Boris Johnson is not standing for the leadership of the Conservative party. This, to many people, is a bit confusing. If you are a leave voter and reading this then, firstly, you made a stupid choice at the ballot last week and you should feel awful about it, secondly you’re probably wondering why the mop headed traitor you trusted didn’t do what he said he would do and actually see this catastrophe through. If you’re a remain voter you’re probably laughing at the Tory in fighting and don’t care about the details. Trust me though, this is one of the most astonishing stories to emerge from this whole mess. In place of Boris Johnson is a man who has engineered one of the most breathtakingly brutal political plots since the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Reading about it, finding out just how duplicitous and destructive this fish lipped narcissist’s schemes were, I am a little stunned. Boris Johnson is an irresponsible, lying turd but Michael Gove may actually be the devil.
For those with no interest in the breeding practises of birds (so most of you); some breeds of cuckoos raise their young by laying their eggs in other bird’s nests. Birds, not being the brightest of beings, often don’t quite notice that their clutch has changed so dramatically and proceed to nurture the things, then the cuckoo chick destroys all the other eggs before they hatch and reaps the rewards of being an only child for a while until it leaves its surrogate parents forever. This ‘Cuckoo nest plot’ has the perfect name.
Gove must have been planning to stab Johnson, his friend of twenty years, in the back before the campaigns got underway. He may even have planned it from the moment Cameron declared there would be a referendum, so calculating were his actions. The Gods alone know where the seed of his evil began but they started to sprout during a dinner party at Boris Johnson’s house. It is well known that before the referendum Johnson was vocally in favour of the European Union but, during a dinner party with his old friend Gove, he was convinced to cross the divide and campaign to leave. Don’t get me wrong; Johnson made a calculated political manoeuvre and gambled the future of the country for his own selfish ends but Gove was his enabler. This in no way absolves Johnson of guilt, of course. Gove, in contrast, has always been a Eurosceptic, men of his lack-of-calibre tend to be. This is his one saving grace; the consistency of his callousness.
So, armed with the backing of another cabinet minister and a vacuum at the head of the leave campaign to fill, Johnson stunned Cameron and the country to announce he would be campaigning for Brexit. Well we all know how that turned out.
The second step in Johnson’s myopic master plan was to win the Conservative leadership contest. His plan was simple; he would use his position as leader of the leave campaign to unite both the remainers and the Eurosceptic wing of his party and take a fresh, revitalised Tory bloc in to the next election. The problem was that he won, and now the old guard loathed him with a seething, unexpected passion. It wouldn’t matter though, he would still have enough support unless there was some unforeseen problem, he and Gove had enough allies between them to easily secure the future of the party and Gove had never had any pretentions to leadership. He had said as much, repeatedly and at a loud volume.
There was, however, the problem of Brexit to contend with, he would have to spell out a clear, coherent vision for that swiftly in order to seize the initiative in a now freewheeling conservative party. Cameron had gone and the entire country was languishing, all he had to do was make sure everyone knew he had a plan. He penned an article for the Telegraph and had Gove check over it. It was perfect for Gove; an obscene abrogation of absolutely every promise and hint their campaign had made, so he finessed it to make sure it came across as even more bewildered and useless than it already was. It was a fantasy list of unachievable hopes that nobody in the European Union could ever accept. No free movement of labour but access to the single market. If he had carried those pledges in to Brussels he would have been laughed out of Belgium, and rightly so.
After that he was done, but it was possible he didn’t know it. Gove and his wife continued their blitz against his hopes. To tee it up his wife, Ms Vine, ‘accidentally’ sent an email to a member of the public which was supposed to go to her husband. This public spirited, anonymous individual who almost certainly doesn’t exist and is a journalist, leaked it to sky news. It painted a picture of an indecisive government in waiting and a Gove rightly troubled by the goings on in camp Boris, extolling in him the need for ‘SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support.’
By now Johnson’s bid was looking less like a smooth transition and more like a blundering mess. If the party couldn’t get this right at a time like this then the government could fall, haemorrhaging Tory voters to UKIP and Labour and costing them their tiny majority. Never mind the chaos in the Labour party, half of the country now loathed them.
It was time to act and Johnson was becoming increasingly frantic. First he met with Andrea Leadsom to try to convince her to withdraw her leadership bid and, by all accounts, succeeded. She would throw her support behind him in the coming contest and it could well be enough to secure his leadership. He sent out invitations to his launch event, best to make it official and quickly.
The morning after the Conservative party summer ball (because of course Tories have one of those) Gove struck. He had told as many people as he could, presumably, all sorts of horror stories about the dithering and meandering of Boris the botch, the overgrown schoolboy who would burn the country down if he could be king of the ashes. By the time the sun reached its zenith the work was done, no longer was Johnson a brief spark of the old order of the conservative party, he was a babbling schoolboy blundering from one position to another.
It was enough. Gove was Johnson’s closest political ally and friend of twenty years, who wouldn’t believe that his concerns were genuine? It was self-evident that the next leader of the Tories had to be a Brexiter and if not Johnson it would have to be Gove.
So the next day we were treated to one of the most flagrant assaults in the rear with a bladed weapon since Caesar. Gove announced his candidacy and, by all accounts, told Theresa May in advance and said nothing to Johnson. By mid-morning Johnson’s support was all but gone to Gove, his ‘dream team’ partner had taken up arms against him and he had a press conference organised for that afternoon. Surveying the devastation around him he stepped up to the podium, mop hair ruffled and looking as dumbstruck and distraught as he had the morning his great ‘victory’ in the referendum was announced, and he told the stunned crowd that he would not be standing in the leadership contest.
Now I understand if, after that, you might feel a flicker of emotion for the shell of Johnson’s career. It’s human to want to pity a man subject to such a colossal betrayal, but never forget: the man has probably destroyed the country in order to fulfil his sad little ego trip. As for Gove? Well, it looks like some things are beyond the pale even for a party that tends to celebrate a well-executed scheme no matter how evil. Gove is trailing badly, yesterday’s man, losing support from MPs who see his actions, as they would repugnantly put it, as ‘not cricket.’ The good news is that we won’t see a Gove or Johnson Prime Ministership, the bad news is that we are likely instead to get a woman who campaigned to stay and has always, throughout her entire political career, been a Eurosceptic.
This is a time of lies in our political circles. A time of grinning through causes they don’t believe in to position themselves better for the future. Corbyn wanted to leave but campaigned to stay, Johnson wanted to stay but campaigned to leave, May wanted to leave but campaigned to stay and not a single member of our political establishment has managed to tell a single truth from the beginning of this free-wheeling disaster. A plague on all their houses, and remember that Gove is the most callous of all.