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How the fall of ‘Bojo’ might benefit Bermuda

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Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister (Photograph by Frank Augstein/AP)

With Boris Johnson’s UK premiership looking in peril, Shaun Connolly, who closely observed the “political rock star” in his pomp at Westminster, looks at how it came to this and what it could mean for Bermuda.

If Boris Johnson is toppled by the British Conservative Party would the brutal goodbye pave the way to a warmer hello for Bermuda in Joe Biden’s Whitehouse?

The British Prime Minister is in serious danger of losing his job as controversy swirls around him in connection with various Downing Street “parties” that breached tough lockdown laws imposed on the rest of the country.

Mr Johnson is also beset by the whiff of sleaze hanging over Number 10, and a series of political own goals which have rattled his back bench MPs.

But “Bojo’” being booted out of power could do Bermuda’s standing in the US a power of good.

The Biden White House has always been decidedly cool towards Downing Street and is still annoyed by Mr Johnson’s often fawning attitude to Donald Trump.

Sharing many of the same traits with their bombastic characters, lack of attention to detail, and tendency to say the first thing that comes into their heads regardless of the diplomatic damage, Johnson was often referred to as Trump’s “Mini Me” on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr Johnson’s cavalier post-Brexit attitude towards the Northern Irish peace process has also infuriated a president who takes pride in his family’s roots in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.

With the Biden administration keen on global tax reform, a wind of change in Downing Street might blow Bermuda some good fortune when the transatlantic talk turns to greater regulation of offshore financial centres.

Looking increasingly exhausted – his wife Carrie recently gave birth to the couple’s second child – the man once dubbed the blond bombshell of British politics now more resembles a blond bomb site.

President Joe Biden (Photograph by Keith Srakocic/AP)

The air of grim farce descending on Downing Street was only heightened when the man charged with getting to the truth about whether Number 10 gatherings broke lockdown rules, Britain’s top civil servant, Simon Case, had to stand down from the inquiry when it was claimed he had attended a “party” at his own department.

Photographs of the seemingly lock down-busting parties at the top incensed the British public as they took place when people were barred from visits to dying relatives because they obeyed the rules which Downing Street appeared to have ignored.

The row destroyed what little credibility Mr Johnson had left over Covid regulations, as seen in December when 99 Tory MPs defied him over new pandemic rules and he suffered the humiliation of having to rely on Labour Party votes to pass the measures.

Those same MP’s are now talking about a leadership heave against Mr Johnson this month “being on the cards” as they reel at the shock of a seemingly impregnable 23,000 majority in a rock solid Tory seat being smashed in a by-election shock as the rising tide of public anger took revenge.

To make things worse, the PM has also had to deal with a top level sleaze probe into how much he knew about a Tory donor initially paying for the lavish renovation of his Downing Street apartment, complete with gold wallpaper costing as much as $1,100 a roll.

The inquiry stopped short of finding that the PM had broken rules, but criticised his behaviour in what was seen another blow to his standing.

The rot really seemed to set in last November when he was widely ridiculed after losing his place in a speech to Britain’s top business leaders and instead rambled on about children’s favourite Peppa Pig and did an impression of a car engine to baffled industrialists.

Critics have accused Johnson of lying to the House of Commons about the lock down knees up seen at Number 10, a charge if proved by the investigation would force a resignation – a situation even the leader of the Scottish wing of the Conservative Party acknowledged could happen.

Mr Johnson has already been fired from two jobs for lying – once from The Times for making up quotes and he was sacked from the Tory shadow Cabinet for trying to cover-up one of his numerous affairs.

This is a man who refuses to tell the public how many children he actually has – is it seven, eight or more?

Don’t ask the PM, because he will not come clean on even that most basic of questions.

Having observed Mr Johnson at close quarters as I travelled the country with him on the now infamous “Brexit Bus” in the EU referendum campaign, he always struck me as being far less gregarious and charming than people think he is and far less clever than he thinks he is.

But he is a political rock star – albeit one that is starting to realise that fans can be fickle as the music dies away and the party, finally, appears to be drawing to a close.

But if he does disappear into a Bermuda Triangle of his own making, Bermuda gets the chance to try a new angle in Washington.

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Published January 07, 2022 at 11:39 am (Updated January 07, 2022 at 11:39 am)

How the fall of ‘Bojo’ might benefit Bermuda

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