Boris Johnson is very unpopular in Scotland. A Times poll out this morning puts Johnson’s handling of the CoVid crisis amongst Scots at -61%. There was talk when he became PM that he would end the union – sure enough, the SNP are riding higher than ever in the polls and Scotland voting to leave the Union and becoming an independent country now regularly wins out when the subject is polled.
Yes, Brexit is obviously a factor. But Brexit has been there, waiting, for four years and it is only since Johnson became prime minister that we’ve seen this shift in polling toward independence. There is a temptation to ask why Boris is so unpopular in Scotland but really, the better question is why Johnson is as popular as he is in England; only the English seem to fall for BJ’s charms. Something about the ruffled hair, I’m a cheeky public school boy so don’t mind me as I make a mess of things shtick really only works here and nowhere else.
I have written before about how I think, contrary to popular pundit opinion, that Boris Johnson’s time in Number 10 will be brief. I think no deal (or what amounts to it) Brexit followed by a shocking set of results for the Tories in the local elections next Spring, particular given the Conservatives are long, long overdue to get spanked at local level anyhow, might do for Johnson. However, there is one other thing waiting in the wings for BJ on top of all that. The SNP look likely to get a majority in the Holyrood elections in 2021. That means another referendum on independence, seven years after the last one, appears very likely to happen. The Tories will have to ask themselves at that point which do they like more? Boris or the Union?
Having Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of the UK when another Scotland independence referendum happens would be putting the Union at terrible risk. Will the Tories see that in order to save the Union, Boris will have to go? The recent record on this shouldn’t give one a lot of hope.
When faced with a choice between having to pause Brexit and screwing over Northern Ireland, Boris made a choice for the latter. The parliamentary Conservative Party went along with this. Some are complaining now that they didn’t read the fine print, but what they are bleating about is the stuff about payments to the EU and other such matters – not what happens to Northern Ireland. No one in the Conservative parliamentary party is complaining about the arrangement with Northern Ireland. This suggests that at the very least, the Union has been deprioritised within the Conservative Party.
Losing Scotland is probably a different matter, however, which is why I think they will ditch Boris in the end. When faced with a PM who is tarnished irrevocably by the handling of CoVid and no deal Brexit anyhow, getting rid of a leader who imperils the Union may seem like the only real choice available. Maybe. If I had to bet one way or another, I think they’ll get rid of Johnson. But I’m also glad I don’t have to make that punt. Betting against Boris Johnson has yet to pay out, sadly. Perhaps the hold he has over Tories is so strong, they will march with him into oblivion – and the end of the UK.
I have a book out now called “Politics is Murder”. It follows the tale of a woman named Charlotte working at a failing think tank who has got ahead in her career in a novel way – she is a serial killer. One day, the police turn up at her door and tell her she is a suspect in a murder – only thing is, it is one she had nothing to do with. There is also a plot against the Foreign Secretary and some gangsters thrown into the mix while Charlotte tries to find out who is trying to frame her for a murder she didn’t commit.
Also: there is a subplot around the government trying to built a stupid bridge, which now seems a charming echo of a more innocent time!