“Determination, extreme talent, a crazy drive, insane work ethic, and an amazingly positive attitude. I love working with you. You rock! You’re my role model!”
“I love you for being yourself and being amazing love youu!!
Those two quotes actually come from Billie Eilish’s Instagram feed, but they wouldn’t be out of place in the Murdoch papers’ coverage of Boris Johnson writes Andy Stowe. The Sun broke the exclusive story that his favourite wine is the same £180 variety loved by Meghan Markle.
The Daily Telegraph , which used to be a serious Tory paper, paid one of his friends to write: “I have always been proud to call this extravagantly gifted man my friend” in a hard- hitting investigative piece of journalism headlined “My friend Boris Johnson has his faults, but he is the most talented person of his generation”. The right-wing press gushes about Johnson in a way the hereditary dictator of a former Soviet republic would find tastelessly sycophantic.
The similarities between the singer of “I wish you were gay” and the homophobic racist go deeper than what their fans have to say about them.
Both have lucrative sponsorship deals. Billie Eilish lends her credibility as a youth icon to Calvin Klein underwear. Johnson has a column in the Daily Telegraph in which he pushes ideas its billionaire tax exile owners favour.
At Glastonbury recently, Billie Eilish’s set made a massive audience euphorically happy while a similar number of people enthusiastically sang along to Stormzy’s chorus “fuck Boris”.
And like the most successful pop star of 2019, Johnson too understands the importance of having a multi-platform media presence.
Johnson’s inevitable election as Tory leader marks the transformation of the Conservatives into a Trumpesque, hard right populist party. The recent Channel Four programme Battle For The Tory Party, which starts with a warning to viewers that it contains Islamophobic content, conducted a poll which revealed that 56% of the party’s members consider Islam a threat to the British way of life – whatever that is.
What this means is that more than half of the people eligible to elect the next prime minister are racist bigots. And for anyone who doubts that there is a significant media bias against the Corbyn leadership, it’s instructive to compare the utter silence on this finding to the frantic dredging of social media accounts to find something that a Labour member said three years ago that could be considered antisemitic if you squinted at it on a dark night.
The same programme also revealed that alarming numbers of them think climate change isn’t that bad really and capital punishment should be brought back.
Johnson servus est
Johnson’s foreign policy agenda is utter subordination to Trump. Speaking about the resignation of Kim Darroch, British ambassador to Washington, Tory minister Alan Duncan said:
“Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary, and he hopes to be the future prime minister, has basically thrown our top diplomat under the bus”.
It’s virtually unprecedented for a state with any degree of self-respect to allow the unhinged leader of a foreign power to determine civil service appointments. But by his lack of support for Darroch, Johnson is signalling that he will be the loyal Greek slave tutoring the children of his Roman masters. He’ll get some privileges in return, but he’s still someone else’s property.
In his attempt to distance himself from May and Cameron, Johnson is dropping hints that he “wants to increase the national living wage and give more money to public sector workers”, though not before saying explicitly that he will offer tax breaks to more affluent Tory voters.
There are all sorts of ways he could do this. Given the intellectual pedigree of the people around him such as Liz Truss who wants “a nation of Airbnb-ing, Deliveroo-eating, Uber-riding freedom fighters” we can make a reasonable guess what his government will do.
The core ideas of the hard Brexiteers who’ve united around Johnson and the Conservative Party membership want an economy with low taxes for the wealthy, the scrapping of environmental regulations, free access for cheap, unsafe American foodstuffs, the deeper erosion of workers’ rights and a political climate in which racism, homophobia and every reactionary prejudice can be freely expressed. Salvini, Bolsanaro and Trump are doing it. Johnson is about to start doing it.
Labour’s job is to stop this from happening and the effectiveness of the party’s fight to stop Brexit is at the heart of it. If Labour isn’t universally seen as the anti-Brexit party Johnson will push through the policies of the hard Brexiteer right and it will be workers and migrants who will be hardest hit.