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The news that Boris Johnson has pulled out of the race to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party is unequivocally good news from my perspective.
Though undoubtedly charismatic and popular with the lower elements of the population, Johnson has always seemed to me altogether too unserious for political power. The man is a clown, a children’s entertainer, and a slippery and duplicitous one at that. For many years the former Mayor of London has nakedly coveted the position of Prime Minister, and yet when asked if this is the case, his answers have been evasive, humorous, misleading, and sometimes wholly in Latin. This kind of behaviour should be off-putting to anyone hoping for a dignified or honest form of politics.
As to the reasons for his withdrawal, the old Etonian is being his usual un-candid self. It is widely speculated where it isn’t concretely understood that Johnson has been stabbed in the back by the former education secretary Michael Gove, a man with whom he has spent the last three months campaigning for a leave vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
If this is true, or if Mr Gove’s denial that this is true fails to convince enough people, then the Tory Party looks set to splinter into two roughly even camps; the Boris-loyalists, represented by the likes Nadhim Sahawi and Nadine Dorries, versus the people who actually care about the fate of the United Kingdom.
The first group will vote for anyone but Michael Gove; a gesture of petty vengeance against the bespectacled Scot for his treatment of their egg-yolk-splatter-haired idol. The second camp will meanwhile vote in good conscience for the person they believe most able to take the country in the right direction.
As you might be able to tell by my tone, I sympathise strongly and only with the latter camp. I have never liked Boris, and I don’t like Theresa May, now the most likely repository of his supporters’ votes, either. Ms May, like Johnson, is a career politician with no detectable commitment to the preservation of Britain’s native culture. She is the woman behind the notorious ‘Extremism Bill’, ostensibly aimed at curbing the free expression of radical Islamists, but so worded as to threaten the freedom of speech of those who oppose radical Islamists. She is also weakly moderate on matters of immigration, an attitude that has been well demonstrated by her hopelessly ineffective tenure as Home Secretary.
Michael Gove, by relieving contrast, makes for a much brighter prospect. As the Left has nigh on exhausted itself lamenting, Gove is known to harbour unusually healthy views on Islam, Islamism, US foreign policy and the State of Israel. His controversial 2006 book, ‘Celsius 7/7’ confidently and unapologetically attacked the culture of appeasement underlying the British reaction to Islamist violence and even went so far as to link radical Islam to the central tenets of the Islamic religion itself – an incredibly bold move at that time and one for which the author received a lot of vitriolic abuse from his peers.
Britain, I believe, would profit enormously from such a clear-headed attitude at the helm. Furthermore, should Gove eventually be elected Prime Minister, it would mark the first occasion since 9/11 that a politician genuinely sceptical of Islam has held power in a major Western country.
That is nothing to sniff at. It could be the start of something revolutionary.