July 24, 2019

Alexander Johnson and the Crushing Inevitability Of It All

So we have a new Prime Minister, a man we’ve been expecting to be Prime Minister for what seems like forever. The shock of him becoming the Prime Minister has long faded and we’re just left with the ceremony, the crowning, the maiden speech.

I put off watching the speech but relented with a sense of duty. Let’s see with my own eyes what he has to say, so I might judge him accordingly.

He says nothing. Other than a few sly references to libertarian-esque policies (GM crops are back on the menu, it seems, and a nebulous definition of “free trade” is to be celebrated) there was nothing of substance, nothing that any other leader looking to start with some semblance of unity has said before.

And what substantive claims he did make, about Brexit happening by Halloween, were such patent bollocks that they weren’t even worth recording.

But worse, he was boring. Trump, for all his many glaring faults, at least knows how to put on a show. His maiden speech was terrifying. I will fuck you up, said Trump, and laugh at your bloody face.

Our man is no Trump. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean he’s something else.

I’ve been thinking about this quit a bit, as you can imagine, and I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s literally an empty shell, a Pavlovian automaton that responds to stimulus and is optimised for the postmodern aristocracy. He’s sort of the opposite of Cameron, in a way. Cameron understood how it all worked and tried to pour his ideas, flawed as they were, into the model, but he didn’t have the innate programming to make it work. Our man doesn’t understand anything or have any ideas - he just fits the programme perfectly, the epitome of failing upwards. No wonder Cameron envied and despised him.

His optimism in the face of looming tragedy comes from this inability to fail meaningfully. It will all be OK because it’s always been OK for him. He screwed all the pooches and he’s the Prime Minister. Whatever he’s doing must work.

I would say this will all be over before it’s begun, that such an empty shell cannot possibly pull anything off, but I’m reluctant to make any predictions. I just felt the need to record this moment, this feeling, before things, whatever they may be, happen.

But please, can we stop calling him Boris.


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