Boris Johnson: The Gambler

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Boris Johnson: The Gambler

Boris Johnson: The Gambler

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It would be hard to imagine Churchill pleading that he could do no more than follow the guidance of his subordinates. Bower takes pains to let you know he is super not party-biased, honest in his earlier Tony Blair book. they like a scoundrel and a bounder, more exciting than a Jeremy Hunt or a Merkel) So, the book ends prematurely, suggesting the jury is still out. There are some new nuggets – I’d happily have read more about Johnson’s fisticuffs with George Osborne when the two men were in a lift together during a visit to China – and some useful insights. Every chance he gets he’s slipping in snide descriptions of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs from declaring the women as ‘shrill’ to affording them the benefit of absolutely no doubt while brushing over Johnson’s own numerous sins and clearly idolising the man’s shameless steamrolling over every rule put in place to allow for a democratic dynamic in Westminster.

Stanley Johnson’s sense of entitlement was fed by his ability repeatedly to fail upward, but he’s hardly alone in this story. Gammon and spin-age: I wanted to read a biog of our Lord and master that might uncover whether there is any substance beneath the contrived meejah image, but Tom Bower’s The Gambler isn’t it. Admittedly, it sounds like he was, and an atrocious husband too, having broken his first wife’s nose in a row while embarking on a half-crazed campaign for maximum sexual conquests.It is perhaps also legitimate to ask whether it was proper for Bower to use information gleaned from a vulnerable elderly woman suffering from Parkinson’s without wondering about the misery it might later cause. Dealing with a personality that divides opinion so much I guess it is inevitable that most people are going to have some issue with the positions that the author takes in certain areas.

See our Remarkables Archive for some that are no longer in print, but which we are happy to try to track down. When it comes to criticise one of the models produced for the pandemic, the author is unsure if it was written in C or Fortran (p. That said, there are one or two amusing anecdotes revealing the depth of Johnson’s rivalry with David Cameron and his disdain for the acolyte George Osborne - such as his having initiated fisticuffs with each of them during the coalition years and their having to be pulled off by aides (fnarr fnarr), or Boris’s text on the morning of the 2015 general election: “good luck Dave and if you bog it up I’m standing by to fill the gap!

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Apparently Boris Johnson’s long-suffering second wife, the human rights lawyer Marina Wheeler, took a similar view: “She unhesitatingly rebuked Stanley for her husband’s sins. That said, I have enjoyed some conservative commentators’ bewilderment at yesterday’s budget, but cakeism will inevitably turn into no treats for anyone unless he gets a grip. There will be far better assessments of Johnson after he leaves Downing Street, and the best ones will offer no apologies or excuses. Starting with Ted Heath’s ‘three-day week’, through endless strikes, shortages and devaluation ending with the destructive Winter of Discontent in 1979, the decade had been worse than a waste.

The first half was a fair assessment but the latter half, particularly the part after Johnson becomes PM, doesn’t even make any attempt to present a balanced or nuanced view. Bower portrays him as an absent father and violent husband, who punched his wife so hard he broke her nose. His most recent books include the most authoritative and best selling account of Tony Blair's decade as prime minister and the definitive biographies of Jeremy Corbyn, Gordon Brown and Geoffrey Robinson MP. After an argument about education, his first wife realises with horror: “Oh God, he’s got … no ideals. They might indeed be advised to skip the first 526 pages to the back-of-the-book admission that Boris Johnson is “not a stranger in my home”.

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