‘Them’s the breaks’ says Boris in his ‘goodbye speech’ in central London this lunchtime, after a rollercoaster of a week in politics.
This morning was a dramatic historical moment when as many as 50 of his fellow conservative Members of Parliament chose to resign Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.
The charismatic Tory quipped ‘Them’s the breaks’ This phrase means that “sometimes the outcome to a situation isn’t what one wanted or expected, and most especially, that there isn’t much to be done about it so one might as well accept it and move on.” (1)
With its origins in the sporting world of pool, it reflects the way balls part after taking the first shot – a one and only chance in a game in which in effect the player has to accept the ‘hand they are dealt’ and play on.
This week Boris has insisted that he could continue to stride through the multiple scandals that have emerged throughout his leadership, despite the growing pressure for him to resign.
The BBC broadcast Boris’ resignation speech live from the West End, on the international news channel and announced the “dramatic resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.” and the ongoing political drama as it unfolded on an extended Radio 4 Today programme.
The ‘last straw’ caused Johnson’s previous trusted allies to abandon ship as “They quit within minutes of each other following a row over Mr Johnson’s decision to appoint Chris Pincher, Deputy Chief Whip earlier this year.”
Johnson was originally voted in to the top position by his party in 2019 at a time when Theresa May was struggling with Brexit agreement complications and gridlock. The energy and bravado that the popular blond statesman demonstrated as Mayor of London and successfully (some would argue sometimes misleadingly) enthusiastically campaigning for Brexit has made him the ideal ‘man for the job at that rather desperate time in British political history.
Boris will be remembered for his ‘oven ready deal’ with exiting the European Union and ‘getting Brexit done’ in the future. Successfully delegating the vaccine project to very capable ministers was also a highlight. However today he is viewed as ‘being snookered’ by his own party who have now, in the vast majority, lost confidence with their Prime Minister.
Many people consider the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ of parties, lockdown rule violations, ‘misremembering’ key facts about events and what was or was not known about the controversies (of which there have been several over recent months) combined with the revelations of the repeated unbecoming antics and at times immoral behaviour of his senior team, to mean that they have started to doubt the culture of honesty. Some of even the most committed conservative ministers have been unable to trust that their leader.
Darwin introduced the world to the ‘survival of the fittest’ principle. Like the well-known evolutionary scientist, the ‘Darwinian process’ that Johnson referred to in his farewell speech outside Number 10 Downing Street today mimicked ‘the herd’ mentality in his own party. The pack had begun to run the other way and there was no stopping that momentum to produce a new candidate for the ‘Top Dog’ position.
Over the last couple of years Johnson’s top team have included more formal and serious characters like Rishi Sunak, Domonic Raab. This spring events on the world stage include an invasion of Ukraine in eastern Europe by Russia. The financial ripples are substantial and a delicate balance of power situation where strength and sensitive diplomacy is imperative, so the UK is taken seriously by other world leaders.
This summer conservative ministers all understand the importance that the Prime Minister has the integrity to make the right decisions. It is essential to lead our country in the manor and standards of professionalism and respect inspiring leadership that the top job requires to steer the United Kingdom through increasingly globally challenging waters.
A common synonym for the phrase “Them’s the breaks” that is also a phrase is “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” (1)
The average family in the UK looks forward to an autumn of massively higher energy bills, increased costs of living, the threat of more public and private service strikes, and diminished real term wages and disposable income as inflation eats into their pay packets and any savings.
Johnson and his team have aimed to develop ‘global trade’ and ‘build back better’ in developing our industry and drive well paid jobs that boost the economy and citizens prospects.
However there has been no clear strategy and ‘oven ready deal’ to solve the complex economic and social problems caused by trade difficulties with our neighbouring nations post-Brexit, the impact of the pandemic and lockdown disruption (which have all exacerbated the weakening effects of austerity) by the previous conservative governments on healthcare, housing, education and public services across the country.
We have many talented and dedicated people in Westminster and amazing civil servants who are keen to represent their constituencies and make a positive difference in their local areas. The UK is one of the most wonderful countries in the world in terms of free healthcare, sports, arts, culture, retail, finance, vibrant multi-cultural communities, environmental awareness, policing, education and much more.
Now is the opportunity for a new chapter that will enable us all to gently and responsibly press the (most likely electrically driven) accelerator pedal once again and steadily move forward towards a brighter future.
(1) ‘Them’s the breaks’ Grammerist spelling and usage, 7th July 2022
(2) ‘Johnson resignation speech as he quits as Tory leader’ 7th July 2022