It’s been said as a joke but “Steve Barclay moves seamlessly from pretending Brexit is going well to pretending Boris is doing well” rings too true. This is a reference to Conservative MP and Minister Steve Barclay moving his desk into No. 10 Downing Street. Questions are being raised over how Johnson’s new Chief of Staff will manage more than three jobs.
Barclay will have a desk in No. 10, the Cabinet Office and his constituency. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle may come into play in that no one will be entirely certain where he is at any moment in time. It has been said that this is deckchair rearrangement of the highest art.
When a premier or Cesar goes bad a blindness afflicts them completely. This is often aided by those in their immediate circle of influence. They are protected from reality by a shield wall of group think. So it’s right to ask, in the fullness of time, will Johnson be found playing the fiddle in the safety of No 10 Downing Street as the country burns (metaphorically speaking) around him. If he hangs on long enough this seems highly likely, given all the indications.
Barclay’s Brexit credentials are extemporary. He’ll certainly be using every opportunity to make the European Union a scape goat for whatever disasters are coming next. Public blaming has become the political tool of choice amongst Johnson’s shrinking cabal. A wide range of targets have been used. The Conservative party’s list is long: the media, foreigners, immigration, judges, courts, police, markets, industry, workers, civil servants, the voters, and most unsurprisingly anyone who voted “remain” in 2016 have all been under attack.
Johnson’s Government will continue to spin deeply misleading and often untrue statements to lift the spirits of its supporters. At the same time the smoke screen will anger and insult the rest of us.
A growing number of commentators agree about the inevitability of Johnson’s fall. But it’s not at all clear how he will be ousted, the timing or who is in line to take over the role of Prime Minister. Now, if this was classical Rome a violent act would be being planned at this very moment. In 21st century, Britain a public verbal evisceration and the movements of grey men in dark suites are probably on the cards.
As we pass into the next era there will be so much wreckage left by Johnson’s Government it’s going to take a mighty long time to fix it up. It’s possible to imagine a better Government. One full of hope and ambition but will they be first burdened with sorting out one hell of a mess.