Friday, August 19, 2022

Boris Johnson: ‘In politics no one is remotely indispensable’

Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson resigned as British Prime Minister as he dramatically lost the support of majority of his ministers and party’s lawmakers on the 8th July, 2022.Bowing to the pressure of more number of ministers quitting their ministries; lawmakers and the British public questioning his misgovernance kept mounting pressure shouting “Boris should go”, an isolated and powerless Boris Johnson having no other option except quitting from the job. In his resignation speech he said that “I know that many people are relieved … and I want you to know how said I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the break.”
Boris Johnson a few months short of completing three years, won the general elections with a huge number of seats that gave him incredible mandate at the 2019 elections since 1979, but had to quit. His party abandoned him and those who voted for him were fed up as he was couched with bundles of lies and in the process broke the promises, he made especially during coronavirus he outrightly violated the mandatory provisions which should have been stringently followed brought an end to his leadership. Initially, the British public and the electorates went all out for Boris Johnson who they thought was a charismatic leader and a visionary who would take Britain to greater heights, but their hopes and dreams were shattered and thus came to a naught.
Prior to leaving his office in his resignation speech, Boris Johnson which resonated his political experience said that “The reason I have fought so hard for the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019. It is painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself but, as we’ve seen at Westminster the herd is powerful, and when the herd moves, it moves,” Adding further, in politics, he said that no one is “remotely indispensable” which convers many layers and exposes many meanings. They of course need to be nuanced and de-coded.
In continuation he said that “No one is remotely indispensable and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.” The observation made by Boris Johnson is vital and of valid that the “herd instinct of Westminster” for being forced out, saying he tried to persuade colleagues against changing governments … when the economic scene is difficult in the UK and internationally.” At the same time the internal revolt within his party MPs and cabinet colleagues carried out against Boris Johnson concerns his integrity and honesty that led many of his party’s MPs to resign and abandon. Blatant lies and gross denials had angered his colleagues and the British public.
Nevertheless, a number of lessons can be learnt. Apparently, parallels can also be drawn to the current Indian political terrain when we carefully analyze Boris Johnson’s sudden exit from the British political scene. Interestingly his resignation speech adds more intriguing observation and numerous comparisons to the current Indian political scenario. We, in India follow the Westminster system which is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the United Kingdom. Over and above, usage of ‘herd instinct’ is a striking analogy that goes closer to what we have observed in Maharashtra how Uddhav Thackery was deposed by his cabinet ministers and party MLA who ditched him and moved towards Eknath Shinde who led the revolt by aligning with BJP.
As a result, he became the chief minister with the help of BJP and thus formed the government. We also have other examples classic examples that happened in the recent past in some other states as well. Resort, defection, poaching and toppling in Indian politics have become a new normal portraying ‘herd instinct’. Boris Johnson said, “Herd is powerful, when the herd moves, it moves” which means it is so forceful and so nobody can stop. ‘Herd mentality’ is so dynamic and persuasive that once the herd decides who they should follow they just keep moving. Recently in the Maharashtra episode the defectors of the faction belonging to Eknath Shinde were taken to different locations such as Gujarat, Assam and Goa.
A close semblance to what happened to Boris Johnson with some difference. What happened to the Boris Johnson was indeed a direct rebellion that has been simmering for some time. The process and the outcome were clear, straight and as expected. While on the other in India parliamentary works the way. There are many other factors involved in the defection, poaching, money, positions and other bargains. Therefore, Boris Johnson’s resignation speech is vital and important. More specifically his utterance is the striking point that “In politics no one is remotely indispensable”. It thus becomes a reminder to all shades of politicians be it totalitarian or autocrat or democrat no one is indispensable meaning everyone is dispensable however powerful. The timings and modus operandi is will be sudden and no one knows when.
In such contexts specificities, predicting definitive periodization such 2024, 2034, 2044 or 2054 for the existence of political parties and continuance of leaders in power shall never be taken for granted because history offers us ample lessons. Recently the episode of Boris Johnson who won in thumping majority must have thought of completing his term as PM of Great Britain and may have planned for one more or many more, but collapsed all of a sudden without completing one full term. Everyone vies in politics to become leaders because it is the best job where once you become the leader everything follows without asking but in the process as Edward Abbey points out “Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best” – watch out.
Dr. John Mohan Razu

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