Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Boris can’t go on being overruled by Number 10 and remain as Foreign Secretary

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

If it wasn’t for Labour TMay’s government would look shambolic

Ex BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, hits the nail on the head with his Tweet this afternoon after another instance of the Foreign Secretary making a statement only for it to be countermanded by Number 10 shortly afterwards.

This latest one was about Saudi Arabia creating an ambivalent view which cannot, surely, be helping relations with the country.

Over a period when members of a government don’t speak as one an impression of incompetence starts to develop which is not good for any party reliant on people’s votes.

I’ve no idea who is at fault here – Mr. Johnson or his boss, Mrs. May. The former has a reputation for making striking statements while the latter is known, fairly or unfairly for her control-freakery. The impression from these ongoing incidents is that the semior members of the government don’t converse as much as you would expect them to.

At some stage Boris has got to find a way of working with the PM or he’ll have to go. Maybe the 6/1 that Ladbrokes is offering as him being the net cabinet exit is a good bet.

Ladbrokes Next Cabinet Exit betting


Mike Smithson


New entrant Ed Balls moves immediately to 3rd place in latest YouGov favourability ratings

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Both Theresa May & Corbyn see drops

Here they are – the latest YouGov favourability ratings, the polling where the site has chosen who/what should be included.

The first time we did this was in August and since then all the UK politicians have seen net drops. Ed Balls, included after his Strictly successes, was not part of the August list.

In the summer TMay was still enjoying her honeymoon and had a net +12%. That’s now down to +5% with 46% favourable to 41% unfavourable. Boris has seen a decline from -5% in August to -13% now (38-51). Meanwhile, just on his heels, comes Strictly star Ed Balls with 32-47%. So he’s in negative territory but nothing like as bad as Mr. Corbyn who has 26-51 representing a net move since last time of minus 10.

Tony Blair might be thinking of some sort of UK come-back but his ratings, 14-74 are awful and he is only just ahead of Putin and Trump.

Donald Trump gets the best numbers from GE2015 UKIP voters who split 45% to 49%. They also have the most favourable view of Mr. Putin.

Mike Smithson


Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his country for his career.

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Boris wrote that Brexit could lead to economic shock, Scottish Independence, and Russian aggression 2 days before he backed Brexit.

For the last few years I generally kept on advocating that Boris should be laid for the Tory leadership, that advice isn’t going to change for the next Tory leadership contest. It will be very easy to portray Boris as someone who puts his own ambitions ahead of the best interests of the country, that is something that should fatally damage his chances of ever leading his party or country.



After being a polling phenomenon Boris Johnson joins the negative ratings club

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Boris Johnson announces he will back Brexit campaign   YouTube

Being a cabinet minister means he’s much less in the limelight

One of the PB YouGov Favourability Ratings that hasn’t attracted much attention is that for the former longstanding favourite to succeed Cameron, the ex-Mayor and current Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

He recorded a net minus 5 which wasn’t so bad compared with the other politicians in the list but significantly means he’s now in negative territory. Only his boss of UK politicians in the list, Theresa May,is viewed more favourably than negatively.

How very different to most of the past decade or so. Johnson was unique and appeared to have an appeal that went well beyond his party and almost whenever ratings questions were asked he came out top. Whether it was asked who’d make the best PM, whether people were satisfied, approved or doing his job well he was right up there with the best ratings of all. And he was just about always in positive territory.

Quite simply different rules appeared to apply to Boris partly because he was such a media magnet.

Looking back the most decisive moment for him was his February decision to back leave rather than remain in the referendum. That appeared to provide the vehicle for promotion to PM as well as giving him an even higher profile than he’d had. When on June 24th Cameron resigned all seemed set.

But then we got into the dramatic Tory leadership campaign when on that Thursday he pulled out of the race.

The PB YouGov Favourability Rating shows that amongst those who’d voted REMAIN he had a minus 63% rating which wasn’t offset by the 44% positive from LEAVE voters.

He’s now got a significant role in BREXIT but with far fewer opportunities to grab the headlines any more.

There are many who think that the PM has played a blinder in her dealings with Boris.

Mike Smithson


Betting on when Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary will end

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

BJ Special

Boris still wants to be PM, so he’ll try and make a success of his current role.

Ladbrokes have a market up on when Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary will end.

Like many I suspect Boris thought his ambition to be Prime Minister was over after Michael Gove’s transformation into Frank Underwood, but Gove is now looking more like Frank Spencer than Frank Underwood whilst Boris is now Foreign Secretary.

Whilst I know there has been some incredulity from other countries about the appointment, and the previous indiscretions of Boris, but the sexploits of the former Mayor of London in this era won’t be much of an issue, and Robert Boothby, an Old Etonian Tory politician from another era, would find the shenanigans of Boris all very tame.

No party, nor any side in a referendum has ever received more votes than the 17 million Leave received last month, and a lot of credit should go to Boris Johnson for that and he survived the white heat of the scrutiny of that campaign, he should be able to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that come with occupying one of the great of offices of state. He knuckled down whilst he was Mayor of London, so he does have for form for trying to be a serious politician as a stepping stone to becoming Prime Minister.

I would like to back the 2020 or later option but I can think of other 6/4 bets that will pay out well before 2020, so this is a no bet for me but others may well disagree with my assessment.



Theresa May 7% ahead of Johnson amongst CON voters in first leadership race poll

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Meanwhile with LAB the Mirror speaks out


Cameron is going, Johnson has been in hiding and Labour faces civil war. So who will lead Britain?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Dave Quit

The country has voted for change but the future is unclear. Leadership is needed writes Keiran Pedley

Last Thursday’s Brexit vote was truly an historic event in our country’s history. The consequences for British politics will take time to play out. Right now the country is tense. Since David Cameron’s resignation Friday morning there is a political vacuum at the heart of power and sense of uncertainty in the air. Only a fool would predict with any degree of certainty what happens next.

