The fuel crisis was caused by a shortage of truck drivers, a situation partly due to the Brexit that Johnson campaigned for. And there is a lot of evidence that the prime minister could have taken decisions months in advance that avoided a lot of wider problems.
This is because the buck stops at the UK leader, and must be under tremendous pressure from his own supporters to fix things and keep the public happy.
However, Johnson has proved time and again that the rules of traditional politics do not apply to him.
His party loyalists have gathered in the city of Manchester this week for the first time since Johnson won a landslide election, “Brexit done” and ended COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom. The mood here is of celebration.
Whatever is happening to the citizens there in the real world, the giddy bubble of the Conservative Party convention is not ignoring these myriad woes as inconvenient as they are. The truth is that despite being responsible for many of these issues, neither Johnson nor his party are under any real political pressure or are facing any consequences.
Instead of reflecting on the pandemic, considering ways to mitigate the impact Brexit has had on the economy or worrying about the opposition Labor Party capitalizing on Johnson’s blunders, Conservative Party members unable to celebrate Johnson’s success Having been making for two years.
And it really feels like it’s Johnson’s success they’re enjoying. Typically, such conferences address a range of issues spread across government departments, showcasing the breadth of talent in the ministerial team.
But this convention has really been about one thing: Johnson has sometimes had a vague dream of “flattening” the UK, transforming poor communities into richer regions in terms of quality of life, job opportunities and more. It’s about bringing conformity.
The logic behind this is simple: if Johnson can make life better in areas that don’t have the same opportunities as some cities, especially London, then resentment toward the elite in those run-down areas will subside, Johnson would be hailed a nation-unified hero and he would tighten his grip on Britain’s voters.
There are questions about how the PM plans to fulfill his ambitions. Yes, some members of his own cabinet have been vocal about the government’s idea of raising taxes to pay for things like social care. Others in the party, mostly traditional fiscal conservatives, are uncomfortable with the amount of state intervention and funding Johnson seems to be doing fine during the pandemic.
However, when these complaints are weighed against the fact that Johnson has given the Conservative Party the largest majority since the 1990s, it turns out that power at any cost is better than losing with respect.
A government minister told Granthshala Monday night that “the fuel problem, the food shortage, the tax debate, all these things are definitely happening. But it’s ultimately more fun to ride their wave of success.”
Granthshala asked several government officials, including cabinet ministers, why the country’s real problems were not being discussed. All his answers pointed to the fact that – as they see it – if elections were held tomorrow, Johnson would win comfortably.
A government official said, “Party, members, we are all united around a personality who keeps winning on his own terms. It is absolutely addictive to be a part of it.”
The reasons for Johnson’s success are likely to be poor opposition on several fronts.
Within his own party, he is an unrivaled king for the reasons mentioned above. It is very rare for any party leader to face as little public discontent as Johnson. The ministers who were sacked in the recent reshuffle are also praising their leader.
Outside the gated conference in Manchester, the official opposition Labor Party has also failed to make any real capital from the recent crises in the country.
Even at their own party convention last week, Labor members were increasingly focused on internal party politics, which was forced to call on the military to attack an incumbent government.
The truth is that there is hardly any benefit in attacking the Prime Minister anyway.
Outside the gates in Manchester, there are even fewer anti-Conservative protesters – and far less vocal – than at other conventions in recent years, when British politics was at a standstill by Brexit.
On Monday night the European Union Commission held a reception at the convention centre. Officials who spoke to Granthshala commented – with some surprise – how little Brexit was being discussed. “They only care about this level of thing,” said one. “Whether it’s good or bad, they all seem to be on the same page and behind Boris.”
Earlier on Monday, Johnson’s Bulldog-ish Brexit negotiator David Frost called for a unilateral suspension of the Northern Ireland Protocol in a matter of weeks.
The protocol, a major point of contention during Brexit negotiations, was negotiated and signed by Johnson with the EU; It aims to eliminate the need for border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Suspending it can have widespread and harmful consequences.
Somewhat surprisingly, Frost was seen interacting with European officials like old friends at the same EU Commission reception.
Before the convention began, some Conservative lawmakers told Granthshala that the party needed to answer a question: whether the man who used his personality-led brand of politics to get through Brexit, after years of stalemate , is the right person to navigate the UK through years of turmoil and avoidable crises.
If visiting Manchester the past few days, the answer is a clear yes.
Whatever is going on in the real world, Johnson has maintained a lead big enough to win the election. He has a parliamentary majority which means he can get virtually any policy through the House of Commons. In Britain, there is no political party or opposition group that looks even close to loosening its grip on British politics anytime soon.
The prime minister’s sister once said that when he was a young man, Johnson wanted to be the “world king”. He may not be who he is, but he is currently the de facto king of British politics. And he has the means to hold on tightly to that power for as long as he chooses.
Credit : www.cnn.com