I think Johnson was looking forward to 2020. He could have a dust up with the EU over the Brexit deal. He had a team of ministers around him who owe their jobs to him.
Instead, we find ourselves in a global pandemic. The consensus around the lockdown measures is breaking down. There are now recriminations as to whether our death rate is higher than that of other countries. There are rows about whether we went into lockdown too slowly. There are rows about protective equipment. Rows about the scientists giving advice. There are rows about how Covid 19 got into care homes.
Other countries are now coming out of lockdown. There is no sense as to when we will. The government message is now to stay alert to a virus that we cannot see. A virus that may be passed on by people who are not themselves showing any symptoms and who don’t therefore even realise that they have it.
Johnson’s recorded address to the nation on 7th May, was widely derided.
The rows about Brexit are bubbling away under the surface.
The measures to deal with the pandemic are massively expensive. We assume that once lockdown is over, the economy will bounce straight back, but will it?
We have Wales and Scotland doing different things from England.
Starmer is at last providing some proper opposition.
So a situation that even 4 weeks ago at least looked under control is now looking far more fraught and stressed.
In January 2020, I would have said that Boris is a shoe in to be re-elected in 5 years time without any trouble. Now, I am not so sure. He has had the virus himself. His partner has just had a baby. So I now think that he will want to go off into the sunset and earn serious money sooner rather than later. A large part of Johnson’s motivations seem to be outdoing Cameron. That would suggest that he will want to be PM for another 5 and a bit years. But to be honest, I can no longer see that happening.
Boris had hoped that he would be the chairman of the Board soaking up all the glory. Things have turned out very different. Steve Richards points out that he is not a detail person. This pandemic is a massive strain. Then there will be Brexit and then there will be trying to get the economy going again.
The pandemic has simply magnified all the problems in the country – regional inequality and low pay, death of the high street, big tech companies, big companies in tax havens wanting bail outs, the whole climate change agenda.
The one thing that Boris could have done that he has not done is cancel HS2 which is looking even more pointless now that we have all started to use video conferencing software.
He is not going to hang around to sort any of these issues out. I now think Johnson will sail off into the sunset within 3 years.