Friday Filosophy v.09.23.2022
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician who has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2019. He announced his pending resignation on 7 July 2022 and will remain as prime minister until a new party leader is elected. He served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2016 to 2018 and as Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016. Johnson has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015, having previously been MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008.
Johnson attended Eton College and read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. In 1989, he became the Brussels correspondent—and later political columnist—for The Daily Telegraph; and from 1999 to 2005 was editor of The Spectator. Following his election to parliament in 2001, Johnson was a shadow minister under Conservative leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron. In 2008, he was elected mayor of London and resigned from the House of Commons; he was re-elected as mayor in 2012. In the 2015 general election, Johnson was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. The following year, he did not seek re-election as mayor. He became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign for Brexit in the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum. Theresa May appointed him foreign secretary after the referendum; he resigned the position two years later in protest to the Chequers Agreement and May’s approach to Brexit.
In 2019, Johnson was elected Leader of the Conservative Party, defeating Jeremy Hunt. He re-opened Brexit negotiations and in early September controversially prorogued Parliament; the Supreme Court later that month ruled the action unlawful. After agreeing to a revised Brexit withdrawal agreement, which replaced the Irish backstop with a new Northern Ireland Protocol, but failing to win parliamentary support for the agreement, Johnson called a snap election for December 2019 in which he led the Conservative Party to victory with 43.6 per cent of the vote, and the party’s largest seat share since 1987. On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the EU, entering into a transition period and trade negotiations leading to the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The COVID-19 pandemic became a major issue of his premiership; the government responded by introducing various emergency powers and measures across society to mitigate the pandemic’s impact, and approved the rollout of a nationwide vaccination program.
In December 2021, a controversy known as “Partygate” began which concerned Johnson and other government officials attending social gatherings at which some attendees breached COVID-19 regulations; Johnson received a fixed penalty notice, becoming the first prime minister of the United Kingdom to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office. The publishing of the Sue Gray report and a widespread sense of dissatisfaction led in June 2022 to a vote of confidence in his leadership among Conservative MPs. While the parliamentary Conservative Party was found to have confidence in him, the result was regarded as having left Johnson politically weakened. In July 2022, revelations over his hiring of Chris Pincher as Government Deputy Chief Whip led to a mass resignation of ministers from his government and to Johnson announcing his forthcoming resignation as party leader. He remains in office in a caretaker capacity pending a leadership election.
Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics. Supporters have praised him as humorous, witty, and entertaining, with an appeal stretching beyond traditional Conservative Party voters. Conversely, his critics have accused him of lying, elitism, cronyism and bigotry. Johnson’s political positions have sometimes been described as following one-nation conservatism, and commentators have characterized his political style as opportunistic, populist, or pragmatic.
- Ping-pong was invented on the dining tables of England in the 19th century, and it was called Wiff-waff! And there, I think, you have the difference between us and the rest of the world. Other nations, the French, looked at a dining table and saw an opportunity to have dinner; we looked at it and saw an opportunity to play Wiff-waff.
- My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.
- My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it.
- I’m in politics to change things – if possible, for the better. I was a journalist for a long time, but I had a kind of midlife crisis, and I decided I needed to do something to get on the pitch and stop endlessly kicking over other peoples’ sandcastles.
- It is easy to make promises – it is hard work to keep them.
- There is absolutely no one, apart from yourself, who can prevent you, in the middle of the night, from sneaking down to tidy up the edges of that hunk of cheese at the back of the fridge.
- My speaking style was criticized by no less an authority than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a low moment, my friends, to have my rhetorical skills denounced by a monosyllabic Austrian cyborg.
- We cannot turn our backs on Europe. We are part of Europe.
- I have more in common with a three-toed sloth or a one-eyed pterodactyl or a Kalamata olive than I have with Winston Churchill.
- I used to get very, very frustrated by people being told what to do by nanny in Brussels. And I remember once I rang the official who was actually responsible for banning the prawn-cocktail-flavored crisp, which I think contained a dye called Arithrazine or something like that.
- If we judged everybody by the stupid, unguarded things they blurt out to their nearest and dearest, then we wouldn’t ever get anywhere.
- I’d like thousands of schools as good as the one I went to, Eton.
- This is an absolute turning point in the story of our country because I think if we go on with being enmeshed in the E.U., it will continue to erode our democracy. That is something that worries me.
The Time is Now
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