Johnson approaches public life as a game in which he commits sackable offences as a way of demonstrating his unsackability.

Johnson is as close as British politics has to a Trump problem, and his seniority suggests that Trumpism has permeated our political culture more deeply than we like to admit. Trump may be a more acute case, but both men compel all around them to react to their idle remarks, mistakes and fantasies.

No doubt men such as Johnson and Trump have always existed, but healthy political systems have ways of keeping them away from the highest echelons of power.

The reality is that in addition to the ideological and cultural forces behind Brexit, it is also happening thanks to the recklessness of individuals who see public life as an opportunity to show off.

Britain’s misfortune is that matters of the greatest seriousness are now in the hands of basically unserious people.

Britain’s misfortune is that matters of the greatest seriousness are now in the hands of basically unserious people.

Notes from LRB · William Davies · What are they after?

Notes

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