Author Archives: tpbale

About tpbale

I teach politics at Queen Mary University of London.

‘Boris Johnson is one of the least admirable – and successful – PM’s we’ve ever had’, Sunday Mirror, 10 July 2022.

Boris Johnson was sooner or later bound to crash and burn. He was the salesman suddenly promoted to CEO by a firm desperate to avoid loss of market share to a disruptive rival – in the Conservatives’ case Nigel Farage’s … Continue reading

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‘Tories have been lurching further right for years. Boris Johnson was just the latest’, Observer, 10 July 2022.

Especially after the chaos of the last few days – and even, some would argue, the chaos of the last few years – it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Boris Johnson is somehow sui generis among Conservative leaders. That might … Continue reading

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‘Boris Johnson faces a war on two fronts’, Sunday Mirror, 25 June 2022.

No army trying to defend territory wants to fight on two fronts. But the by-elections in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield suggest that’s exactly the challenge the Conservatives are facing. Boris Johnson won in 2019 precisely because, by promising to … Continue reading

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‘Lessons for Conservatives from the double by-election blow’, FT, 24 June 20

Anyone who’s ever encountered a level crossing in France may have seen a sign reading Un train peut en cacher un autre — one train can hide another. That warning also applies to the two by-election defeats for the Conservative … Continue reading

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‘Tories should take a tip from Macbeth and be bold. But the party itself is infirm of purpose’, Observer, 5 June 2022.

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly,” argues one of literature’s most famous regicides, Macbeth. Conservative MPs wanting rid of Boris Johnson, however, don’t seem so sure. Some Westminster watchers, having convinced themselves that … Continue reading

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‘Why “partygate” likely won’t be Boris Johnson’s undoing’, NBC, 25 May 2022.

It’s not so much that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has run into trouble recently as that he is trouble, and always has been. Anyone who has followed the ups and downs of his roller coaster career can produce a list as long as … Continue reading

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‘What does history tell us about how close Boris could be to his voter sell-by date?’, Telegraph, 1 February 2022

Boris Johnson seems absolutely determined to resist calls for him to step down. He is in good company. British prime ministers – with the exception of Harold Wilson and David Cameron – don’t tend to “go gentle into that good … Continue reading

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‘Just what exactly is continuing to keep Boris Johnson in power?’, Observer, 17 April 2022.

oris Johnson beware. Ever since Britain first became a democracy in 1928, its prime ministers have been booted, or winkled, out of Downing Street rather than departing purely of their own free will. The only clear exception to the rule … Continue reading

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‘Mainstream right in Western Europe: challenging times; trouble ahead?’ (with Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser), UK in a Changing Europe, 22 January 2022.

Europe’s centre-right political parties used to be seen as both dependably dull and dependably stable. Not anymore. The continent’s Christian democratic, conservative and market liberal parties – each of which can be said to belong to three distinct ‘party families’ … Continue reading

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‘Boris’s North Shropshire nightmare is eerily reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s Eastbourne defeat’, Telegraph, 17 December 2021.

Margaret Thatcher was no stranger to by-election defeats. But she’d got used to taking them in her stride. Between 1979 and 1987, her Conservative government lost seven of them – six to candidates representing either the Liberals or the SDP, … Continue reading

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