Friday 7th of October 2022

the emperor of bullshit has finally deigned to remove himself from the landscape…….

“It doesn’t change our relationship with the United Kingdom,” said Deputy PM Richard Marles of Boris Johnson’s inevitable and belated political demise.

He’s wrong.

Of course Johnson’s ousting will change our relationship, just as Australia changing prime ministers either subtly or unsubtly change our relationships with other nations.

Cue the change in relationship with Donald Trump as we moved from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison, a kindred spirit. Or with France from Scott Morrison to Anthony Albanese – no explanation required.


BY Michael Pascoe


Most obviously, what are the odds of the Conservative Party selecting another leader with such delusions of Churchillian grandeur, as keen to quixotically tilt at Chinese windmills on the other side of the earth when the party is domestically in dire straits and Russia has reignited a focus on Europe seldom seen since the end of World War Two.

Boris Johnson was a keen promoter of the AUKUS oddity – a desperate salesman hoping to flog nuclear submarines (and any other kit) as his ballyhooed post-Brexit trade agreements fail to deliver and the greater folly of Brexit unfolds for a declining power of decreasing international relevance.

In these circumstances, the chances must be slim that the next British PM will be as willing as Johnson (and Australia) to serve American policy in attempting to hobble the rise of China.

Brexit’s toxic legacy

The hydra-headed monster that is Brexit – the Brexit that Boris Johnson delivered – has multiple jaws tearing at Britain’s wellbeing. The next occupant of Downing Street will have years of trying to clean up the mess that Boris leaves. Yes, there is a pattern here in breaking up the old band – Albanese cleaning up Morrison’s mess, Biden attempting to repair the damage of the Trump years, and now whoever takes over from Johnson.

Seeking a return to gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea, parading as part of an Anglophone white man gang of three in their old colonial stamping grand, won’t do Britain any favours as it fumbles for economic ties beyond Europe.

The irrelevant and indiscrete but still dangerous Peter Dutton – the former Defence Minister happy to blab about claimed negotiations for the early effective absorption of the RAN into the US navy – has given the impression the source of Australia’s future nuclear-powered subs was a done deal. All the way with the USA!

Treating the UK as a non-starter wouldn’t win any friends there, a blunder not as bad as deceiving the French government, but still plain dumb if for no other reason than forsaking a negotiating position.

If AUKUS is to be anything more than an awkward acronym, it needs personal drive from the top. Johnson and Morrison were gung-ho, mustard-keen deputy-sheriffs.

The next British PM may well not be and it will be interesting to see where Albanese settles after his initial foray into feather-ruffling China to prove there was nothing of the Manchurian candidate about him.

(Brian Toohey has nailed the discordance of Albanese’s proclamation that China was trying to “build up alliances to undermine what has historically been the Western alliance in places like the Indo-Pacific”.)

Whatever America says?

Those who live in hope of Australia developing a more sophisticated and genuinely independent foreign policy – instead of the “whatever America says plus some” we’ve suffered under the Morrison government – have been buoyed by Penny Wong’s opening performances as Foreign Minister, but disappointed by Albanese banging the China drum in Europe, of all places.

If Britain achieves a decent Prime Minister, there would be one less voice on the sideline prioritising American policy in Asia.

The fundamental relations and cultural understanding between Australia and the UK doesn’t change much with the comings and goings of politicians, Britain’s decision to prefer the Common Market over the Commonwealth back in the day notwithstanding.

But Boris Johnson having to find new lodgings does change Australia’s political and diplomatic relationship with Britain – hopefully for the better.





UK CONmen….


Boris Johnson, You Won’t Be Missed



Boris Johnson handed Britain’s ruling class just about everything they could have wanted. Savor his fall from grace, but just for a moment: his Tory replacement won’t be any better.


His time is finally up. The lies, the lawbreaking, and the arrogance have caught up with him. Praised by pundits for his “teflon-like” ability to dodge accountability, Boris Johnson’s luck has finally run out.

Except, of course, Johnson doesn’t possess some innate “teflon” quality, nor has he been blessed with particular luck (beyond being born to very wealthy parents).

So how did such a nasty, selfish liar get so far? It’s not as if his character was a secret. This is the man who mocked Muslim women wearing the niqab as “bank robbers” and “letterboxes” (sparking a 375 percent rise in Islamophobic incidents), who called gay men “tank-topped bum boys,” and black people “picaninnies” with “watermelon smiles.”

Responsibility for Johnson’s ability to rise as far as he has lies not with some personal quality, but with a political class that allowed him to get away with it. The Conservative MPs that now denounce him — claiming their “honor” demands they resign from his Cabinet — knew what he was like when they campaigned to make him prime minister. What has changed is that now he is a busted flush, an electoral liability for the Conservatives and a threat to their political careers.

The same goes for many of the journalists who now express shock at Johnson’s reluctance to bow to convention and leave Downing Street in a timely fashion. Anyone paying attention knew he was a self-interested megalomanic, but many of these courtiers were happy to turn a blind eye so long as they got their inside scoops, while of course subjecting the last alternative to Johnson — Jeremy Corbyn — to unremitting hostility and smears.

This is no accident. Johnson’s premiership served a purpose for the political establishment, expressed clearly by Sajid Javid in his resignation letter, in which he wrote that Johnson “will forever be credited with seeing off the threat of Corbynism.”


With Johnson on his way out, Conservative MPs will now battle to be his successor. And while Johnson is a particularly unpleasant representative of the ruling class, whoever comes next will barely differ — and from a material perspective, probably not at all.

The Conservative government will still whip up hate and fear, targeting everyone from refugees to trans people to distract from their own failings; they will still wage class war, cutting tax for the superrich while slashing support for the rest. This is in the nature of the Conservative Party, integral to it fulfilling its purpose as the party of the superrich.

But while this is fixed, how the Left responds is up to us. And Britain desperately needs the Left to shape the agenda: we are experiencing the biggest squeeze on living standards on record, with wages falling at the fastest rate in decades and inflation soaring. At the same time, big business is enjoying record profits and the wealth of the top 1 percent is rocketing. If we don’t have answers to this crisis, our enemies will fill the void.

The Conservatives will opt to satisfy the greed of the few rather than meet the needs of the many. That will be true whoever takes over from Johnson. They don’t equivocate on whose side they’re on, and neither should we. That’s why we need to take the lead from the likes of the Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and stand up for our communities, demanding everyone has a decent standard of living — from a real pay raise and energy bills slashed to good housing and an end to food poverty.

It might be the end for Boris Johnson, but our enemy remains standing. The Left’s responsibility is to give voice to the embattled majority, saying enough is enough: put our need before their greed.