Boris Johnson’s character should be an issue for the whole nation | Polly Toynbee


The police being called to Johnsons flat was the latest dismal episode in a shocking week for the Conservative party

” What a non-story.’ Couple have row ‘.” So tweeted security pastor Ben Wallace, Boris Johnson’s 2016 campaign director. But it appears he believed better of it and deleted that tweet when even every ardent Johnson-backing paper splashed the history of the midnight row between Johnson and his girlfriend. The Mail blazons Carrie Symonds’ cries in red,” Get off me … get out of my flat .”

Should the police have been called? Go out with them of an evening, as I did the other day, and they assiduously attend all reports of rows when neighbours hear shouts, screams, crashing crockery and and other indications that a situation may seem to have turned toxic.

The argument between Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds appears to have traversed that threshold, in the minds of those who heard it reverberating through their walls and floors. The Times reports a nursery teacher on the top floor among those alarmed:” It went on for about 10 minutes. I’ve never heard anything like it. I could hear shouting and screaming from a dame, she voiced really angry. I was considering calling the police but then a[ police] van and automobile came .” The neighbours had decided to sound the alarm.

Can’t Johnson keep out of the headlines even on the very night of his victory in reaching the last stage of the Tory leadership contest? And the fact that he can’t leadings one to recall a track record of erratic behaviour: the affairs, the untruths, the subterfuges, the sackings for lying. The is the issue of Boris Johnson’s character- the style he does things and who he seems to be- is now of first order importance for the future of Britain. When Carrie Symonds is reported to be railing at him for ruining her sofa with red wine, shouting” You don’t only care for anything because you’re spoiled. You have no care for money or anything” she lands a direct hit on everything about him that should devote Tory members, and the rest of us, pause for supposed: the sense of entitlement, the privilege and the fecklessness. The populace will have been struck by the revelation he earned PS700, 000 outside his parliamentary salary in less than a year: people don’t like politics to pay that well.

Consider as well this small vignette: Johnson’s Toyota Previa people carrier had been parked outside Symonds’s flat overnight but was reportedly driven away Friday afternoon. It had three parking tickets and a taunt flyer on the windscreen that had also been posted on a fence nearby reading:” We’d rather suffer him as a neighbour than our prime minister .” Another neighbour was reported as saying:” It’s got loads of parking tickets on it. He just leaves it here. He doesn’t care .” That’s the stance: parking tickets are for little people. That cavalier posh-boy spoiled behaviour should genuinely upset law abiding Tory party members.

Today in Birmingham Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt face thousands of Tory members in the first of 16 hustings. Some brave spirits may create character questions, but no doubt Jeremy Hunt will be dignified to a fault, avoiding any remark. It’s odds on that an overwhelming majority of Tory party members, in the grip of no-deal mania, will be whooping it up for their man. This week’s astonishing YouGov poll proved two thirds of them willing to sacrifice utterly everything and all of us only to get the Brexit phantasm of their wild imagines. Sod the union, turf Scotland and Ireland, sod the Tory party itself, and sod the economy on which they are willing to impose ” significant damage “. This is fanaticism; many of those polled would be happy with the idea of Nigel Farage resulting them.

But out there in the country today’s headlines may do him injury. In fact, this may be merely one more scene in the extraordinary implosion of the Conservative Party. The Tories’ regrets come not as single snoops but in brigades: Mark Field’s ridiculously aggressive therapy of a peaceful female protester was a shocker. The local Brecon and Radnor party are re-selecting their disgraced MP Chris Davies( convicted for expenditures fraud) to fight a by-election the Liberal Democrats seem well able to seize. Worst of all, Richard Ratcliffe is on hunger strike, still trying to get the release of his wife from an Iranian jail. And that goes back of course to Boris Johnson’s gaffe, which he has done so little to redress.

This appears a party in freefall, in the midst of a national crisis entirely of their own inducing. The election of members of a character as erratic as Johnson, a genuinely loose cannon, could accelerate and seal its demise.

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