Peak Johnson passed several years ago. That didn’t stop his ambition to be a British Prime Minister. Now, what do we have? He is Prime Minister. Shock horror, you might say.
A heavy flywheel has momentum. Spin it up and it will keep going. The stored kinetic energy keeps it going. Eventually the resistance it meets will slow it down to a stop but that can take some time.
This is the way I see Johnson. As London Mayor he had a lot of kinetic energy. Not all used wisely but nevertheless it was there spinning. By the way, that double meaning works well. Political spin as well as motion. Now, peak Johnson has passed there’s only one way to go.
Unlike a few notable politicians in history who reinvented themselves, it seems Johnson doesn’t have this capacity. Look at him now and it’s just a weary version of previous versions that we have seen. There’s been so much tomfoolery in the past that any attempt at seriousness looks like a sham. The jollity that made him appealing to a swath of the electorate is muted. Recent public performances have lacked any kind of sparkle or wit. Certainly, they didn’t look enjoyable. Is it the burden of office? Or is it that office has turned out to be drudgery? Trying to interpret his multitude of bored expressions and incoherent mumblings is a job for a skilled psychiatrist.
Politicians at the top of their game are often unconcerned about criticisms. It’s like the wheel of fortune is spinning with such energy that nothing can stop it. As that time passes the concerns grow almost in proportion to the resistance faced. It’s not unknow for a little paranoia to creep in as one person’s misfortune becomes another’s opportunity.
Standing at a lectern and reading a pre-prepared script must be disappointing for Johnson. No flourish of campaign rhetoric or cheery slogans to rattle off. Just hard-core reality. The raising of arms and gesticulating in Parliament is getting tiresome. Using a presentational formula time and time again diminishes its impact. Thumping the sky and booming out words are attempts to kick the flywheel back up to speed. Its not working. Johnson is deaccelerating.