In the 2017 documentary ‘Get Me Roger Stone’, the political lobbyist (and former Trump campaign manager) Corey Lewandowski said of Stone “what Roger Stone says and what the truth are, are two factually different things”.
It was an incisive assessment of a man who has been at the core of Republican politics since the Nixon era and a man who best represents the corruption, secrecy, self-serving tactics of the Washington Lobby; the tendency to obscure legitimate scandal with shallow tabloid fodder.
Did you know Boris Johnson makes model buses?
The bizarre hobby was revealed in one of the few interviews that Johnson has given in the wake of an incident last weekend where police were called to the house he shares with Carrie Symonds.
And in one month’s time he could be our third Prime Minister in 3 years. The last few years in British politics have played out like a script from Arnando Iannucci’s ‘The Thick of It’, with three general elections since 2010 and a series of hung parliaments.
It’s also given us the choice between two of the most divisive figures in British politics. Well, I say ‘us’ when really it is to be decided by just over 124,000 members of the Conservative Party. Jeremy Hunt’s time as Health Secretary was marked by the junior doctors scandal whilst Boris Johnson has managed to deflect and dodge every racist remark, every political mistake, every blustery interview whilst still maintaining his lead in the contest.
His talent for archaic language and a carefully cultivated public image of a harmless, aristocratic fool has made him into the Teflon politician. Seemingly nothing is bad enough to dent his chances of rising to become PM: not his bumbling mismanagement of the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case, not his vile descriptions of black people and Muslim women, not the tendency during his journalist career to obscure, edit and outright lie.
Johnson was the main topic of discussion (along with Brexit) on last night’s Question Time. You may have seen scenes from Conservative hustings around the country which seem to be fully backing his leadership bids. And yet, I can think of no-one else as uniquely unsuited to the role as Boris Johnson.
We laughed in disbelief as Trump progressed through the stages of the presidential election. We heard the results with incredulity, wondering how a failed businessman and reality TV star could become the Commander in Chief of the United States. We watched his inability to answer even the most simple question about policy and thought ‘it will never happen’. And now we have our own version in the form of Boris Johnson.
This may seem hyperbolic but how can we be offended by Donald Trump’s mocking of a disabled journalist whilst Johnson’s comments about Muslim women are brushed off as a joke? How can we be appalled at Trump’s flirting with the far right when the exact same strategist and white nationalist Steve Bannon has been in regular contact with Boris Johnson? How can we rage against Trump’s anti-LGBT legislation when Boris Johnson has repeatedly made homophobic remarks, including comparing same-sex marriage with bestiality?
The public needs to wake up and see Boris Johnson for whom he really is. He is entirely self-serving, concerned only with his own profit and position. The chaos of Brexit works for him because in chaos he can thrive. He can tap in to fears of the average worker despite being an Etonian-educated man of wealth. He can weather all kinds of economic fallout better than most people. And if he becomes PM it will be just another way for him to benefit.
I’ll leave you with tactic from Roger Stone: ‘Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.’