There are many ways to understand the persistence with which ‘Boris’ submits himself to public embarrassment. The most common is his supposedly Trump-like incapability of accepting defeat, and his Putin-esque obsession with hanging on to power. There are even those who think that the greater the theatre surrounding his premiership the higher the eventual fee for guest appearances once he switches career – he’s monetising failure, big-time. Then, of course, there is the more hum-drum argument that he has an Eton-inspired sense of entitlement whose appetite is fathomless. None of these is correct, though we can be forgiven for buying into the narrative. The truth is complex and surprising.
‘Boris’ Johnson was the son of a Durham miner, his father a staunch trades unionist and his mother an early founder of a Socialist Workers Collective. Together with like-minded social revolutionaries they hatched a plan whose genius and audacity were beyond compare. A number of couples sired babies and contrived to have them adopted by well-to-do families who were most likely to send their children to Eton College. This coming to pass, secretly, they maintained contact with the children, and inculcated in them the same passion for working-class liberation that saturated their own values. This was, indeed, a ‘sleeper cell’. At a ripe moment (when the children were most receptive and horrified by Eton experience) they revealed the plan – for the children to enter politics and, with great good luck, rise to a senior position. ‘Boris’ outshone his colleague ‘sleepers’.
‘Boris’ is, in fact, a fifth-columnist embedded in the Conservative Party but working all the time for Labour. Here, he emerges as a man at the top of his game – skilled, courageous, committed. With little effort – other than the emotional energy required to maintain his cover and to endure serial humiliation – ‘Boris’ is single-handedly inflicting mortal wounds on the Conservatives and virtually guaranteeing a forthcoming Labour government. His parents’ plan worked to perfection. Each job he held and each year of his life were dedicated to fostering the myth of the racist, amoral narcissist that now prevails – his life has been a masque. The discipline he has maintained all these years is the stuff of legend and Victoria Cross.
When all this confusion passes and the dust settles – with the Conservative party limping like a wounded winderbeest – ‘Boris’ will at last shed the clownish name and theatrical image and come to flower as the man of principle and prowess – a truth concealed all these years. We wish him well, and trust that he receives the honour of a Safe Seat for Labour and, eventually, a senior position where he can finally and openly honour his true socialist heritage. May the day come soon.