I have remarked before that the level at which Boris Johnson operates – and those about him – is ‘school debating society’. That is why the majority of EU politicians, who are serious-minded, grown-up types who see politics in terms of public service (as we once did in this country) cannot comprehend him.
Today’s proroguing of parliament epitomises this: it is the kind of thing only a schoolboy would think clever.
First we have the wording of this response given by Downing St. to Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent, regarding the Observer article that broke the story about the government checking out the legality of such a move:
“the claim that the govt is considering proroguing parliament in Sept in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false.’’ [my italics]
You can just picture the tittering behind hands that accompanied this – ‘we just have to say we prorogued it for a different reason and that will make it true! Aren’t we clever?’
Then we have (with more schoolboy sniggers, no doubt) the devising of the story to be given out when questions are asked: this is perfectly normal, entirely usual, nothing at all to do with Brexit – so far I have heard this in various forms from messrs Redwood, Mogg, Dung-can Smith and of course Johnson himself (who rather overstepped the mark with typical bungling exuberance when he dishonestly claimed to be leading ‘a new government’ – did you win a General Election then, Boris?)
Picture the smirking self-congratulation – ‘all we have to do is to stick to saying that the reason is nothing to do with Brexit and just about allowing time for a new programme of legislation and they can’t get us!’
well, as the Walrus of Westminster, the redoubtable John Pienaar (BBC deputy political editor) succinctly puts it,
“If you wholly and unquestionably believe that, you will wholly and unquestionably believe anything.”
And there, I think, he puts his finger on the major flaw in the Johnson gang’s merry prank.
People do not like being taken for fools, particulary by smug public schoolboys like Jake Mogg and Boris Johnson. The entire country knows that this is about stifling debate on Brexit and that what they are being offered is a knowingly false account.
But there is something else: behind the smug, dishonest facade – ‘nothing to see here, not to do with Brexit at all, just move along’ I catch the rank smell of fear. Johnson is desperate, as today’s measure demonstrates: one of the few true things he has said is that he will do anything to get Brexit done by 31 October.
But that does not mean he will succeed.