Déjà Boris

I guess an indication that one is living through a true political crisis is when things that seem inconceivable one day appear to be inevitable the next. Thus it is that the country is bracing itself for the return of Boris Johnson to the head of government.

It’s not quite a done deal, as there are plenty in the influential circles of his party who recoil at the prospect of Johnson’s rehabilitation, but he does look likely to secure the 100 nominations that would probably be enough to put him into a head-to-head contest with Rishi Sunak. Since the final decision will once again be taken by the Conservative membership, the body that saw no problem with Prime Minister Liz Truss, Boris may soon be settling back into Number 10.

Would this development make a general election more or less likely? Johnson can just about plausibly claim that no vote is needed, as he already has a mandate from the public, which would offer nervous Tory MPs some hope that they could avoid a reckoning with the electorate until their poll numbers were a little less catastrophic. Whether the country would stand for that is another question of course; I for one would be out on the streets should we be denied an opportunity to express our democratic judgment on the situation, and I’m sure many of my fellow citizens feel the same. The country would become ungovernable, at just the time when some competent government is needed to avoid disaster.

As has been the case on many occasions in the last few years, we are left to hope that those in power have the wisdom to put aside narrow interests and do what is right for the whole population. Since our experience has been that they invariably do not, we would perhaps be better to start thinking about securing the power to do so ourselves.

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