I know I just got through talking about the US political scene, but the other side of the ocean is where the House of Cards kind of action is going on. Ever since Brexit, we’ve been lead to believe that Boris Johnson was in the catbird’s seat when it came to assuming the mantle of prime minister. When I woke up late this morning, I saw that those assumptions turned out to be massively off-the-mark. Unbelievably, his own supposed #2 Michael Gove (the justice secretary, equivalent to the US Attorney General) stabbed him in the back by announcing his own run for the Conservative Party leadership.

The scene when Boris stunned the political establishment by announcing that he was forgoing his run in light of Gove’s betrayal was described thusly

Boris had kept out the usual jokes from his speech, but then said he had a ‘punchline’.  When he uttered the fateful words, his voice cracked under the emotion. Referring to the prospect of becoming Prime Minister in a post-Brexit Britain, he said “having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament… I have concluded that person cannot be me.…”

The shock was instant, sucking air in the room as if a bomb had gone off.  Time almost stopped as those gathered struggled to cope with the slo-mo,  discombobulating reality that Boris would never be PM. Dorries’ mouth was agape, and soon there were tears in the eyes of hardened male MPs.

As he left the stage, the wreckage was obvious. And the recriminations began immediately, with Justice Secretary Michael Gove, one of the architects alongside Johnson of the Leave campaign, the main target. “The most extraordinary act of treachery.  Michael will never win this election. When people realise what he’s done, he’ll never win anything.”

Another backbencher added: “What Michael Gove has done today will live on in political history for a long time. He’s trashed his own reputation.” Yet another said: “’Doing a Gove’ will become like ‘gerrymandering’, a phrase to enter the lexicon.  People will forget who it was about, but not the act itself. That will live on.

 

As we talked about the on The Rundown yesterday, Gove’s wife had “accidentally” sent out an email that undermined Boris Johnson to a member of the public. At first I thought it was a mistake since the press had reported the Gove/Johnson alliance as a done deal, but now I think it might have been timed to take the wind out of Boris’ sails. Either way, Gove is going to have a hard time now, plus I’ve never seen him as a prime minister. He’s said the same thing himself many times…

 

But he’s damn good at sticking in the knife, I must say:

 

Many outlets are saying this is the end of Boris Johnson’s career, with his own father comparing Gove to Brutus, the man who helped treacherously assassinate Julius Caesar. I don’t think I would count him out just yet, although it’s going to be hard to be prime minister after this. You never know what might happen if current frontrunner Theresa May or Gove end up stumbling, though. Even David Cameron is only 49-years-old. I have a hard time believing he’s completely done in frontline politics, either.

What I do know is, Britain has the most exciting political scene at the moment and it’s not even close. I suspect things might change when the US election gets into full-swing, but as of now, the UK is where the real drama is at.

(Here’s a great article detailing all the behind-the-scenes machinations that led up to today’s hit on Boris Johnson.)

 

UPDATE: From tomorrow’s edition of The Sun…

And The Daily Telegraph…

You May Also Like