Now that we have the “Gang of Six”, the members of Cameron’s cabinet who have decided to break ranks and openly support Brexit, one of their ranks being Michael Gove, everyone is waiting to see which side in the EU debate Boris will support. The London mayor has said previously that he will come down with “deafening eclat” on one side or the other in regards to this issue. But the thing is, while it still matters to the relevant campaigns which side BoJo picks, to the future career prospects of Boris Johnson, deals with Cameron aside, it really no longer matters. Boris has missed his moment already.
It was eaten by Michael Gove. The justice secretary came out at the right time with the right pitch. We hear now that Cameron is “putting the squeeze” on Boris to support a Remain vote, and that Gove is chivying him to go the other way. The point being that in either scenario, Boris is a follower not a leader. He had a chance to appear to be an original thinking, but that has passed him by as everyone has chosen a side and he looks like the last kid picked in a schoolyard football match.
In fact, I would say whatever he does now, Boris will kind of look bad. If he supports Remain, it appears like he’s caved into the prime minister’s demands for careerist reasons; if he gets behind Leave, it will just look like he’s following Gove’s lead; if he stays clear of the whole thing, he’s got that ridiculous “deafening eclat” line making him look silly.
Boris should have picked a side a long time ago and stuck with it. Or told the world he wasn’t very fussed and vowed to stay out of it all. Now, he’s boxed himself into an impossible political position.
So what will Boris do? Who knows, it really is impossible to say at this stage. All I know is, the answer to that question matters a great deal less than it did even a week ago.
thomas the dooter says
Looking at the gang of six on the news last night, I was reminded of the coterie of odd people who came out for John Redwood. OK they were missing Theresa Gorman but the presence of Messers Duncan-Smith and Grayling and poor sad John Whittingale more than made up for it. Incidentally, I’m not sure how two of the least pleasant and competent Cabinet members will add any lustre to the out campaign.
Steve Peers says
Don’t agree. At the end of the day Boris is by far the biggest figure on the Leave side, He has a lot more public support than Gove even if Gove went first and made his case more eloquently. if the Leave side win then he is obviously responsible for the victory and becomes PM just about instantly. Everyone on that side gets juicy jobs in his cabinet with a few crumbs to console those on the Remain side. The risk for him is if the Remain side win, but in fact that’s not much of a problem for him. Cameron would have to placate the big chunk of his party that supported Leave so that must mean a much bigger role for Boris and chums.
“Don’t agree. At the end of the day Boris is by far the biggest figure on the Leave side”
Probably he would be, but there’s a limit to how forcefully he can argue for either side, given that it’s taken him several days to decide which to support.
Boris waited a day. And got every front page. Respectfully disagree with you.