Archive for the 'Boris' Category

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Betting on who will be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Ladbrokes have a market up who will be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018, I quite like these kind of markets. Boris Johnson’s actions in recent weeks has led many to urge Mrs May to conduct a reshuffle to rid her of her meddlesome Foreign Secretary.  With rumours abounding that Mrs May will conduct a reshuffle after this week’s EU Council Summit, this looks like a tempting market.

I think we can rule out Emily Thornberry being Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January, the chances of either Labour forming the government in the next three months, or her defecting to the Tory party are a lot higher than the 25/1 offered in this market.

People have started mooting David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, so the 100/1 might seem tempting, I’m not tempted as I suspect, given Cameron’s role in the Remain campaign, would cause apoplexy amongst the more hardcore Leavers, even though he has the experience and nous to be an outstanding Foreign Secretary, Mrs May cannot annoy her more passionate Brexiteers, especially since she frittered away David Cameron’s hard won majority.

Of the prominent Leavers, Michael Gove at 12/1 looks good, he would reassure the Leavers whilst offering a more nuanced and diplomatic Foreign Secretary, but he’s being touted as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer. David Davis probably won’t be moved because given the complexities of the Brexit deal, it would be problematic for a new Brexit Secretary to be appointed midway through the process.

Of the  other prominent Leavers, such as Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Liam Fox, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a mixture of inexperience and/or fundamentalism to the Brexit cause should surely rule them out.

Anyone outside of the cabinet should be ruled out as well, as I don’t think Mrs May will want to promote from outside the cabinet for the role and not antagonise most of her ministers within the current cabinet.

I think the value is with Jeremy Hunt at 50/1, he’s dealt well with being the Tory Health Secretary for over five years, so he’s tough in dealing with emotive issues. Although he voted to Remain, he’s recently stimulated the political erogenous zones of the Leavers announcing he had changed his mind on Brexit, Hunt said,

‘Frankly the way the EU Commission has behaved since the referendum has been very disappointing. It’s that arrogance that we’ve seen. Every time we make really generous and open-hearted offers it’s not enough.’

I can understand why people might wish to back the evens on Boris Johnson, as this would be a quite ballsy move on Mrs May’s part, and probably precipitate a leadership challenge, but I suspect the shenanigans of Boris Johnson in recent weeks, which has annoyed many Tories, give Mrs May a bit of protection if she moves Boris from the Foreign Office.

Jeremy Hunt appears to have all the qualities required in a Foreign Secretary in this uncertain post-Brexit world, qualities Boris Johnson lacks in abundance. 

TSE



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BJohnson now clear betting favourite to succeed TMay

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Peston: “No longer absurd that Boris could be PM within weeks”

The former Mayor and current foreign secretary is now clear favourite to be the next CON leader but his odds are nothing like as strong as they were in the weekend after the general election.

One of the drivers of the increased sentiment in Boris has come from a Facebook post by ITV’s Robert Peston. This is what he wrote about the Brexit divisions in the cabinet.

“..Her (TMay’s) perhaps fatal weakness is that she lacks the authority to settle this argument, such that the rest of the EU would have a clear understanding of who actually represents the UK and what we want from Brexit.

In the words of a senior member of the cabinet, it is a scandal that there has never been a cabinet discussion about what kind of access we want to the EU’s market once we leave, what kind of regulatory and supervisory regime should then be in place to ensure a level playing field for EU and UK businesses, and -don’t gasp – how much we might actually pay to the EU as the so-called divorce bill.

In the absence of a settled government position on these most basic of our Brexit demands, it is little short of a miracle that the leaked draft of a possible EU council statement actually holds out the possibility of the EU itself beginning to mull the form of possible trade and transition deals with us.

To be clear, it has been her ordinance that there should be no cabinet discussion of all this. And if the prime minister lacks the power and authority to negotiate Brexit with her own ministers – who after all are supposed to be on the same side as her – what possible chance is there of her reaching any kind of entente with 27 EU governments?

What should trouble her profoundly is that even those who just a week ago were savaging Boris for his disloyalty, or who detest his Brexit dogmatism, now say little could be worse than the status quo – and that as he seems to own a torch and a stick, they’d rather have him.

To be clear, I am not saying Boris Johnson will be PM within weeks. But I am saying that I no longer regard that as an absurd notion.

