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Does this Indy writer have a point – is Boris now really that vulnerable and will be out by Christmas?

May 19th, 2020

The above article has been posted this afternoon on The Independent website and puts forward what Sir Humphrey would describe as a ” very courageous” prediction. Sure Boris has not had the best of times leading a government facing the pandemic and sure the UK’s comparative record has not been that great.

O’Grady notes in his piece:-

“Every bumbling performance at prime minister’s questions, each stumbling appearance at a coronavirus media conference, each bit of misguided spin that emanates from Downing Street, all the “ramped up” insincere promises and the hasty U-turns serve only to build up the evidence that we have somehow contrived to place a clown with the emotional maturity of a toddler in charge of dealing with the worst pandemic in 100 years..When will the madness end? I think by Christmas. I cannot say how or what the manner of Boris Johnson’s leaving office will be, but I think we can all discern that the pressures will only intensify. Each avoidable, so-called “excess” death represents a tragic, powerful and eventually overwhelming argument for his departure. There will be thousands more. Will they reach 100,000? The worst record in Europe? It is surely possible.”

What the article doesn’t do is set up the mechanics of how this will happen. Boris is the leader who took the Tories to a sensational 80 + majority in the general election last December. He’s a winner and the Tory Party likes winners.

The only way I can see see something like this happening is if the prime minister’s health starts to deteriorate. There’s no doubt he hasn’t quite looked the leader he was prior to him being afflicted by the coronavirus and maybe he should have delayed a return to work.

Whenever this is all over, and it is a bold person who will make that prediction, there’ll be a lot of examination about how each government handled the crisis in there are area.

One thing that hasn’t received much attention is that this came at a particularly bad time for the UK. At the end of January, it will be recalled, we were leaving the EU and that was the overwhelming political focus. Perhaps if this had not been happening then actions could have been taken earlier which would have seen a much smaller death toll but we will never know.

The betting markets are far from convinced that Boris will be out soon. In fact on Betfair at the moment it is a 66% chance that he’ll still be there at the end of 2022.

Mike Smithson