Boris Johnson, now ex-PM

Sounds like if cabinet ministers and MPs have their way, Boris’s hours are numbered. Of course, we’re talking about Boris Johnson, so it might be a better bet that he ignores them and continues on blissfully ignorant of how unfit for the office everyone thinks he is.

They can’t do another vote of confidence on him for a year from when they had the last one, but as many people as are dropping out of his government he has to know … well, no he doesn’t. Damn it, I keep forgetting who we’re talking about.

They can do another vote of confidence as the 1922 committee has the power to change the rules so they can. They are hoping to pressure him to go so they don’t have to.

Well, yes - I should have clarified. They can’t under the current rules, and I think they’d have to reform the committee to be able to change the rules.

It’s a mess. They’re trying to go the “easy” route and he gives up on his own.

I don’t think he resigns, he’s not that type.

Perhaps I haven’t been following UK politics closely even, but if Justin Trudeau isn’t being pressured to resign why would someone like Boris Johnson? Am I incorrect that the situations are somewhat similar with numerous scandals embroiling them during their time in office? I get that one is conservative and the other is not, but surely that’s not the driving difference here.

I don’t know that Trudeau and Boris have comparable levels of scandal by a fair margin.

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It’s certainly subjective, but maybe let’s just list them because it seems comparable to me.


  • Justin Trudeau first got in trouble with the ethics commissioner in December 2017, when it came out that he’d broken conflict of interest rules by vacationing at the Aga Khan’s private island over Christmas.
  • The hardest blow to Trudeau personally came during the 2019 election campaign, when a handful of photos came out of him dressed in blackface, a racist caricaturing of Black people. There were three photos: a 2001 yearbook photo when he was a teacher, a photo from when he was in high school, and a video of him as a young man.
  • In 2018, a newspaper piece from 2000 emerged: A reporter alleged that Trudeau, who was 28 at the time, was at the Kokanee Summit in Creston, B.C., raising money for a charity. An editorial in the local paper said Trudeau was accused of “groping” and “inappropriately handling” a female reporter during the event. Reached by CBC in 2018, the woman said “The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported. Mr. Trudeau did apologize the next day.
  • The SNC Lavalin scandal - The office of the independent ethics commissioner - one of Canada’s top watchdogs - declared in August 2019 that the prime minister’s team had breached ethics rules. The office said Trudeau and his officials had tried in 2018 to undermine a decision by federal prosecutors allowing construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc to face a corruption trial.
  • WE Charity scandal - In June, the government said WE Charity would run a student grant program, which was part of COVID-19 relief. The contract to WE was given via a sole-source agreement, not an open competition. At issue specifically is that Trudeau, and former finance minister Bill Morneau, had personal conenections to WE and were involved in the decision-making process, without recusing themselves.
  • Wei Wei, a Toronto real estate developer, has been charged after police raided an illegal casino inside a mansion. Wei met at least twice in 2016 with Trudeau and was a part of a Chinese government-endorsed industry group that met with Trudeau. A member of that delegation donated $1 million to the Trudeau foundation and sponsored a statue of Pierre Trudeau. That meeting led to a reformation of Liberal party fundraising rules.


  • Chris Pincher resigned from his role as Deputy Chief Whip after allegations that he had groped two men, including a colleague, while intoxicated.
  • Partygate, a name given to a series of Covid lockdown-breaking parties held in the heart of government, is the scandal that has come closest to costing the prime minister his job.
  • The prime minister stood by then health secretary Matt Hancock after he was caught breaking social distancing rules by beginning an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office.
  • Mr Johnson was accused by Mr Cummings of secretly trying to arrange for wealthy Tory donors to pay for a lavish £112,000 revamp of his official flat in Downing Street.
  • Mr Johnson was reprimanded by parliament’s committee on standards for failing to “establish the full facts” about a free holiday in Mustique that was paid for by a party donor.
  • Mr Johnson’s handling of the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal triggered an angry public backlash.

Please add anything I’ve missed.

One of them is at least minimally competent to run a government, the other is 50/50 to be minimally qualified to impersonate a fungus in the woods.

Apologies to all fungi in the woods for equating you with Boris Johnson.

Are we conceding then that the scandals are comparable?

I’m not conceding anything. I’m merely pointing out that “number of scandals involved” is not the lone measuring stick I use for judging whether someone is competent to hold office. It’s one criteria, but it’s not the sole criteria.

To spell it out for you: Trudeau, while probably a shitty person, could at least run government with some effectiveness. Johnson, while probably a shitty person, would struggle to run a hamster wheel if you had it automatically turning for him to save him the effort; asking him to run a government with any positive effectiveness is way beyond his ability. The only reason he’s PM is because the Tories offered up the even more shitty Jeremy Corbyn as an alternative, and voters rejected elevating someone who enjoyed playing footsie with anti-Semitism.

If you want to posit that the scandals are comparable in whatever fashion you deem acceptable, have at it.

And yet …

This could get ugly by England’s standards.

Fair enough. Among the few things I know about Boris is that he’s the American-born son of a World Bank employee, so I don’t necessarily have a favorable initial impression.

The difference between the Johnson and Trudeau situations is primarily their relative degree of support by their respective parties’ MPs. UK Tories had a confidence vote in BJ and he only got 60% support. Canadian Liberals have never requested a leadership review for Trudeau as he probably has close to 100% support by his party’s MPs.

In the absence of a general election, it is your own party’s MPs that decides your fate as leader in the UK and Canada. BJ should have moved on after 40% of his fellow MP’s expressed a lack of confidence in his leadership but he probably won’t as legally he doesn’t have to.

England has ugly politics. I was living in the UK when her fellow Tories stabbed Margaret Thatcher in the back. I was never a Thatcher fan but the way her party treated her at the end was shocking once she was no longer useful.

But at least Thatcher, once she knew she didn’t have the party’s support, stepped aside. She knew that ultimately the country came before her.

Oh yes. Thatcher’s response was totally professional despite her mistreatment. BJ is a messier kind of guy. BJ haters like my London daughter want to see him disgraced thoroughly before he is forced to resign.

Dishonor and war it will be.

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They wouldn’t have to reform the committee to change the rules. The current executive has the power to change the rules if it likes. Next week, there would have been elections to the committee and the new one would have definitely changed the rules.

However, Boris has been forced to resign so it is all moot now.

Also a lot of Boris’ scandals were avoidable, just the result of bad decision making and an ability to lie on the level of a naughty toddler.

Partygate became a big thing because of the lies. If he had owned up at the start and apologised it would only have been news for a week.

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