The commentariat might not be admitting it, but it is the Ukraine war that looks like finally finishing off Boris Johnson’s premiership.
Poor old Boris. It all started so well. Swept into power on a wave of Brexit enthusiasm, facing a neutered and electorally devastated opposition, given a free pass for every personal ‘peccadillo’, seeming to emerge from ever more blatant corruption scandals as if he was made of Teflon …
But these things all add up, don’t they? It was bad enough that the workers had to suffer Covid lockdowns, a deepening economic crisis, unemployment, stolen pensions, poverty pay and dire conditions, supply lines chaos and an energy crisis. It was bad enough to be given endless empty promises about ‘levelling up’, ‘building back better’, ‘saving the planet’ and ‘fixing’ the NHS.
Then ‘partygate’ came along, and while it didn’t seem like it would be enough to dent his grip on the top job, it all added fuel to the fire of workers’ rising anger and MPs’ rising panic in the face of that anger.
But the really big blow has come from the economy. Workers are pretty cynical about the British political class. We know they’re a self-serving hypocritical lot, out to feather their own nests while serving the super-rich monopoly class. If people were able to keep putting food on the table and beer in the glass, they might well keep shrugging and looking the other way.
But instead they have found that in the middle of the worst inflation crisis in decades, with living standards falling off a cliff, the best our Churchill wannabe prime minister can do is mouth platitudes about tightening our belts whilst junketing off to Ukraine to keep pouring petrol on the flames of a conflagration provoked by his ruling-class masters in their insatiable quest for profits and domination.
Instead of putting measures in place to secure affordable fuel, housing and food for ordinary workers and to make sure their pay is keeping pace with the price of essentials, we are being told not to ask for pay rises – even as we are also being asked to accept seemingly unlimited billions in subsidies to the arms industry under the guise of ‘military aid to Ukraine’.
Not only is the war an insane and unjust provocation, but waging it is actively exacerbating the already deep inflation crisis. In particular because of the economic war that our rulers were so sure would bring about the downfall of those damnably independent-minded Russians, thereby opening up new markets for their plunder and control.
Only they didn’t. Not only is Russia still standing and more united and independent-minded than ever, but world food and energy prices are climbing even higher – and it is European workers who will go hungry and cold this winter.
As Alexander Mercouris of the Duran pointed out recently: “A political leader can survive scandals, they can survive appearances of corruption and incompetence if there’s an impression that the economy is booming …
“But Boris Johnson played a major role in orchestrating both the war and the sanctions. He didn’t take into account what the effect of the sanctions would be. We have a major economic crisis in Britain … and the result is that the country has turned against him and so has the Conservative party.
“Although the principle in the media is ‘don’t mention the war’, in practice, the war is the cause behind [Johnson’s imminent fall], just as it was for the collapse of the Estonian government a few days ago.”
Whether they openly acknowledge the cause or not, the commentariat are essentially agreed that Johnson’s days as PM are numbered.
Quite an irony when one remembers how loudly he himself has joined the imperialist chorus demanding the fall of so many anti-imperialist leaders, from Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela) to Bashar al-Assad (Syria) and Kim Jong Un (DPRK), who are all not only still in place, but stronger than ever and working increasingly closely together.
The world is changing. The US-led unipolar era is dying. The next British prime minister would do well to take note of this reality.