officials from their local party associations and of constituents. They will also have had time to digest new polls showing a majority of voters think Johnson should resign over partygate and predicting election defeat for the Conservatives should he remain in office.

Tory politicians who have been perfectly happy, until now, to ignore the immorality of a Johnston-led government may find their attitudes changing when they realise he stands to cost them their seats in the House of Commons. It would be astonishing if at least some of them didn’t return to Westminster next week having decided that, on reflection, the Johnson jig is up.

Conservative MPs tell us voters want to move on from partygate. Do we? Bereaved husbands, wives, parents and children forced apart from dying loved ones during lockdown are not ready to move on. They are bloody angry and justifiably so.

Every single one of us who played by the rules and made huge sacrifices in the name of protecting the most vulnerable during the pandemic has the right to feel nothing but contempt for those Tory politicians who stick by Boris Johnson.

And when the next election comes round, we’ll be more than entitled to tell the Prime Minister’s pitiful little acolytes that, on reflection, we’ve decided it’s time for them to move on.


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