Time will tell.

Mike Smithson




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For everyone’s sake, Mrs May shouldn’t demote Boris but engineer a job swap between her Foreign Secretary and the editor of the Evening Standard

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Mrs May attempts undo the strangest political appointment since Caligula wanted to make his horse a Consul

When Theresa May’s political obituary is written people might conclude she destroyed her premiership within minutes of becoming Prime Minister when she fired George Osborne as Chancellor and appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

At a stroke she made a needless enemy and compounded that mistake by appointing a blunderbuss as Foreign Secretary when the United Kingdom faces arguably its greatest foreign policy challenge since the second world war.

Where Boris Johnson should be bringing harmony, truth, faith, and hope, he seems to be bringing discord, error, doubt, and despair, as evidenced, for example, by talk of the French President administering world war two era punishment beatings over Brexit or that ‘joke’ about dead bodies in Libya. Michael Gove’s derailing of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 should have given Mrs May pause for thought before she appointed Boris Foreign Secretary.

Last week The Sunday Times reported that Boris Johnson was struggling to live on the £141,505 annual salary of a Foreign Secretary because of his extensive family obligations, he has four children with his wife, and a daughter from an affair, once again the political ambitions of ‘Bonking Boris’ might be curtailed by his inability to keep the snake inside the pet store.

Freed from office and The Commons, George Osborne is earning, inter alia, £650,000 per annum for one day a week, if Boris wants to earn that kind of money, then the solution is obvious for Boris, as being Prime Minister doesn’t pay much more than being Foreign Secretary.

So instead of demoting him later on this month as today’s Sunday Times alludes to, where by demoting him she will create another needless enemy, she should help him realise his earning potential outside of politics, she should point out he has more journalistic experience than George Osborne had when he was appointed editor of The Evening Standard.

With the actions of Boris having so destabilised Mrs May and the Tory conference, you can see why it might be in everyone’s interest that the Conservative party’s colossal Johnson pulls out of professional politics.

If Gordon Brown can bring Peter Mandelson back into government despite their long standing issues, then Mrs May can bring back George Osborne into government. It would show Mrs May is the bigger person. I’m sure George Osborne, a man who loves his country and party, would be willing to serve for the national interest.

I suspect it pains him to see all the hard work of David Cameron and himself to detoxify the Tory party undone by Mrs May, and he’d want to restart the detoxification project, that would also appeal to him.

As the only Tory to win a majority in the last twenty five year, David Cameron can attest that Osborne gives unwavering loyalty and support to a Tory Prime Minister, something Mrs May currently lacks, he’d also bring the vision thing, something which Mrs May’s government lacks.

Over to you Mrs May, hiring George Osborne might be the only way to save your Premiership.

TSE



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TMontgomerie says BoJo would be a massive roll of the dice but better than slow death under TMay

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

To switch or not to switch

In the end BJohnson’s much anticipated conference speech was totally on message and it was hard to find even the most minuscule of difference with the PM. For just about the first time the conference hall was packed and the delegates seemed to be enjoying themselves.

But it wasn’t one of the ex-Mayor’s greatest speeches. He had some good jokes and his close was rather subdued and almost took the audience by surprise. Maybe he had planned to say something different at the end but chose not to.

My sense was that the reaction of TMontgomerie crystallised what many were thinking. Having BoJo as leader and PM would be a huge gamble but the alternative, the wounded PM struggling on, is hardly inspiring. Mrs. May is never going to be able to skirt round the fact that she called an unnecessary election in which her party lost its majority. She knows it and it is there for all to see in every public appearance. Her confidence has been shattered.

Tomorrow it is her turn to make her conference speech and this is going to be a massive challenge. My guess is that it won’t be the reaction in Manchester that matters but how her 317 fellow MPs regard it and her prospects and that could take some time to filter though.

What is very striking is the smallish number of CON MPs who are at the conference – an indicator, perhaps, of their view of the situation.

Mike Smithson




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Nearly two in three voters don’t approve of the way the government is handling the Brexit negotiations

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Several pollsters are tracking how the public is viewing the Brexit negotiations and the latest, from ORB shows a sharp net decline in approval.

Given the importance of this single job to the TMay minority government it is a polling tracker that we need to keep a close eye on.

Things are not helped at the moment by the apparent divide caused by the Foreign Secretary appearing to have a different view from the government.

