Hasta la vista, baby or auf wiedersehen pet?

There are several parallel realities in politics. But Boris Johnson lives in a bubble of his own making. Having taken a few days off for goodbyes, a flight on a Typhoon and a visit to Farnborough Airshow, along with missing things of no consequence to his future like a Cobra meeting on the heatwave, he trounced out of PMQs today in true theatrical style. “Hasta la vista, baby”. Johnson is ever the performance artist. Ever the man who triumphs style over substance. I am sure he wants to be a movie star.

Boris Johnson has done more to develop the role of prime minister as a cult of personality than his predecessors. He has been gloriously Trumpian, a stranger to truth and to the gritty reality that he has been wrong, wrong and wrong again. And seemingly unaware about being on the wrong side of the law.

As ebullient as he now is irrelevant, Boris Johnson will certainly go down in history. He has become so toxic to the Tories and the country he is unlikely to come back to front line politics. But far from “hasta la vista, baby”, surely this is a case of “auf wiedersehen pet”. Perhaps I say that hopefully. Goodbye pet. Good riddance pet. We can only hope so.

Boris Johnson was on typical form at PMQs today. But although he is currently writing a biography of Shakespeare, his lines before his Shakespearian exeunt left today was more Edward Bulwer-Lytton than the great bard.

Stay close to the Americans; stick up for the Ukrainians; stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere. Cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can to make this the greatest place to live and invest, which it is. I love the Treasury but remember that if we had always listened to the Treasury, we would not have built the M25 or the channel tunnel. Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear-view mirror. And remember, above all, it is not Twitter that counts; it is the people that sent us here.

And yes, the last few years have been the greatest privilege of my life. It is true that I helped to get the biggest Tory majority for 40 years and a huge realignment in UK politics. We have transformed our democracy and restored our national independence, as my right hon. Friend says. We have helped—I have helped—to get this country through a pandemic and helped save another country from barbarism. Frankly, that is enough to be going on with. Mission largely accomplished—for now…

And hasta la vista, baby.

Words that will go down in history, or at least be permanently recorded in Hansard.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in a fictional world said “hasta la vista, baby” was The Terminator. Perhaps that is Johnson’s future role. Fiction with some facts. A self-centred political autobiography. A hagiography by someone who thinks he was a saint.

Boris Johnson has been forced to take early retirement, banished into a political wilderness. The danger for the Tories is that he will want to play The Terminator, attempting to destroy the new leadership from the wings of the stage. And even worse, he might want to come back into front line politics.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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3 Comments

  • Never underestimate the banality of evil.

  • Zachary Adam Barker 21st Jul '22 - 9:21pm

    His exit should be the starting gun shot for a race to graft proof our democracy.

  • Boris Johnson was best thing that happened to the Tory party, the truth is “what you see is what you get” with Boris, HE is just way out there- passionate, idealistic, unrealistic, manic, ADHD, class clown, self will gone wild….but Johnson sincerely and truly was emotionally invested and committed in his political endeavour and pursuit to make Britain great again.
    Boris Johnson never stood a chance, Tory MPs individual & collective CONCEIT in the face of Covid 19 -Initial and overwhelming refusal to acknowledge and correspond with the advice WHO issued with respect to global pandemic ,
    Tory MPs voted against Boris Johnson efforts to protect Nation, against Masks, Testing & Vaccines.
    The truth is Boris Johnson very many and in-numerous repeated perceived faults & failures are directly attributed to those Tory MP’s serving in government with him.
    There is no “I” in team. Sunnak et al have been actively pursuing their own political interests and agenda, holding all in the UK to ransom with his promises that HE will address INFLATION (Bank of England role & responsibility) and HE will introduce Tax Cuts in future, timed to occur 2024 in lead up to the next General Election.
    Boris Johnson is only a symptom of the Tory elite disease.

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