Yesterday, one Mary Elizabeth Truss, inexplicably elevated to leadership of the Conservative Party by its members, resigned as the Prime Minister of the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.).
She was in office for a mere 45 days – the shortest tenure of any UK prime minister. Her nearest rival for that accolade is George Canning, who survived in office for 119 days before dying due to ill health in 1827.
In her brief period of office, Truss proved just how incompetent and out of her depth she was in Number 10. In just 45 days Truss exhibited amply that she would be out her depth on a damp pavement, even though this was glaringly obvious during her time pretending to be foreign secretary (posts passim).
In those few weeks, she has managed to do lasting damage, not least with a disastrous mini-budget, featuring included the biggest tax cuts since 1972, funded by a vast expansion in borrowing. This resulted amongst other things in a run on the pound, Bank of England market interventions and a rise in interest rates, particularly for those with mortgages to pay. This mini-budget cooked up by Truss and her then Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng; a budget from two passionate advocates of the free market that was roundly rejected by the markets themselves.
The campaign to replace Truss has now started and, although no-one has yet announced any intentions to stand for the Tory leadership, one possible contender has already been mooted: the disgraced former party-time alleged prime minister, one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, a man whose journey to adulthood clearly involved the surgical removal of anything resembling integrity, whilst his narcissism was being force-fed like a goose destined to end up as the raw material for foie gras.
Johnson’s term of office ended ignominiously with mass resignations – sixty in all – from his administration, during which 10 Downing Street became party central for politicians, civil servants and Conservative party workers during the coronavirus pandemic, the Partygate scandal.
Johnson is still under investigation for misleading the House of Commons over Partygate. If found guilty, ordinary members of Parliament are suspended from the House, whilst government ministers so found are expected to resign their portfolio.
Returning to Johnson’s buffoonery, there’s an old Turkish adage which seems eminently pertinent to Johnson, given his Turkish ancestry.
When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn’t become a sultan. The palace becomes a circus.
Upon his departure from Downing Street, Johnson memorably compared himself to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a 5th century Roman statesman and politician who retired from public life and “returned to his plough”, only to return later to lead as its dictator.
However, your ‘umble scribe believes that Johnson should forget any allusions to Cincinnatus* if he is seriously contemplating being a candidate to regain the Tory leadership. A more apposite comparison comes from the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, Proverbs 26:11 to be specific.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
*Cincinnatus’ second term as dictator lasted a mere 21 days before his resignation. However, even a further 21 days of Johnson would be 21 days too many.
PS: never trust a man who combs his hair with a balloon! 😀