Should I go or should I stay?

(This is an English translation of a world affairs column for the austrian weekly Falter.)

Should I stay or should I go?  


Boris Johnson sighs and stares at the golden wallpaper in his Downing Street apartment: "All these decisions!" mumbles the British Prime Minister. Last time he could not make up his mind, in February 2016, the then journalist had written two columns for the “Daily Telegraph” weighing up his options: one for and one against Brexit. In the end he sent the one for exiting the EU. The rest is history.
Exactly five years later, Boris Johnson hesitates again: Should he stay? Or should he go? Many in the Tory party are asking for his head for having prescribed the country Covid lockdowns that he himself did not comply with. His shirt sleeves rolled up, he starts typing. Two versions. One will win.

Should I stay?

I am the Houdini of politics. Any normal prime minister would be doomed when a police investigation for 'blatant breaches' of Covid restrictions at government headquarters is started against him. Paradoxically, the Metropolitan Police may have given me a few weeks of wiggle room. When they prove that I actually knew all about these parties, it might get tight for me. But I'll take care of that later.


Now “Operation Fightback” is running at full speed. I joined Finance Minister Rishi Sunak in explaining in “The Sunday Times” how we are getting Britain through this difficult economic year. We're Thatcherists, so buckle up.

For the second anniversary of Brexit we are presenting plans to roll out deregulation measures. Otherwise Brexit, which has so far only caused trouble with the EU and in Northern Ireland, would have been completely pointless.

On Wednesday I will present a white paper for the poor north - we want to level up. This has the nice side effect of perhaps keeping the former Labor MPs who defected to me in 2019 after all.

I'm also visiting Kiev this week. The UK trains Ukrainian soldiers there. If necessary, I will double our troops in the Baltic republics and the Ukraine. In Kiev people are already singing “God save the Queen!” It's not the same as it was in Winston Churchill's day, true. But the Russians need to know that we Brits are not such cowards like the Germans – Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement is out of the question.

If we then also block the golden visas for other Putin oligarchs, it would be a shame for the party and the flow of donations coming from this direction. But the truth is, I already have a golden wallpaper.

Speaking of Churchill. Resigning is for cowards. Winston would have never done this at the peak of his manhood.


Or should I go?  

How quickly people forget! Didn't I bring the Tories a huge majority of 80 seats and the British the best vaccination campaign in the world? 72% have been vaccinated twice, just over half are boosted. From now on, we English people can do without masks and vaccination certificates. That around 300 people are still dying of Covid every day – pity. That we have one of the highest death rates in Europe with 177,000 Covid victims - collateral damage. People always dwell on these details! 

Sometimes I wish I could just quit this really tedious job. It is also badly paid! Dealing with crazy backbenchers for £161,401 a year and having to endure this boring Labor chief Keir Starmer lashing out at me every Wednesday. Exhausting.  

My column in the Daily Telegraph alone made me £250,000 a year. Talking is so much more lucrative than ruling. £100,000 a night as a guest speaker - not bad. That also would pay child 7 or 8 all these years in Eton. Not sure if there are 7 or 8 Boris babies now... I don't know how many women claim they have one from me. Anyway, back to subject: Talking nonsense to match my hairstyle, giggling mischievously, throwing in ancient Greek… people love it.  

In parliament and in the party, on the other hand, they hate me. Not to mention the people on the street. I'm not allowed to go to Scotland anymore, a shame. For the Scots.  Worst of all is the atmosphere in Downing Street itself. In order to survive politically, I have to fire my wife's confidants. Carrie’s besties as pawns to be sacrificed? Horror. I don't know if I'll survive this physically.

And then? If the local elections in May go horribly wrong, I'll have to resign anyway.  

Side text:
The Metropolitan Police are investigating the criminal aspects of Boris Johnson's partygate in 12 illegal gatherings during the Covid lockdowns in Downing Street. A report by his officer Sue Gray deals with the "booze culture", the drinking culture in Downing Street. The Conservative Tory party is wondering not if but when to part ways with Boris Johnson.