Boris Johnson has nobody but himself to blame for his messy downfall that culminated on Thursday in his expected resignation from office. The character flaws that have dogged his entire career, particularly his propensity for lying and disregard for the codes and conventions of honesty that necessarily underpin public life in a democracy, were always going to be a problem when he entered Downing Street in 2019 “to get Brexit done”. Those flaws were amplified by policy failures, particularly over his mismanagement of the British economy, that further undermined confidence in his government. With inflation already at a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent and forecast to hit 11 per cent by the end of the year, it is projected to be the worst-performing economy in the OECD next year.
The scandals surrounding Mr Johnson have done little to inspire investors or Conservative MPs who have seen their electoral prospects jeopardised even further by a crisis over energy supplies and the British prime minister’s determination to cling to the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal that is in no small measure responsible for the economic jam the country is in. Britain’s Federation of Small Businesses estimates a typical small company with commercial premises in London has had its electricity bill increase by 145 per cent and its natural gas bill by 258 per cent across the past year, which has done nothing to help perceptions of what has been going on in Downing Street under Mr Johnson’s leadership. Neither have projected increases to corporate and payroll taxes that, together with Mr Johnson’s embrace of net-zero emissions targets, have raised questions about where the Conservative party’s conservatism was headed under his leadership. In the end, the extent of the disenchantment towards Mr Johnson would be hard to exaggerate. Even London’s Daily Telegraph, which for many decades has provided bedrock support for the Conservative party and is known as the “Daily Torygraph”, editorialised despairingly on Thursday about his governance. His problem, the paper said, was “not the opposition that has concluded he is no longer fit to be prime minister, but a majority in his own party … a majority of Conservative MPs would (now) vote to remove him”.