Boris Johnson is finding out the hard way that when your credibility is shot and you don’t have any specific policies you’re not long for the political world.

In 2019 he went into the election basing the campaign on his personality rather than on any policies or philosophy. There were empty phrases such as “levelling-up” which didn’t seem to have any meat on the bones and vague commitments to get Brexit done.

There were no promises along the lines of traditional Tory policies such a cutting taxes. Instead, he told people to vote for him because he could deliver a better future regardless of how lacking in detail that future plan was.

Now his credibility is in pieces and because his party shackled themselves to his personality in 2019, it is going the same way. People will never see him in the same light again regardless of their views on “Partygate”.

His own party are unhappy with the way he’s handled the situation and his endless capacity to do the wrong thing hasn’t finished.

First, he tried to get Owen Paterson off the hook as a favour to a mate.

Then he had partygate.

Despite trying to appear humble he’s has constantly fallen into holes dug by his own lack of self-awareness.

The latest instalment is rewriting the code that governs ministers’ behaviour in order to make is easier for them to misbehave without suffering the consequences. And this at a time when his own behaviour is under investigation.

I don’t know whether he’s receiving any advice or taking any notice of it but that reveals a tin ear on an Olympic scale.

All this contrasts with the behaviour of Keir Starmer. As I’ve said before in this column, his promise to resign if he is fined by the police speaks volumes for his integrity.

Of course, I sincerely hope that no action is taken by the police with regard to him but it would be an insult to public life in this country if he was to resign while the prime minister remained in place

With the prime minister’s credibility severely undermined he’s now looking around for new policies.

He’s picked a fight with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol which he himself signed and supported.

He’s promised to cut the red tape of EU regulations without actually saying which ones he wants to cut. Are they the ones that protect workers and the environment? Or food standards or consumer rights?

He never says, and all the while being oblivious to the fact the Brexit itself has been the biggest generator of red tape seen in generations.

Finally, he wants to return to allowing imperial weights and measures to be used as if they had been banned in the first place (they hadn’t).


I was never taught imperial measures in school and although I use both now, I’ve no desire to revert back to the days of imperial only. What next? A return to the pre-decimal currency that most people under 60 have no memory of? If he comes up with that next you can blame me for suggesting it!

He is now a liability to the Conservative Party but there is still work to be done by Labour to win an election, something that hasn’t been done since 2005.

Going backwards is not an option.

We lost in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and not because of some kind of plot by our own party members. We lost because we didn’t have enough appeal to the electorate.

People simply didn’t vote for us in sufficient numbers.

Sure, 2017 was a pleasant surprise given where we started, but we still lost and 2019 was worse.

Trying to replicate the past with strategies that lost elections won’t work.

Nor is it enough to simply watch the Conservatives dig themselves into a hole.

Labour needs to produce a radical set of policies that will appeal to and help people who are under huge pressure.

Getting that right will be a challenge. Having a strong and competent leadership of all the talents is another and in my view, that’s largely been achieved.

Creating a set of manifesto promises based on the ability and honesty of that team is the next, and vital step on the target to get back to government that’s been missed for seventeen years.

In the meantime the current prime minister limps on, but I can’t believe that most people, including most of his own MPs now think that he can lead a credible and decisive government, and that is of no use to a country crying out for help with the cost of living crisis.

For the good of the country and for the good of his own party he must take in his words “full responsibility” for what has happened and in the world of politics that means only one thing.


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