To paraphrase Shakespeare nothing in Boris Johnson’s political life could have become him like the leaving it. Except there was no acknowledgement of shortcomings and failure just recrimination and anger. To continue the Shakespearian theme it is certainly a personal tragedy, but one of his own making. More importantly it has been a tragedy for our country, again one of his making.
It leaves his successor as Conservative leader with a huge in tray. Their first challenge must be to rebuild trust in politics after the Patterson saga, Party gate, and the Pincher scandal, Boris Johnson’s mishandling of them brought his downfall. It’s a tougher challenge for would be leaders who knew about his personal failings when he was elected leader and went along with it for far too long.
What also matters is tackling the cost of living crisis which partly reflects global economic uncertainty but is mainly the result of 12 years of low economic growth and now rising prices and inflation. Conservative members who have a vote in the selection may look for a promise to lower taxes but that means either cuts to public spending or increased borrowing or both. That will merely add to the strains on the coalition which saw the Conservatives triumph in 2019 but which recent by elections suggest is fracturing.
The Prime Minister is due to change and that change can’t come fast enough. The new leader will say they are that change but will soon come under pressure for a General Election. That after all is when real change happens.