BOris Johnson is a gifted political escape scientist, but evading accountability is a different skill from public administration, the lack of which even Tory loyalists can hardly ignore. The seriousness of what was hinted at by Sue Gray’s account of the Downing Street shutdown parties weighs heavily on many Conservative MPs after a few days of reflection – and correspondence with voters. The Living Suits announcement, cynically timed to change the Partygate news agenda, only succeeded for a brief period. The report sparked much public outrage and left many questions unanswered, not least the matter of the meetings in the Downing Street apartment, about which Mrs. Gray’s report drew an inexplicable veil of secrecy.

Aside from the moral issues that accompany the prime minister’s indifference to the laws of his government, Gray’s report revealed the tolerance of chaos at the headquarters of a supposedly groundbreaking global democracy. After the initial shock comes the slow combustion of embarrassment and the realization that in very dangerous times Britain is not seriously governed.

This fear will not be quelled by crafting a policy solely as a distraction. There could be no other purpose for suggesting the restoration of the imperial units’ trade. The few people who would be eager to reclaim the right to exclude metric measurements from merchandise displays would far outnumber the people, many conservatives included, who could smell the decay of such scams. Reports regarding the lifting of the ban on the planned expansion of grammar schools belong to a similar category, although they seem more significant. This is the zombie politics that teeters on the Conservative Party as a solution to problems of social mobility, despite ample evidence that selective education has the opposite effect. If Johnson believes his promotion agenda will be revived by revitalizing discredited school policies, he will be disappointed.

And the Queen declared in her speech that the same unoriginal impetus is being given to the proposed bonfire of EU regulations – a function of the Brexit Freedom Act. Sunset clauses are scattered retroactively in current European law, such that they expire regardless of whether or not a suitable alternative has been designed. It is a completely irresponsible idea, conceived in the madness of European concepts, where every British economic problem has its roots in the Brussels directives. In effect, this means legislating intentional insecurity as if the goal were to deter investment.

Such maneuvers are made to signal ideological purity, so as to please those members of the Conservative Party who can decide Johnson’s fate. But the more difficult it was for the prime minister to scrape the bottom of the barrel of politics, the more desperate he seemed. The percentage of loyalty that he can buy empty becomes less; Voters’ patience is waning.

Johnson’s career so far has been underpinned by a rare ability to withstand scandal. This gift may not have left him yet, but the task of political survival now consumes all the energy that should be spent on leading the country. This is the tough election facing Conservative MPs. Mr. Johnson could be their leader, or they could have a functioning government; Not both.

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