Where’s the Old Boris? | National Review

Where’s the Old Boris? | National Review


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the novel coronavirus in London, England, March 3, 2020. (Frank Augstein/Pool via Reuters)

What has happened to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson? Now, Boris was never a social conservative in any meaningful way. Or at least, not a Christian one. He had the mind, appetites, and libido of a libertine classics professor. Quote Cataline and get the girl. Appalling, but a man with brio, and a larger sense of personal and political ambition, which is what politics in the West lacks. His predecessors genuinely thought about polls, whereas Boris genuinely moves beyond that and wants a place in people’s hearts before entering into the history books.

It was that man, the man of a big personality, who won a stonking majority and got Brexit over the line — and despite the best efforts of the political class.

But something about the COVID era has made him dour and boring, and his playful act now seems rude when it is not off-puttingly cloying. After playing a hard hawk on COVID, he would, one might think, shift gears during the United Kingdom’s success at vaccine invention, rollout, and distribution. He would let the economy loose, declare victory, and start the party again. And with his popularity, he would stave off Scot nationalism, and repair damage done to the Union with Northern Ireland.

Instead, he seems to be leaning into an appalling series of leaks, briefings, and outright sniping between advisers surrounding his fiancé Carrie Symonds, and those whose hearts are with Dominic Cummings, a former adviser who wanted to outsmart the technocratic establishment. And now he’s getting into a scrap about feathering his own Westminster bed with public funds. The Ambitious Alexander can get away with quite a lot. But Boring Boris is going to face niggling and not-so-niggling questions about his government’s ethics, and scrutiny about his fiancé’s influence.





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.