Happy Boris-bashing day!

I read the report straight away. I will keep this brief, and cite from the report with good humour. Much as whoever wrote from page 62, titled “Mr Johnson’s resignation as an MP and his attack upon the Committee”. Nothing spared there – well worth a read {here}

In a full blooded reply to Boris’ resignation low blow, the Committee state, “Mr Johnson’s incorrect assertion that the Committee’s powers are new, and its procedures unfair, is a continuation of a pattern of statements which are bald expressions of opinion without justification” [para. 221]. The claimed lacking integrity inviting the strongest response, “Mr Johnson does not merely criticise the fairness of the Committee’s procedures; he also attacks in very strong, indeed vitriolic, terms the integrity, honesty and honour of its members“, a few lines on concluding such remarks, “...amounts to an attack on our democratic institutions. We consider that these statements are completely unacceptable” [para. 222].

Nothing Churchillian to see here

“…I owe my advancement entirely to the House of Commons, whose servant I am…”

Winston Churchill

If ever a Prime Minister has failed so miserably to acknowledge the weight of commitment of that role – it is the now “contemptable” Boris Johnson. Churchill he was not.

In Boris, we instead got a cad – now a knave. Belligerent to due process right the end, “we conclude that either Mr Johnson was being deliberately evasive with the Committee or that he has deliberately failed to abide by his undertaking to be candid” [para. 175]. Kicking the bin by way of resignation, he “broke the confidentiality of the process by revealing the contents of the warning letter and linked material, and attacked the Committee” [para. 215] – later confirmed as “a serious further contempt” [para. 222].

“He ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions”

Niccolò Machiavelli “The Prince”

From this report we also have the means to know Boris as the defensive decision-maker, extraordinaire. This is useful to see tell-tale behaviours. e.g., not asking the tougher questions, and asking only those people we know will say what is easiest to hear. In this instance “…from his then Director of Communications, Mr Doyle, and his previous Director of Communications, James Slack” [para. 176]. Further evidenced by those he did not seek out, “Mr Johnson himself told us that he does not claim Mr Case gave him an assurance” [para. 174]. And selectively ignoring the harder but better advice, e.g., when Boris “reiterated this assertion [of following all guidance] despite having been advised by his Principal Private Secretary not to make this claim” [para. 181].

“It is necessary for a prince to have the people friendly”

Niccolò Machiavelli “The Prince”

His friendlies have come to his defence of course, but these seem lame in the face of what is reported – and what is plain to see. Three examples. [1] Nadine Dorries (MP…?)- taking time out from her oddly extended resignation process – warning backers of this report will be “held to account by members and the public”. And adding starker warning to Tories still in post, “deselections may follow. It’s serious”; [2] The pro-Boris, anti-much else, Brendan Clarke-Smith MP reading all as “spiteful, vindictive and overreaching conclusions of the report”; [3] Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, offering his ‘voice of the people’ perspective from his seat at GB noise, “this report is in danger of making the House of Commons look foolish…”. All as reported in The Independent

Will this make the House of Commons look foolish, Sir JRM? Some may say from what baseline do we measure such remarks? Reclining from the front-benches, I suppose.

From The Independent Sept 2019

As to the attempts to discredit the process and the committee, the report addresses the resignation attack head-on. It makes explicit the processes in place, the extra measures taken to ensure the full disclosure and rights of reply provided throughout. The report also demonstrates an early anticipation of just such a rebuttal:

the Committee took the additional step of appointing Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder, former Senior President of Tribunals and former Lord Justice of Appeal, to advise on the fairness of the process

paragraph 218

Boris the Knave

The first modern era UK Prime Minister to be found so contemptibly short – and so personally far from his Churchillian idol. He is perhaps also the second to claim that undignified King-of-the-World fall (if we count the post-resignation contempt too). We will soon find out if the House agrees. His actions last Friday a legacy low-point perhaps. Lowest of this most indignant of dignitary.