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His Rise & Fall

Anybody could have been crushed under the mountain of slander; however, it had no impact on him. Numerous wrong decisions and careless comments became his own brand. Among the disciplined leaders, the man, with a lock of unruly golden hair and a talkative nature, is exceptional in a true sense. He had twice served as the Mayor of London, popularly known as the stronghold of the Labour Party. He, almost single-handedly, had mobilised millions of votes in favour of Brexit. He got an opportunity to serve as the Prime Minister of Britain in 2019, without any voting. Four months later, he won the Parliamentary Elections by a huge margin, making it clear that his Conservative Party did not make a mistake in choosing him as its leader. At the beginning of 2020, it seemed that a new era would begin in Britain… the Era of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (b. June 19, 1964).

The COVID-19 Pandemic rocked the world in early 2020. Global leaders were in a dilemma whether to impose a strict lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, or to allow their countrymen to enjoy a normal life in an attempt to keep the economy strong. In a rare first, Boris Johnson looked shaky in this trying time. During the first and second wave of the Pandemic (in 2020-21), Britain recorded the highest number of deaths among the Developed Nations. As the number of COVID-19 patients was gradually increasing in the hospitals, the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain was almost in shambles. Still, the Britons did not lose faith in their Prime Minister.

The scenario changed in December 2021. People came to know that when the entire nation was in a state of lockdown, Prime Minister Johnson organised a number of wine parties at his official residence. Thereafter, a series of allegations related to corruption against his Government surfaced. Johnson had no other option, but to tender his resignation.

Those, who have known Johnson for a long time, were not particularly surprised by the fall of the Prime Minister. One of them is Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, who is the former superior of Johnson and former editor of The Daily Telegraph. Once, Sir Max had said that Boris had a tendency to break the rules in his professional life as a journalist. Nicholas Allen, who teaches Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London, has blamed Johnson for his own downfall, stressing: “The flaws in Boris Johnson’s character have become much harder to ignore. Johnson’s tendency to break rules, to dissemble, to lie just caught up with him, and it became simply impossible for any self-respecting politician to defend him.” On the 17-year-old Johnson, his school teacher Martin Hammond wrote that Boris, from his early days, had a tendency to believe rules were for other pupils. “Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility. I think he honestly believes it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else,” he added.

Johnson, the second child of Stanley Johnson and Charlotte Fawcett, was born in New York. His parents had moved to England when he was just five. As his father was a staff of the European Commission (EC), Johnson spent some years in Brussels, where he learnt French. As Johnson was an excellent student, he had easily got a scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious private schools in Britain. Again, Johnson was an excellent student, and he was awarded a King’s Scholarship to study at Eton College, a boarding school near Windsor in Berkshire. Later, he won a scholarship to study Literae Humaniores at Balliol College, Oxford, a four-year course in the study of the Classics, Ancient Literature and Classical Philosophy. After completing his studies there, he joined The Times daily as an intern journalist. He was reportedly sacked from there for using a false quote. Later, Johnson joined The Daily Telegraph. He reportedly got involved in corruption in The Daily Telegraph, too. However, the Telegraph authorities did not terminate his services. He had also served as an Editor of The Spectator, a sister publication to The Daily Telegraph.

Journalist Johnson joined politics in 2007, as David Cameron, the then Conservative leader, chose Johnson to run for position of the Mayor of London. To everyone’s surprise, he defeated Kenneth Robert Livingstone, the flamboyant leader of the Labour Party. He won the Mayoral Election again four years later. During his eight-year tenure as Mayor, he introduced rental bicycles (known as Boris Bikes) for Londoners. Johnson, brandishing a Union flag in either hand, was seen dangling helplessly from a zip wire 20ft above the ground during 2012 London Olympics. As the Mayor yelled “Get me a rope. Get me a ladder!“, a crowd of onlookers was seen roaring with laughter.

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Brexit was the turning point of Johnson’s political career. He was instrumental in convincing the majority of his countrymen to leave the European Union (EU). There was little doubt that Johnson would emerge as party leader once the Brexit deal was sealed. As expected, he became the Prime Minister in 2019. However, he failed to deliver as the PM. Ignoring the COVID rules, he organised parties at his official residence. He hosted some of those parties after the demise of Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip on April 9, 2021. Johnson remained silent even after knowing that one of his party colleagues (Member of Parliament Christopher Pincher) had sexually abused two persons. This silence was the final nail in his political coffin.

Some of his followers believe that Johnson is still the trump card of the Conservative Party to hold off Labour. His charisma, excellent oratory skill and out-of-the-box thinking have always saved him from an inevitable downfall. They also believe that Johnson will make a strong comeback in the near future.

However, the political analysts think otherwise.

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