The day I have dreaded since I was a child is here: Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. By winning the Conservative Party leadership contest on Tuesday—he secured a majority of votes from the 160,000 members of the party in a country of 66 million people (that’s 0.24 percent of the population), Boris is replacing Theresa May and will be moving into 10 Downing Street faster than you can say AAAAAGHHhhhhHHHhh.
Like many Brits, the first time I encountered Boris was on his appearances on the panel show Have I Got News For You in the late ‘90s. Until then, he was merely a journalist and dickhead, known only for using phrases like “tank-topped bumboys” to describe gay men. After appearing on the show, and being ridiculed each time, Boris successfully launched a political career, being elected to a safe Conservative seat in Oxfordshire. Nice job, HIGNFY. A cautionary tale about satire allowing politicians to participate in their own skewering.
From there, Boris skillfully parlayed his bumbling, posh persona into greater and greater fame, largely on the back of his funny hair, eventually giving up his seat in Parliament to run successfully for mayor of London in 2008. In 2015, he returned to Parliament and now he’s bloody leader of the Tories, in’t he? Cripes.
What else can I tell you about Boris that will adequately convey what a twat he is? Well, first, his full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Twat.
There was the time in the 1990s that he promised to help a friend have a reporter beaten up:
In 1990, Johnson was secretly recorded agreeing to provide the address of the News of the World reporter Stuart Collier to his friend Darius Guppy, who wanted to arrange for the journalist to have his ribs cracked as revenge for investigating his activities.
There was the time he stole a cigar case from a bombed-out mansion in Iraq, when he was there as a journalist, which he described himself in his column:
I spotted something on the floor. It was a fine red leather cigar case, capable of holding three Winston Churchills. It was located in the front hall of the villa of Tariq Aziz, a known lover of cigars. And therefore, unless I missed my guess, it was the cigar case of Tariq Aziz. Instinctively, I reached down to snatch it up.
Johnson was later investigated by the Metropolitan Police for the incident, and handed it over to them with many grumbles.
What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies; and one can imagine that Blair, twice victor abroad but enmired at home, is similarly seduced by foreign politeness.
They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.
It’s hard to say whether these aspects of his past are a troubling blip that his fans just explain away, or if they’re actually a key part of his appeal. Actually, it’s not; they are definitely part of his appeal. His whole schtick is being an Etonian toff with a mop of blond hair and a cheeky smile; a naughty child in short trousers who’s charmingly managed to get away with pissing off Old Farmer Brown’s cows again and not, for example, a horrible Tory whose political mission is to cut social services, oppress the poor, and resurrect an extinct old notion of Britain as a white and pleasant land.
Boris has secured the Tory leadership by, in the words of the conservative British columnist Matthew Parris, appealing to “an obsessive, ideological, extremist streak” in the Conservative party membership, who crave Brexit like Ed Miliband craves a bacon sandwich. Thousands of new members have helped tip the party more towards the utterly insane full-Brexiteer approach that Boris has thrown himself into, helped in part by “a major pro-Brexit donor being investigated over ties to Russia” who has “poured tens of thousands of pounds into a campaign to persuade members of the anti-immigrant U.K. Independence Party to become Conservatives,” according to the New York Times.
If Boris has his way, these nutters will get their wish. He said after his victory that the UK will leave the EU on October 31, “do or die,” even if a deal to do so isn’t secured—the nightmare “No Deal” scenario you might have heard about. Already, two EU commissioners have said Boris’ preferred plan is dead on arrival, since the EU reached what it says is its final agreement with Theresa May months ago (and it’s her inability to get Parliament to accept this deal that’s led to her having to vacate the premises today).
We’re fucked, basically—unless Boris calls an election, fucks it up even more than Theresa did, and actually loses his razor-thin majority to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
Until then, please direct prayers and good vibes to Britain, The North Sea, Next to Europe, Earth. We will need them all.