It seems only yesterday that I was pondering those contesting for the Conservative leadership, to choose one who would forthwith be wheeled in a barrow to the Palace to be appointed as PM. Then there was never really a question about it: Boris it had to be.
Now he has been driven off his perch, the new contenders must be taunted by the understanding:
“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.”
I can be fairly sure that by the time anyone reads this, it will be out of date. Even as I started to write it, some candidates had withdrawn and others were hinting at a late run, and didn’t.
At the moment we are down to eight, who will start dropping out this afternoon and in the weeks ahead as first votes are taken, deals are done, and polls are scrutinised. For the record, as a snapshot of the moment, we have:
- Kemi Badenoch
- Suella Braverman
- Jeremy Hunt
- Penny Mordaunt
- Rishi Sunak
- Liz Truss
- Tom Tugendhat
- Nadhim Zahawi
Trying to give descriptions is impossible. I do not know them; I have not meet any of them, and their public profiles have been so dimmed, behind the brilliance of the Sun, that we do not know their public profiles either. Perhaps Rishi Sunak is a mighty statesman, but for most of us he is Mr Tax; perhaps Suella Braverman is wisdom personified, but who on earth is she? Kemi Badenoch makes brilliant speeches which the faithful lap up, but how would she carry the responsibility? Boris taught us that sharp intelligence and sharper rhetoric do not mean a steady hand on the tiller.
The suspicion is there, immovable, that we cannot replace Boris.
- From the Borisiad:
- Put not your trust in princes
- You dirty, double-crossing chatty rat
- Oh the things we said in dark corners
- The whirligig of time brings in his revenges
- We cannot win on social media
- By Boris Johnson:
- The Borisaurus by Simon Walters
- By Thomas Hobbes
- By Anthony Burgess:
- By others:
- Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Thomas Hobbes by Timothy Raylor
- Thomas Hobbes: Political Ideas in Historical Context by J P Sommerville