Well Boris Johnson has shafted the whole country – too strong maybe but I’ll get onto that in a moment. He has decided not to stand for leader of the Conservative party. It was the conventional wisdom that the only reason he supported Brexit was to get Cameron out and he would be poised to replace him. So much for conventional wisdom.
It is far too early to say with any certainty what effect Boris Johnson had on the referendum but that is not going to stop me. I think he was the definitive reason why Leave won and Remain lost. The reason I say this is because Leave only won by c1.2 million which isn’t that much when nearly 34 million votes were cast. I have previously written here that the vote would be considered by 5% of the voters – which was only a bit optimistic – it was 4%. To put it another way it would only take a swing of just over 2% and Remain would have won and which I think the most charismatic person in British politics is quite capable of swinging. The vote would still have been tight but it probably would have gone the other way. Of course the Boris effect will be greatly denied by the Brexit side but what planet were they on? Every event that Boris went to was covered – he was the poster boy of the Vote Leave side so I don’t buy that argument for one moment.
So thank you Boris Johnson, your vanity has cost Britain a great deal. I do hope you are greatly rewarded by the publishers of the Daily Telegraph because I suspect you will have few friends left after this. By this act of selfish vanity it has now opened up the whole question of the legitimacy of the vote. Of course Brexit side would argue that it was more than about Boris and they are right. But without Boris would the Leave side have had the impact?
I can’t think of a more spineless vain act by a British politician in a very long time.