For the past year, I have regular tormented my best friend Unkle Pukka with my vision for the UK, post-2015. All it takes for him to throw up his hands and swear he’ll leave the country if it happens is for me to say three little words – BoZo as PM.
This started before the referendum and it was based on Scotland somehow voting for independence, something he thought more likely than me. I said if it happened, then the rest of the UK (rUK as it is now universally referred to) would face a minority Conservative government that would push through an in-or-out vote on Europe. I predicted this would produce a tight and divisive vote with the enfranchised population deciding to stay within the EU – David Cameron’s preferred option – but only just, probably a single figure lead. Having lost one important vote and scrapped through another two, I foresaw a 1922 Committee grandee taking him off to an isolated room and passing Dave the pearl-handed revolver before leaving the room and hoping he did the decent thing. Having lost Scotland and only just won the election, staying in Europe would prove the final straw for the Tory hierarchy. This would lead to a very quick elevation of Johnson to Conservative leader and PM, possibly through the Lords to start with, before going on to win a decisive majority in 2020 because ‘everybody loves wacky, weird BoZo’. Unkle Pukka kept saying it wouldn’t happen and if it did – Johnson wasn’t even a potential parliamentary candidate at the time – he would leave the country. I reassured him that we’d welcome him with open arms north of the border.
Following the referendum, which came less than four weeks after Johnson strangely-timed announcement that he would stand for Westminster and break his previous promise not to do so while Mayor of London, I edited my prophecy of doom. Again, Cameron scrapes through and forms a minority government, possibly supported by the various Northern Irish Unionists. He holds a Europe referendum and the majority of England votes to leave the EU by a large enough margin that the results from the other parts of the UK don’t matter. That pushes Scotland towards another independence referendum where the majority do choose to leave the union at the second time of asking. Having lost the decent golf courses and a foot in Europe, the United States makes it perfectly plain that not only is there no special relationship with rUK, there’s no relationship full-stop. Once again, the pearl-handed revolver comes out and Johnson, who was born into the Conservative Party upper echelons rather than marrying into it, becomes Prime Minister.
Maybe things won’t go down that way but I do have a £50 wager with Unkle Pukka that Johnson will become PM before 2025. Now that Cameron has said he’ll not serve a third term but not when he will stand down, my money is looking safe.