It was a strange love letter, written in that coy, obscurantist language that Morning Star editorials invariably to adopt when their message is a wee bit embarrassing. But it came on 14 February, and underneath the verbosity the message was clear: Boris Johnson is to be admired:
“The immediate past experience of, first, coalition government with the Lib Dems and then the disarray of the Theresa May administration has convinced the new Tory leadership of the need for Cabinet discipline, parliamentary good order and effective oversight of policy and performance.”
It’s easy to see why all that would appeal to people who admire the Chinese regime (and continue to insist it’s doing a good job dealing with coronavirus). And the same editorial carried a warning to Johnson’s critics:
“There is a tendency on the liberal left – perhaps the most pervasive of Labour’s ideological trends – to conceive of Johnson as the personification of the most reactionary right…”
Wrong! Johnson is actually taking on “the more parasitic elements in Britain’s notoriously skewed economy (especially the) financial sector.” In fact Johnson represents a (ruling class) “tendency which sees both necessity and profit in a more balanced regional economy, greater investment in high-value technology, science and research, a more radical orientation to global markets and increased efforts to develop a more modern, diversified and productive economy.”
As they say, what’s not to like?
Similar adoration had been expressed by the Communist Party of Britain’s Rob Griffiths, writing in the Morning Star of 1-2 February, his misty-eyed infatuation stemming from a source close to every Stalinist’s heart: “If the recent declarations of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price are anything to go by, it is tempting to exclaim: ‘We’re all Lexiteers now!’ … the Tory government’s opening positions closely resemble longstanding policies promoted by the Eurosceptic left in Britain and – fisheries aside – in other European countries.”
It must be a great consolation to comrade Griffiths to know that while his “left-wing” version of Brexit has been decisively rejected by the Labour party and most trade unions, it has been taken up by Boris Johnson.
And here’s Nick Wright in the Morning Star of 6 February:
“Much of the left, especially the liberal left – and particularly that sliver that still smarts at the drubbing that Johnson’s unerringly targeted Get Brexit Done tactic delivered – is consumed with outrage at Johnson’s supposedly Trumpian political identity.
“But Johnson is a more complex character and an infinitely more nuanced politician than this simplistic rendering allows.”
Note comrade Wright’s breathless admiration for Johnson’s “unerringly targeted” tactical skills plus the wide-eyed wonder at this “complex” and “nuanced” character… all combined with the obligatory Stalinist sneer at “the liberal left.”
Wright continues: “… yet another hobgoblin is haunting liberal opinion. The figure of Dominic Cummings has assumed a Rasputin-like reputation. No accounts of Satanic ritual or the profane violation of the royal person has leached out but respectable opinion sees the chef du cabinet to Boris Johnson’s Number 10 machine as an existential threat to the venerable traditions of the Civil Service.
“Cummings does cut an unusual figure in the upper reaches of the state apparatus. What is distinctive is his concentration on technocratic managerial and intellectually rigorous solutions to problems of public administration…”
Comrade Wright does go on to note Cummings’ “deeply reactionary notions” but the underlying message is one of simpering admiration for someone willing to take on the Civil Service, the force that Wright evidently considers the main threat to progressive advance in Britain today).