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Opinion: Boris Johnson like Top Gun's Maverick but people dislike him for any number of reasons

PEOPLE who dislike Boris Johnson do so for any number of reasons and not all of them are political.

But amid the criticism, there is a common refrain: namely that he has a sense of entitlement that has convinced him he can do what he likes, regardless of what others may say. Even he admitted this week he had "picked up a few enemies along the way".

Political editor Paul Francis gives his take on the week in politics
Political editor Paul Francis gives his take on the week in politics

For any other politician, a leadership contest in which some 40% of his MPs backed a vote of no confidence might have led to a pledge to listen more carefully and act with more humility.

That the vote had been triggered by revelations of social gatherings at Downing Street that breached the Covid-19 rules, even more so.

For Boris, however, it led to an uncompromising declaration that he intended to ‘bash through’ his political agenda come what may and nothing was going to stop him.

Some might like the 'up and at them’ approach - conviction politicians who speak their minds often enjoy greater support than those who, fearful of causing offence, develop a decision-making inertia.

Boris hasn’t got time for that. He develops policy top-down: a classic example being his plan for an airport in the Thames estuary, a plan that just about alienated every single Conservative in Kent.

Awkward issues like the fact he had no jurisdiction were simply ignored. And when he did eventually - but grudgingly - say he had no intention of taking it any further, plenty of people suspected that given half a chance, he’d resurrect the project.

Rather like the mercurial pilot Maverick in Top Gun, he operates under his own rules.

AMONG the 148 rebels were a sprinkling of Kent MPs who might ordinarily not be cast as ‘the usual suspects’ - the two most eye-catching being the Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark and Ashford MP Damian Green.

Both said they had taken the decision to vote against the PM because of what the Grey report uncovered. Mr Clark said: “The Metropolitan Police found the Prime Minister broke the rules on one occasion where a surprise birthday party was organised for him.

"I have always said that it is a big step to remove a Prime Minister and I do not believe that it would be proportionate to do so for this breach alone.

"However, I was dismayed by the findings of the Sue Gray report of a wider culture in Downing Street and in particular shocked by the disrespect shown to staff by some people working there.”

This will probably not trouble the PM too much. Ironically, he may find that it is the MPs who voted for him that will now feel they can exercise some leverage having backed him to continue in the job.

Boris Johnson won a no confidence vote Picture: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson won a no confidence vote Picture: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

WHILE Boris Johnson still holds the keys to Downing Street, there are plenty of people for whom buying their own home remains a remote prospect.

So, can a policy shake up which would allow those on welfare benefits to use some of the money to place a deposit to help them buy their home if they are a housing association tenant work?

The government has floated the idea but supporting detail is rather thin.

But Boris Johnson says the plan represents an extension of the ‘right to buy’ policy that was ushered in by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

What he omitted to say was that a similar scheme initiated by David Cameron was a flop. Introduced in 2015, pilots of the scheme saw just 55 successful completions and hundreds in limbo.

Meanwhile, figures point to a diminishing number of people using the ‘right to buy’ legislation. In Kent, just 152 properties were bought in 2019 - the most recent figures available - down by 17 on the previous year and the lowest figure since 2013/14.

In Medway, just 11 sales were completed. In Thanet, there were just five buying council homes; while the highest number was in Canterbury, with 35.

EVER heard of terminological inexactitudes? The phrase was invoked by cleverclogs MP Lord Rees-Mogg this week when he had a go at those who were plotting to get the UK back in the EU.
That should give you a clue - the phrase was coined by Winston Churchill. It is used as a euphemism or circumlocution meaning a lie, an untruth, or a substantially correct but technically inaccurate statement.

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