Just a few days ago an article in La Voce di New York talked about the Teflon coated political figures like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who repeatedly flout all the rules of ethical politics and decent behavior with impunity. “They take the heat and nothing sticks to them”. Repeatedly these reckless figures are on the edge of the cliff that would end their careers and each time they manage to survive scandal after scandal—and not only survive but thrive. These are the perpetual comeback kids. Now we can add Boris Johnson to the list of “Teflon Dons” and Teflon Marjories”.
In the wake of Liz Truss’ stunning downfall, Great Britain is scrambling to find a new leader and Boris Johnson would like nothing better than to be “the one.” And this is just weeks after he was forced out of the leadership position.
Like his good friend Donald Trump, in his years as Prime Minister Johnson careened from one scandal to another. He was brought down by a succession of scandals in recent months. One of the first that he faced as PM was an allegation of corruption after WhatsApp messages revealed he had asked a Conservative Party donor for funds to refurbish his Downing Street residence. Then came “Partygate,” which involved revelations around his government’s repeated and brazen ignoring of its own COVID-19 lockdown rules. Finally, his handling of a tawdry affair involving the promotion of a member of parliament accused of serious sexual wrongdoing that proved the final straw. That scandal precipitated a rash of cabinet resignations that made clear Johnson could no longer rely on the support of his own party.
But now that Truss has fallen, Boris Johnson sped across the ocean from his Caribbean vacation to mount another audacious attempt to win a second term as prime minister. His colleagues are not happy about it, as this should be no surprise given that it was only a few weeks ago that he was forced to step down. They are warning that his comeback could create more political chaos in a country already roiled by the Truss debacle and a precarious economic position.
Johnson has not yet commented publicly that he is after his old job, and he has indeed received the support of dozens of Conservative lawmakers, but he needs to secure 100 nominations to be considered. The fact that he abruptly interrupted his vacation as the leadership is racing to fill the vacuum left by Truss more than clarifies his intentions.
While ex-interior minister Priti Patel announced her support for her former boss on Saturday, saying he had “the mandate to deliver our elected manifesto and a proven track record getting the big decisions right,” her colleague Andrew Bridgen said he would consider resigning from the parliamentary group if Johnson returns and warned the Conservatives against developing a “personality cult” around the former prime minister. Dominic Raab, a foreign minister under Johnson, said the party risked going “backwards” if he returned.
The former Conservative leader William Hague said on Friday Johnson’s return was possibly the worst idea he had heard in almost half a century as a party member. He said it would lead to a “death spiral” for the Conservatives.
The aspiring Prime Minister who currently has about half the support needed, is presently under investigation by parliament’s Privileges Committee to establish whether he lied to the House of Commons over lockdown-breaking parties. If ministers are found to have knowingly misled parliament, they are expected to resign.
This entire scenario seems very familiar to Americans who follow the legal manipulations of Donald Trump, who is dealing with a raft of legal problems and yet is still a front contender for the 2024 presidential election.
Johnson was booed by some passengers on the plane to Britain, according to a Sky News reporter on the flight which arrived in London on Saturday morning. Trump is booed routinely by those not part of his cult following. Yet both men are and remain, front and center in the political arena.
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