Daily Telegraph: Bullish and Boastful Boriss Resignation Speech Entirely His Brand

Daily Telegraph: Bullish and Boastful Boriss Resignation Speech Entirely His Brand

Bullish and boastful, Boris's resignation speech was entirely 'on brand'

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No tears, not even a quivering lip. No grave-faced spouse in the background. No concession to an opponent.

Instead, we had bullish Boris. He told us of his triumphs – how the country voted for his party; how he got Brexit done; how he led us through the pandemic; how our vaccine roll-out and post-Covid opening were more rapid than those elsewhere; how we had stood with Ukraine; how we were building infrastructure. Details might be a little light. One or two facts might not have fully aligned with les actualités. But he wanted to tell us how much he’d done.

He also sought to explain and justify the chaos of the past few days. He said he’d fought to stay to implement the promises he’d made to those that voted for him in 2019. He said that the Westminster “herd instinct is powerful”, perhaps hinting that he’d hoped that if he had survived even a short time, the herd might have turned its collective interest to other things.


It was bullish. It was unapologetic. It was a little boastful. It was quite hubristic. It was not altogether decorous (partly because of continuous loud heckling). It was Boris, through and through.

He joins the club, along with Heath, Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher, of prime ministers brought down as inflation rapidly rose and the sense they were in control of events slipped away.

Ultimately Boris was finished because, with his lack of vision for his government, his lack of any answer to the great question of the day (inflation) and his consequent aimless drifting from one petty scandal to the next, his MPs no longer felt they would be proud to serve under him and lose. They feared, instead, that they would achieve nothing and be left feeling ashamed to have stuck with him too long. No Prime Minister can survive such sentiments for long.

He had seemed as oblivious to all this in recent weeks as he was in his resignation speech. It was astonishing that, after 148 of his MPs voted no confidence in him, he offered no new vision, no attempt to address inflation, and didn’t even hold a major Cabinet reshuffle. It was like he just didn’t care.


How will he rank amongst the Prime Ministers of the past 50 years or so? I would say he has been less effective than Thatcher, Blair, Cameron or Wilson, but more effective than May, Major, Callaghan, Brown or Heath. He was far and away the most left-wing Conservative Prime Minister of modern times. He also, like May and Cameron before him, sought to make a virtue of not being ideological but instead focusing on “what works”.

Conservatives will remember him as a hero for defeating Corbyn, getting Brexit over the line and bringing the party back from 9 per cent in a national election in mid-2019 to getting a huge majority within just a few months.

In the end, though, he squandered that majority, as perhaps he will be seen to have squandered many of his talents and opportunities in life, achieving so much less than seemed possible. A colourful and entertaining figure, but I suspect we’ll not miss him much


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