Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

It is only a question of when for Boris Johnson


Parliament is now in recess until the New Year. Unless of course the Prime Minister decides to impose further restrictions on the English population's civil liberties.

Having already moved to (so called) Plan B COVID-19 restrictions, rumours abound at the time of writing that plans for a 2 week circuit breaker lockdown are well advanced.

It has been another rotten week for an increasingly self imploding government, which has created much of its own nosedive into mass unpopularity since the misguided attempt to conflate the need to revise the parliamentary standards appeals process with protecting Owen Paterson from a 30 day ban from the House of Commons after allegations of illegal lobbying.

After 100 Tory MPs voted against vaccine passports (with smaller numbers opposing on 3 other votes, including deployment of face masks), the government suffered the 7th worst by election result in parliamentary history in Paterson's former constituency (North Shropshire), turning a 23,000 majority into a 6,000 majority for the Liberal Democrats.

Turnout was relatively high at 46.3% in a constituency that voted 60/40 to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, charged with leading the Cabinet Office investigation into Christmas parties and resultant lockdown breaches in 2020 was forced to step aside when it emerged he was involved in an event in his own office.

Finally, with a week until what looks set to be a very Black Christmas for Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Frost resigned after weeks of public declarations of his belief in low taxes and small government (the opposite strategy of what this Conservative Party is pursuing) and Plan B COVID-19 restrictions.

In addition to over £400Bn of government borrowing to date for economic support, pandemic restrictions have already decimated specific sectors of the economy impacting over 10M people working across hospitality (who generate up to 30% of their revenue in December), travel, culture, retail and small SMEs, despite companies spending substantially on measures to mitigate vital spread.

To complete the shift to a "papers please" society through vaccine passports, 30,000 people have already left the Care sector for refusing to be vaccinated and a further 70,000 in the NHS face the same outcome by 1st April 2022.

COVID-19 has become the new Brexit, splitting the country between compliants and resistors. With inflation now running at 5.1% and set to exceed 6% by March 2022 (well in excess of the Chancellor's budget forecast), the cost of second hand cars is 27% higher than a year ago and record low interest rates have finally moved upwards, almost certainly too late to be effective without further iterations.

Over the last 7 weeks, Johnson's honeymoon has not just ended it has imploded so spectacularly that his tenure at 10 Downing Street is finished in all but name – he has usurped Theresa May as a lame duck Prime Minister. In a mere 30 months he has lurched from triumph to disaster.

As a student of the Classics, Boris will no doubt have a historical parallel to draw on when he reflects on his time in office, which is likely to be sooner rather than later.

Rather like May, he has successfully united multiple cohorts of the party, not least a significant number of the 2019 first time MP intake (who arguably only won their seats due to Johnson's obsolete ability to reach the parts of the country other Tories could not). Unfortunately they are united against him.

2 years on from securing the Tory Party their largest majority since 1987, their lurch to the left on issues from taxation to the environment has rendered them a centre left government to the incomprehension of many who voted for Johnson and indeed the Tories for the first time. They will not do so again.

Johnson's demise is even more extreme than the spread of Omicron contagion. Unlike Omicron which appears to be much more transmissible but generally much less severe, Johnsonism's viral load is terminal. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames