It’s often been noted that what happens over the pond in the US more often than not comes eventually to grace our own shores. Popularism, which is a distinctly right of centre political affair is no exception, as it was recently poised to jump the Atlantic and impose itself on us Brits. Boris must have thought it would best suit his own brand of political manoeuvrings and ambitions, hence his jaunty gallop into this area of theatrics.
Boris, to the cartoonist is a delightful image to represent when in caricature, to the rest of us he’s an easily distinguishable politician with his unkempt blonde hair and trademark buffoonery. He’s a dyed in the wool Popularist by designed, cast for public consumption, a showman in the best traditions of the West End stage with political jazz hands barely contained in his hubris.
He is thankfully just short in distinguishing persona characteristics, when compared with his erstwhile Presidential counterpart in the states. He has more Twitter follows than others in the UK government (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1329448/uk-members-of-parliament-with-the-most-twitter-followers/) but then Trump has his own Truth Social that expresses his own narcissistic form of truth. You like me, right?He was reported as saying recently at an Arizona rally (https://www.businessinsider.com/video-donald-trump-booed-at-arizona-rally-over-congress-endorsement-2022-7?r=US&IR=T ). Trump is not only adorned with a theatrical blonde mane, is oddly orange in complexion and speaks in tongues and is strangely intelligible to his merry band of Trumpies. Boris, being terribly British of course, thankfully didn’t go as far as Trump in his attempt to stand out from the otherwise mediocre politician crowd.
He is however, I suspect an ever hopeful political cult leader in the making, as evidenced by the recent reaction of his Conservative party grassroots base, hoping as they are, for his resurrection and anointment once more to the high alter of government.
This cult of the personality, very fortunately for the British people, is not something that has much hope of taking root here in the UK, for now at least. We barely know our political leaders let alone hold them aloft in exaggerated Hollywood style adulation.
Thankfully, here in the UK we have recently experienced a Conservative party, like them or not, that have come down squarely at the Parliamentary MP level on the side of honesty and integrity. They saw a leader who was falling far short as a paragon of excellence and acted belatedly but decisively, in the end I suspect more out of a sense of their own self-preservation.
Johnson was good optics for the common man (and women, and, and, and all the other gender pronouns describing peoples here in the UK) during the COVID pandemic and this in part nurtured the British people through their darkest days. But I can’t think of one really positive thing that Boris did for Britain and the vast swathe of the British people. To highlight one notable failure, the NHS performed exemplary during the pandemic but alas his government failed to even see the weakest link, that being the rather dire performance of the GP services. So much for being the party of insightful management.
He oversaw much cronyism in his efforts to elevate Conservative party donors with peerages, he was accused of rule breaking in the partygate sage and was fined by the Police for lockdown party breaches. What is there to like, apart from the hair and his entertainingly disingenuous storylines.
Having turned our backs on our own fledgling Popularism one only hopes that this limiting of all political movements stays where is being gestated, over the pond and far away. For now the country can get back to the serious business of government and let Popularism sleep awhile longer in some foreign land.