Boris, as many of you have pointed out in the last couple of hours, has been sacked as Tory shadow arts minister and vice-chairman, just a day after praising Boris in the highest and most sarcastic manner possible. The Conservative spokesman tonight issued a statement which included a thinly veiled attempt to out him over recent allegations. Tomorrow morning’s papers will apparently show that he did have an affair with Petronella Wyatt. After lying back, taking in the posted comments and curdling the various resultant thoughts in my mind, I think now is the time to post.
Boris, as I’ve pointed out, was the only popular minister in politics. The Conservatives, as the party most like to hate in these days of media-led opinion, desperately need popular figureheads to survive. It had only one. Now it has none. The sacking of Boris will only confirm to the thousands who visit this site, the thousands who visit his official site, and the tens of thousands who support, understand and cherish Boris’s words and thoughts, that the Conservatives are becoming irretrievably out of touch with common consensus and astonishingly unaware of the potential for the popular vote, rather than just the cerebral one.
Boris has made an error of judgement. Michael Howard’s judgement is even graver – a kneejerk reaction based on earlier kneejerk reactions, opportunistically carried out for shallow reasons. Boris has got more publicity and bonhomie for the Conservative party than Mr Howard can now ever do – and this appears to have all come to naught. I trust that in the days to come, Boris will come out of hiding and explain his side of the story, in the easy going and considered way that has brought him so many followers.
Looking back on my words above, it seems that the word “Conservatives” could easily, and more correctly, be replaced by “Michael Howard”. For it is he who has sacked Boris, and it was he who managed to destroy Boris’s reputation in the early hours of the Liverpool saga, by declaring the Spectator column “nonsense from beginning to end”. As Boris commented darkly in the days afterwards, had Mr Howard read the column he would have found that the majority agree with the greater part of the article. Mr Howard was just following those kneejerk reactions that he seems to love so much.
Echoing many of the comments posted here tonight, I am unable to comprehend how the Conservatives, or indeed Michael Howard, see Boris as more of a liability than an asset. Yes, he has his detractors. So do I. So does Tony Blair. So does Michael Howard, in far greater numbers than those of Boris. Boris’s bell has tolled in the political world, but he’ll be back, doing so effortlessly what he has done in the past – transcending the class barriers and talking to the public in a language we all understand. For that is the key to winning elections – and that is the key that Michael Howard has just thrown away.
Update: Lets your feelings be known. Send messages to the BBC News “Have Your Say” forum. Also, get active and send your input to the Conservative Party website, and the Boris Johnson website.
UPDATE 2: Boriswatch visitor has created a “Bring Back Boris” petition.