One factor is that Labour’s is still managing to get away with its carefully contrived ambivalence on the issue. How long that will last is hard to say.

Mike Smithson




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Conference and its aftermath could be BoJo’s best chance of moving against TMay & becoming PM

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Could the end-game for Theresa start next week?

Yesterday I heard directly the story the story that has been doing the rounds  that the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, had already got the backing of 38 fellow CON MPs ready to send letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee calling for confidence vote on TMay’s leadership. If this is correct he needs just a few more if he is to pull the trigger to try to bring GE17 failure down.

Clearly there is no love lost between the one time front runner for the leadership and Mrs May. Yesterday the Times was reporting that the whips were ready for a snap Johnson resignation which could be the precursor to a leadership intervention – a story of itself that supports the rumours.

For there’s little doubt that every week that Mrs. May remains in the job then the chances of Boris becoming PM decline.  Action needs to happen soon but will it?

The Tory mythology that the assassin doesn’t get the crown is only really supported by what happened in November 1990 when it was John Major and not Michael Heseltine  who became CON leader and PM. A decade or so earlier Mrs. Thatcher herself was the assassin when a leadership election was forced on Edward Heath which she won.

In many ways BoJo is helped by the continued polling strength of Corbyn and LAB. He has traditionally been seen as the Tory who could reach voters that other party figures couldn’t as evidenced by his two London Mayoral victories.

If we get to a contest then Johnson’s biggest challenge will be making it to the final two whose names go on the membership ballot.

What is for sure is that the next few weeks could be intriguing.

Mike Smithson




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I now have huge doubts about the political judgment of Philip Hammond

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Hammond’s plan to make Boris PM days after the general election failed because David Davis wanted to be PM.

Tim Shipman of The Sunday Times has published the first excerpts of his new book, which covers the last 15 months or so of UK politics including the general election and the aftermath of Mrs May’s appalling campaign which saw her lose David Cameron’s majority, as we can see from the tweet

One of the most fascinating bits from the first excerpt of the book is the tweets above, Philip Hammond was going to help Boris Johnson become Prime Minister in the early hours of June 9th.

Like many others I have Michael Govesque doubts about Boris Johnson as Tory Leader/Prime Minister, so anyone who tries to make Boris Prime Minister goes down in my estimation and makes me dubious about the political nous of said people. Additionally anyone making that analogy about the First Triumvirate should know it did not end well for Caesar, Pompey, nor Crassus.

The Sunday Times last night also reported

Rebel leaders claimed last night that up to 50 Conservative MPs now want May to resign, more than the 48 who would be needed to force a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

So this does make me think we’re only one bad mistake, or something Brexit related which annoys either the hard core Leavers or those on the opposite viewpoint, from a vote of confidence being triggered in Mrs May, which makes betting on Mrs May’s exit date even more challenging.

TSE

PS – It is definitely worth reading the whole of Tim Shipman’s twitter account from last night for more excerpts from his book.



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Boris Johnson the David Miliband de nos jours?

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

On resigning, it’s BoNo, I can’t leave, with or without you Prime Minister.

We’ve been here before, an unpopular analogue Prime Minister in a digital world who most of their party would like to ditch, a Foreign Secretary writing a newspaper article setting out their vision which many took as the beginning of a leadership challenge but then chickened out of that challenge.

I wonder like David Miliband, Boris Johnson has damaged himself with these shenanigans and ultimately rue not quitting/toppling the Prime Minister. But as many sources and outlets have reported overnight Boris Johnson has pulled back from the brink and cancelled his seemingly inevitable flounce that was scheduled this coming weekend.

If Boris decides to repeat his antics of the past week in the future and doesn’t topple Mrs May then he’s going to lose even more support and lustre, like the Grand Old Duke of York (and Albany) marching his troops up to the top of the hill then marching then back down again, it won’t end well.

What will other cabinet ministers make of this? I suspect they will see Mrs May capitulates under the slightest pressure and provocation, this does not bode well for good governance, as Ken Clarke noted, in normal circumstances Boris Johnson would have been sacked for his recent actions.

Amusingly like David Miliband, Boris Johnson has a younger brother who is also an MP, if history is about to repeat itself, you might consider taking the 100/1 on Jo Johnson as next Tory Leader that several bookies are offering.

TSE