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Boris Johnson: the Butt of the Joke?

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darts fan holds up 'all round to Boris's after' poster

Le ridicule ne tue pas?

Has taking the piss ever finished off anybody?

Boris Johnson has got it in the neck:

Let’s look at historical precedent.

The Book of Esther begins with the Persian court of King Ahasuerus, ruler of the Persian Empire holding a 180-day banquet, initially for his court and dignitaries and afterwards a seven-day banquet for all inhabitants of the capital city, Shushan (Esther 1:1–9). Advanced radical scholars interpret these lines a historical fact told through a mixture of satire and buffoonery, that is, early pantomime.

King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.

For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.

I can’t say I laughed much reading this story.

But the tale ends, according to some, happily.

There are many deaths.

Boris Johnson and his parties have featured in many jokes over the last few days.

There is of course this reality:

Whether or not the bellowing buffoon, the corrupt clown, and the dastard of Downing Street will go, remains to be seen.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 21, 2021 at 9:26 am

Conservatives lose North Shropshire seat they held for nearly 200 years.

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A rudderless outfit': Conservative press turns on Boris Johnson | Boris  Johnson | The Guardian

Now, you see, they hang me high,

and the people passing by,

stop to shake their fists and curse;

so ’tis come from ill to worse.

A Shropshire Lad.  Alfred Edward Housman

And now, lad, all is over,

‘Twixt you, your love and the clover..

Max Beerbohm – after Housman.

Helen Morgan wins seat the Conservatives have held for almost 200 years in a byelection called after environment secretary Owen Paterson resigned.

The Liberal Democrats have won a stunning victory in the North Shropshire byelection, taking what had previously been a safe Conservative seat by a margin of nearly 6,000 votes, and capping a disastrous few weeks for Boris Johnson.

Helen Morgan, the Lib Dem candidate, won 17,957 votes, ahead of the Conservatives’ Neil Shastri-Hurst, on 12,032, a majority of 5,925. Labour’s Ben Wood was third, with 3,686 votes. Turnout was 46.3%.

More good news:

Already the Alt-left is whingeing.


My knowledge of Shropshire is limited, Houseman’s poem, a visit to Iron Bridge (only a few years ago), walks on the Shropshire Hills and Long Mynd. So here are some informed commentaries on the result.

Lib Dem campaigners reported that Brexit was hardly mentioned on the doorstep in North Shropshire, with voters instead reporting a more general malaise with the Government and Johnson’s party.

In particular, Johnson’s dire handling of the scandal of the Downing Street Christmas parties held last year while Coronavirus restrictions were in place – so-called ‘partygate’ – was raised repeatedly by voters, many of whom appeared to have developed a visceral dislike of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

While in 2019 the Conservative Party prospered by portraying itself as helping voters overthrow a hated established order, it has now become the epitome of everything those same voters dislike.

These contradictions in the Brexit project were always inherently unstable. It never made sense that an Eton-educated Telegraph columnist should lead the charge against the established order from the safety of his £3 million Islington townhouse.

One hopes this is the case:

However, for a while it worked. For a while, Johnson appeared to be achieving the impossible by re-writing British politics in his own image. But, after last night’s result, the very foundations of the Conservative Party’s entire political project risk crumbling.

Both the size of the swing (the party overturned a Tory majority of 22,949) and the nature of the seat itself – it is rich in homeowners and Leave voters, and has very few Remainers or graduates, making it very friendly Tory terrain and inauspicious turf for the Liberal Democrats – make it one of the biggest by-election shocks in decades (the Lib Dem majority is 5,925).

It will send shivers of fear through the Conservative Party. Tory MPs in seats that are more favourable to the Liberal Democrats than this – a category that includes essentially almost every seat that is not called “North Shropshire” – will fear that this is a sign that they are headed for calamity. MPs in the Conservative-Labour battleground, meanwhile, will worry that they, too, have reasons to be fearful. 

The biggest immediate consequence will be to further reduce the likelihood of a new

Written by Andrew Coates

December 17, 2021 at 8:38 am

Boris Johnson: the Débâcle and the Left.

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Boris Johnson: “boozy” Christmas party held in Downing Street last year.

Anybody can have parties in their house without them noticing. In the Festive Season I often come downstairs to find empty bottles of Leffe and Corbières with no idea of how they got there or who drank them.

Or perhaps the government was aware of the famous Downing Street parties. Dancing at parties, one learns from a guide to Statecraft, “may be an introduction unto the firste morall vertue, called prudence”. The Boke named the Governour (1531) set out the correct way of life for members of the English governing class. Every daunse taught honour and courtesy.

Thomas Elyot’s  plan for gentlemen’s sons, to be “trained in to the way of virtue with a pleasant facilitie”, to bear authority in the realm, is, it is said, required reading for top Conservatives and government aides. It was no doubt such training sessions that took place at Number Ten. They can hardly be censured for such public spirited activities.

Others take a dimmer view. “Tory MPs ‘having conversations’ on how to oust Boris Johnson” reports the Telegraph.

The Morning Star, gives a voice to Ben Chacko (Can the rage at Boris Johnson be turned into a real left counterattack?). The graduate of St John’s College Oxford, a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and Editor of the Daily Paper of the Left, discerns a mood of “Us and Them” in these affairs. The successor to William Rust traces this to smouldering revolt against the “elite” fuelled by the feeling ” that ordinary people are the despised playthings of a footloose political and corporate elite — that has repeatedly shaken British politics over the past decade, finding voice at first on the streets through the Occupy movement, later at Westminster with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and a mass-membership socialist-led Labour Party and then with the Brexit vote rejecting four decades of economic strategy by successive governments.”

Insurgent politics, he opines, are the answer. From where? Labour lost in 2021 because, he continues, it did not become “the champions of a Brexit vote” Indeed “Labour seemed determined to thwart” Brexit, which, one supposes in this train of thought, ought to have been backed. Whole heartedly. If not more.

Starmer, as Chacko familiarly calls the Labour leader, “has seriously undermined Labour’s ability to put pressure on Tory MPs. By persecuting and disenfranchising the members, he has largely disarmed a mass movement that showed in 2017 it could deliver despite wall-to-wall media hostility and misrepresentation.”

This persecution of Labour’s membership has reached the point that the Party ” has demoralised and disorientated an organisation.” Look at the way they call on the rozzers to sort things out! “Labour’s referral of the Christmas party to the police is the worst possible approach.”

Labour, phew! Instead, “we need to pose an independent socialist challenge to the Tories based on this crisis.” Calling on the “the fury of workers”.

 Led by whom, one might ask? “If the left — in and out of Labour, through the unions and campaign groups — raises the pressure in the right way, the results could be significant.”

Indeed…but one thing is certain, this will not be the work of those nostalgic for a People’s Brexit that never happened and was never going to happen.

The alt-left Skwawkbox ignores Wallpaper-gate, Party-Gate and Boris Johnson, but carried yesterday a no less important story, Starmer shredded over ‘simpering’ response to Johnson birth.

The other leading alt-left voice is indisposed:


Written by Andrew Coates

December 10, 2021 at 12:53 pm