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Ever since the referendum and the sustained conflict of the aftermath it has seemed as though Britain is locked in a 52-48 divide. As though we are destined for decades to fight a bitter Brexit-style culture war, with everything seen through the prism of that conflict, until one day long from now Big Dog Boris Johnson lopes off to the great kennel in the sky and an 80-year-old Dominic Cummings finally presses send on his final long blog post detailing how awful the man he made Prime Minister is.
But, no! Britain is in the process of being reunited by Boris Johnson. Sadly for Boris Johnson, Britain is being reunited against Boris Johnson.
Polls and focus groups suggest a settled national view forming that he’s wrong ‘un incapable of taking responsibility, someone who cannot properly apologise and take the fine for wrongdoing, who instead acts as though he is unfairly traduced and forced by the fates to wrongly take the blame for others. This is obviously pathetic stuff on his part.
The anti-Johnson view post-Partygate is not unanimous, of course. Nothing ever is in politics. It is the view of a clear majority, though. The polls coming out at the rate of several a day are striking in that respect. Very few Britons think the Prime Minister has been truthful on the parties and what he knew.
In this way, previously divided Britons are coming together. Leavers (not all of them, but more by the day) and Remainers (pretty much all of them) tell pollsters and those who conduct focus groups that the mess Big Dog has made is a mess too far.
Big Dog is the code name for Boris among some of his supporters.
Number 10 rests its hopes on winning a fight to the death with Cummings. The former Vote Leave guru now accuses the PM of lying to parliament, a precise charge that is difficult to prove. Ministers clearly think they’ve got Dom on a technicality. It’s his word against Boris, unless there’s an email or a WhatsApp message…
If Boris didn’t see the email invite (and he’s famously sloppy and inattentive) to the 20 May 2020 party then he can say that he told something approaching the truth, in a slippery way, to parliament.
The ludicrous nature of this defensive position – “no-one told me it was a party, I didn’t know it was a party even when I was in it with a drink in my hand” should be obvious to ministers. By the look on their faces they know it. Voters aren’t going to be fixated on whether or not he opened a particular email. The nation is asked to believe that at the end of a working day Boris Johnson and his wife wandered out into the garden to find dozens of people drinking, during a pandemic when such gatherings were forbidden for the rest of us by law, and thought it was okay despite him ordering the country’s confinement. His denials and “apology, but” approach are obviously ridiculous and insulting. In this way, unintentionally, Boris Johnson has united Britain.