No turning back

However, it is probably best to conclude that we are indeed leaving the EU. That ‘out means out’. Some on the Remain side have sought to challenge the referendum result. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, has suggested that parliament should overturn the result. A petition to rerun the referendum itself has cleared 3 million signatures and counting. Clearly for some accepting the result is proving difficult.

But they should accept it. EU leaders have and they are demanding a swift divorce. Almost 17.5 million voters backed leaving the EU last Thursday – a million plus more than backed Remain – at a turnout of 72% (eclipsing the 66% turnout at last year’s General Election).  Remainers may justifiably be angry at some of the tactics used by the Leave campaign. However, voters have clearly delivered a message that they want change and that mandate has to be respected. Suggestions that Leave voters represent the ‘lizard brain of Britain’ are patronising and unhelpful. The voters have made their feelings known. All efforts now should be focused on what comes next rather than rerunning last Thursday’s referendum. We have to move on.

Enter Johnson (or May)?

How successfully we do so will depend on who becomes the next Prime Minister and the deal they can deliver. The early signs are that Boris Johnson is favourite. Having led the Leave side to victory and seemingly won the backing of Michael Gove he will take some stopping. However, the former Mayor of London does face significant challenges. He now needs to come up with a coherent vision of what Brexit looks like that satisfies Leave voters and wins over Tory MPs. If he doesn’t, Theresa May could yet emerge as an alternative unifying ‘safe pair of hands’. He may even end up challenged from his Right. The odds are in Johnson’s favour but he does have serious questions to answer on free movement and the common market – questions we can only assume he has been carefully considering during his period of silence this weekend.

Labour in meltdown

Meanwhile the Labour Party faces its own existential crisis. One of the striking features of the Brexit vote was how vast swathes of so-called Labour heartlands ignored the party line and voted Leave. Staunch Labour areas in Wales, Yorkshire and the North-East overwhelmingly backed Brexit. This trend was aptly demonstrated in Ed Miliband’s Doncaster where 69% voted Leave. The truth though is that this trend was seen all across the country in Labour areas.

Some Labour MPs now fear that the party could face a post-Brexit wipe-out in these areas much like the party experienced in Scotland last May. This has led to a concerted effort to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader over the weekend, with a series of coordinated resignations designed to force him to resign. The plan being to replace him with a unifying figure that can carry the party into the General Election that is assumed to be coming soon. Time will tell if this coup attempt is successful. The loyalty of Corbyn’s support among party members will surely be crucial – though Labour MPs may hope to take the decision out of their hands. Depending on what happens next, Labour could end up in government or facing oblivion and we cannot be sure which.

Who will lead Britain?

In the meantime, the country faces a worrying vacuum in political leadership. One can only hope that it is filled soon. Whoever leads the UK out of Europe faces a daunting to-do list. Voters have clearly voted for changes in immigration policy but what changes and can they be delivered without leaving the single market and the economic challenges that would bring? More importantly, how does the next Prime Minister keep the UK together when Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain and Wales and England voted Leave? Moreover, how can we bring those voting Remain and Leave together when they have such different visions of the country’s future? Can we avoid descending further and further into the bitter and divisive politics that were such an unpleasant hallmark of the referendum campaign?  These are tough questions without even considering the inevitable ‘unknown unknowns’ that governments so often face.

Perhaps these seemingly conflicting objectives are impossible to achieve. Choices will have to be made. In which case the next 2-3 years will be some of the most rancorous and turbulent in post war British political history. However, let’s close on a more optimistic note. This uncertainty won’t last forever and our country has faced major crises before and come through the other side. It is possible that the shock of last Thursday is bringing undue panic. That a recession can be avoided. We will do a deal with the EU. This country does have a future. It is possible that a unifying leader may yet emerge and lead the country through this difficult time. In short, Brexit doesn’t have to mean disaster.

Nevertheless, it would be foolish to ignore the scale of the challenge our country faces in the coming weeks, months and years – let’s hope that the current generation of political leaders is up to the task.

Keiran Pedley presents the / Polling Matters show and tweets about politics at @keiranpedley


Judging by his betting price collapse Boris’s back LEAVE decision hasn’t been good for his career ambitions

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

If the vote is REMAIN the ex-mayor could be the scapegoat

Yesterday the Daily Mail’s renowned columnist, Katie Hopkins had a big go at the ex-Mayor under the heading “I thought Boris was going to save Britain from the EU, instead he has turned out to be a big fat fraud.”

In it she registered in her own inimitable style her disappointment at Johnson’s performance in the three months since he made his announcement on February 21st. She concludes:

If the Brexit side does lose, much of the blame will lie with Boris – who will have no compunction about scampering back aboard the government bus if he gets half a chance.

So let’s hope Cameron doesn’t forgive him. Because I won’t.

Whatever happens on June 23rd there will be a huge fall-out across the political scene but most of all within the Conservative party. A LEAVE win or a very narrow REMAIN victory look set to be the peg for Cameron’s exit and we will move into contest.

To become Tory leader Boris has first to surmount the parliamentary test and come in the top two of exhaustive ballots of party MPs. Assuming Osborne or an Osbo-backed contender gets one of those slots the big fight looks set to be amongst the Brexiters. That could be down to “Boris” or the “Stop Boris” choice. So the ex-Mayor’s future could be in the hands of his fellow BREXIT Tory MPs and their perception of his contribution to the outcome will be crucial.

It has been said ever since his decision on February to back leave that he was doing this solely for career purposes. Maybe that will turn out to have been a huge gamble that failed.

Mike Smithson