Boris Johnson won the first ballot of the Conservative leadership contest today with over a third of MPs backing the former Foreign Secretary.
With second place Jeremy Hunt almost 80 votes behind, it seems almost certain to me that Johnson will be our next Prime Minister, despite not having any of the qualities or the statesmanship required for the job.
Johnson has sold himself on a ticket of being able to unite the country. Coming from a man who has described gay people as ‘tank-topped bumboys’, said black people have ‘watermelon smiles’ and dismissing then-President Barack Obama as ‘part-Kenyan’.
Far from ‘uniting the country’, he is playing dog-whistle politics by defending his comments comparing women in burkas to letterboxes, saying he will ‘continue to speak as direct as I can’.
Johnson has claimed he has a good track record from his time as Mayor of London. Well, not really. He squandered millions on white elephant projects such as the Garden Bridge, failed to deliver on a promise to build 100,000 affordable homes, backtracked on his pledge to ‘lie in front of the bulldozers’ to stop expansion at Heathrow, and saw rough sleeping double in the city under his watch.
And then there’s the water cannon that Johnson bought, which couldn’t be used and then was sold for scrap at a loss. This is the man who the Conservatives want to entrust with being the face of the nation for negotiating trade deals with countries around the world.
As Prime Minister, he wants to take this ineptitude to Downing Street by promising the rich tax cuts fed from money saved for no-deal Brexit preparations. Such reckless action risks plunging the country off a cliff and worsening the UK’s already shameful inequality.
His time as Foreign Secretary also leaves little to be desired, in particular his handling of the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. After telling her family he would do everything to secure her release, he prompted a court case against her after erroneously telling a select committee she was teaching people journalism. She remains in prison, whilst the Conservatives want to reward such monumental incompetence by granting him the most powerful position in the country.
Since being elected as an MP, he has voted against laws to promote equality and human rights, voted to cut benefits for those with disabilities and voted for reducing corporation and capital gains tax. And that’s to say nothing of him entertaining the idea of giving the address of a journalist to a friend so he can beat them up.
Johnson is beyond a joke. He’s not this lovable jokey character, he is an incompetent oaf who lurches from disaster to disaster, spouting racist remarks along the way. He will take the country down with him when he proves, as he has done in every public office he’s held thus far, to be as inadequate and unfit for office now as he was then.