Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister comes to an end next week, giving us all a chance to consider what his legacy will be. More than his predecessors, Johnson owed his premiership to his reputed ability to persuade audiences other Conservatives couldn’t, through his charisma, unpredictability and energetic campaigning.
A YouGov poll of party members completed on August 2 shows Rishi Sunak to be trailing Liz Truss 31% to 69% in the Conservative leadership contest. A similar poll completed on July 21 had him on 38% to her 62%. She appears to be winning the contest hands down.
As Boris Johnson barricades himself in Number 10, apparently unwilling or unable to listen to the advice of close party colleagues who are calling on him to resign, how can we understand this bizarre melodrama?
As I watched Johnson’s appearance in front of the House of Commons Liaison Committee on the afternoon before his showdown with key members of his cabinet, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a deeper malady at play. It was as if an existential disconnect had settled across the comfortingly boring committee room.