The tragedy of Boris Johnson's premiership - by Sherelle Jacobs for the Telegraph - 06.06.22

We incorporate two recent articles by Sherelle Jacobs in the Telegraph on the current sense of decay which seems to have enveloped the Conservative Party and the country as a whole. The first focuses on policy, the second on the Prime Minister himself.

We begin with her first article in which she seeks to identify some of the reasons behind this alarming decline:

“Partly, it reflects the rise of a technocratic ruling class that is in charge whichever party is in power – an elite that is as intellectually insipid as it is devoid of principle."


“it is also the result of the Conservative Party’s embrace of an unholy trinity of despicable myths that have become baked into conventional wisdom.”

  1. That an ageing population heralds an ever-growing state

  2. That average earners won’t need to pay for any of this largess

  3. That the challenges we face can only be met by ‘Big State’ solutions.

Johnson was elected to challenge these presumptions. Instead his government seems to have conceded in three crucial areas:

  • The lack of ambition in coming up with market solutions to fund the ever-rising cost of healthcare

  • Acquiescing in a growing tax burden which will destroy jobs and wealth in the process

  • A lack of faith in the entrepreneurial spirit and in individual responsibility to help address these challenges.

“It is not collective sacrifice but a new wave of radical individualism that fuses classical ideals of liberty with a renewed sense of personal responsibility (not least when it comes to health) that will make our country more resilient.

The tragedy of Boris Johnson is that, with all his unbounded optimism, he was well placed to challenge the zero-sum pessimism that underpins all three of the myths that are turning Britain into a middling, despondent country. His failure to do so is bitterly disappointing. Still, it is merely the latest twist in a longer tale of Conservative failure.”

In her second article, the author laments the huge opportunities which once lay at the PM’s feet following his General Election victory in 2019:

“Johnson promised a transformational break from what had come before. His 80-seat majority seemed to herald a new quasi-populist coalition unburdened by the dogmas and prejudices of the metropolitan Islington class.

An overhaul of Britain’s antiquated bureaucracy and a new era of sensible politics dawned after a generation of stagnation and technocratic drift. Johnson was the man of the moment, not only because he confounded his detractors by managing to renegotiate May’s disastrous Brexit deal. His unapologetic faith in British exceptionalism rallied the Tory shires; his rebellious optimism resonated with the Red Wall.

But it has not worked out that way. Despite flashes of inspiring leadership (over Ukraine)

“for the main part Johnson seems to have lacked the personal confidence and political resolution to trust his own nose. He simply has not shown that he has it in him to be a strong leader.

“This has not just been a disaster for the Tory party but the entire country. In the wake of shifts in the global tectonics, a renewed sense of national purpose and an overhaul of Britain’s institutions have become matters of urgency.”

We are facing a series of historic choices and the need to overhaul our institutions to respond to the challenges now facing us are urgent. Regrettably

“Hope had steadily faded that Johnson’s administration might seriously grapple with the questions that will determine Britain’s survival. Now, it is official: it is too engulfed in scandal to think of anything beyond what might happen by the end of the week.”

Both articles can be read here in full with links to the original beneath them:

Article for the Telegraph by Sherelle Jacobs - The three despicable myths that are dooming
Download • 116KB

Article for the Telegraph by Sherelle Jacobs - The tragedy of Boris’s premiership is that
Download • 72KB

Daily Telegraph

36 views0 comments