- Elicia Dambrosio
Boris’ bumper book: Ex-PM set to release memoir
By ELICIA DAMBROSIO
There seems to be a long-established tradition within British politics of the Prime Minister memoir. Following on from the likes of Tony Blair admitting his mistakes invading Iraq in 2003 and David Cameron’s regrets about holding an EU referendum in 2016, Boris Johnson’s new splash of publicity is set to recount every drop of drama during his 2019-2022 tenure. Does this mean that Boris will finally admit to the parties in No.10 during lockdown? Will the true impact of the Brexit campaign be revealed? Or will the string of scandals continue to unfold? But, given his record, how much of it will be -ahem- believed?
The book will be published by HarperCollins and does not have a publication date or title - in a very Boris-like fashion. However, according to Arabella Pike, the company’s publishing director, it will be a ‘prime-ministerial memoir like no other’.
So, Boris Johnson. Bo-Jo, blonde bombshell, British Trump - Boris.
During his term in office, Boris Johnson reinforced his stature as a clumsy comical figure, and has increased political satire whilst also fuelling public distrust in government - particularly nearing the end of his term.
In the 90s, Johnson started his political career as a columnist - already earning him national recognition and public endearment. In 2008, he was elected the first Conservative Mayor of London, focusing on crime and transport. The 2012 Olympics were promoted in classic Bo-Jo fashion, getting stuck on a zip-wire over Tower Bridge.
However, David Cameron’s calling of a referendum in 2016 determining Britain’s position in the European Union started the Leave.EU, #TakeBackControl populist narrative. Brexit ended the careers of both David Cameron and Theresa May – paving the way for Boris to win the largest Conservative majority since 1987 in 2019.
2020 then saw the arrival of a global pandemic - placing Johnson in a unique position to lead the country through Covid-19. He was criticised for his nonchalant and blasé attitude to Covid, ambiguous guidance and strong libertarianism which prevented an early lockdown, leading Britain to have one of the highest global death rates. Subsequent scandals saw the Prime Minister and his Cabinet breaking their own laws with “work events” in lockdown and Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s very unsocially-distanced love affair.
The invasion of Ukraine certainly put Boris back on the world stage, ensuring an extra £54 million in military aid and dramatically decreasing exports to Russia. Boris proved himself a Churchillian wartime Prime Minister, faring best when the chips are down.
And so, by forcing a hard Brexit and transforming the Conservative Party into a firmly anti-EU populist base for the underclasses, Johnson has definitely shaped British history, its economy and foreign policy.
But what of the notion to bring back Boris?
Despite blatant lies, reckless decisions and sometimes apathetic attitude, there is still much speculation over Boris Johnson’s attempt to return to the frontline. After Liz Truss’s humiliatingly short stay at No.10, and with polls showing Labour on course to beat Rishi Sunak at the next general election, there are still plenty of Boris backers across the country and in Parliament. Therefore, it does seem quite possible that this memoir may stoke the fire of these Boris loyalists. It could plausibly become the bible for the ‘underrepresented underclass’: the silent majority of Brexiteers and Conservatives wanting to bring back Boris.
The new Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), launched recently through a grassroot news outlet, organised a petition for Johnson to be included in the ballot for election. Backed by hard-line Brexiteers such as Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the CDO emphasises the ‘drag to the left’ under Sunak and that there is only one man that can and should lead the Conservative Party. This shows that, despite everything, the gravity of support for Boris has not wavered.
It is impossible to predict the stories and scandals which may be revealed in Boris Johnson’s new memoir. Correlations between Brexit and the cost of living crisis, controversy and the Tories, Johnson’s fall from grace and potential re-emergence, are just some of the events that I hope will be further elaborated on.
Will Boris Johnson dismiss the rules of the game and really take us inside the elitist Westminster world? Will he really follow in the footsteps of his hero, Winston Churchill, and become the third Prime Minister to serve a second term after stepping down?
Perhaps not to the frontline, but there is no doubt that Bo-Jo’s time in British politics is not over. The very publication of this memoir reiterates this matter. Johnson will maintain a place in history. Even in his closing speech in PMQs he reminded the world that it is a case of a “mission largely accomplished for now… Hasta la vista baby”.
Unsplash: Alex Motoc