The dust is just settling. Those who were once staunch Boris allies are now cast down and new faces, some unknown faces, raised up.
There are rewards for those who were for Boris Johnson from the beginning, but that is not a pattern, and some former Remainers have been raised up. Really, there are no Remainers and Leavers now, and we hear that the very word ‘Brexit’ has been banned from Whitehall, which is commanded henceforth to look forward, not back.
Sajid Javid was once introduced to me as the future Prime Minister. I think we can pass over that now. That is a deadly position to hold, is it not? Solomon began his reign by righteously slaying all those who threatened his position, including his own brother, Adonijah, Joab the general and Shimei, who had taunted Solomon’s father David during Absalom’s rebellion. The advantage of democracy is that political change can be effected without bloodshed, as long as everyone follows the rules.
Jeremy Hunt is not back in the government, I see.
The fate of the once-great was a constant theme of the Middle Ages. Often the scion of a Welsh princely family dreamed that if it had not been for circumstances he might have had lands and a coronet himself, so he raised an army and to all who should follow him he promised gold, they receiving graves instead. Then there were the tangled family successions of the grandsons of Edward III tearing England apart over theoretical rights to estates, duchies or the Crown itself. In the modern Westminster system, no one has a right to office, but that does not stop the natural feeling in the breast of the deprived man that something of his own has been unjustly taken from him.
(The law makes it clear that an office under the Crown is at the whim of the Queen with no right to notice or compensation. Mind you, the law also makes it clear that the Queen may prorogue Parliament and that did nor stop the Court of Session and the Supreme Court from interfering.)
The question now is whether the ousted ministers will sit quietly, looking wistfully at their broken career paths, or will plot amongst themselves a startling coup, from which they would either triumph or be cast into the depths of deselected Tartarus, like other tortured, Grieving souls of the past who now lie forgotten men. Those who went with good grace may find a place again, or not. There are too many talented Members of Parliament to find them all a salaried job.
As I observed during the Last Days of May, “Whoever then stands on the steps of Downing Street, they will make enemies, from those they have not favoured as they believe they deserve.” As Clifford says in Henry VI Part 3:
“The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on.”
Maybe Sajiv Javid is dreaming of riding triumphant again through the barred gates of Downing Street like Warwick:
“Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong, And therefore I’ll uncrown him ere’t be long.”
– but his is no kingmaker. Boris drives all before him, as long as he keeps that momentum going.
One pattern just emerging is the rise of ‘blue wall’ members. Grand infrastructure schemes to connect the neglected North are one thing, but promoting their new Members begins. A senior job cannot fall to an MP in place barely more than a month, but northern MPs are appearing – Simon Clarke of Middlesbrough for one. It helps too that the PM’s senior adviser is from County Durham.
The headline news has been the downfall of Sajiv Javid, attributed to his refusal to merge his SpAD team with that of Number 10. It also came just days after Javid had been relentlessly attacked by Conservative members and the Tory-leaning press for suggesting tax increases. Only future days will tell whether the latter suggestion was a Number 10 or Number 11 initiative. His fiscal rules, of a steadily reducing deficit and limits to capital spending, were important and should survive. Promises to shower the North with gold do not sit well with this though.
If asked to paint the picture emerging from the new ministry, I am stuck for description. All this is speculation, and I must leave the detail for those who actually know what they are taking about.
- Boris the chosen one
- Got Brexit Done
- Boris unleashed
- Honest, Georgian elections
- 101 Uses for a Dumped MP
- What happens next for Boris?
- Supporters come out, but no Kingmaker
By Boris Johnson:
- The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History
- The Dream of Rome
- Have I Got Views For You
- The Spirit of London
- Johnson’s Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World
- Seventy-Two Virgins
- The Free Ports Opportunity: How Brexit Could Boost Trade, Manufacturing and the North by Rishi Sunak
- A Portrait of Modern Britain by Rishi Sunak and Saratha Rajeswaran
- Woke: A Guide to Social Justice by Titania McGrath
- The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay (1841)
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B Peterson
- All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class by Tim Shipman
- Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley
- Brexit: How the Nobodies Beat the Somebodies by Sebastian J. Handley
- By David Cameron: