LONDON (Realist English). There are powerful allies behind British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. These are billionaire sponsors of the Conservative Party who financed Brexit, as well as the owners of major newspapers — Murdoch, Rothermere and the Barklay family, publicist Peter Oborn notes.
“A broken prime minister still in occupation of Downing Street and determined to stay there. This is a recipe for — at best — paralysis, at worst chaos. More likely both. It’s hard to see what will make Boris Johnson quit.” he writes in a column for the Middle East Eye.
Oborne drew attention to the publications of major British tabloids on the morning of June 7, the day after Johnson managed to avoid resignation:
“The prime minister, remember, has powerful allies. Tuesday’s Daily Mail — Britain’s most well-drilled and powerful popular paper — is an essential read for anyone wishing to understand the near-term trajectory of British politics
It contains a series of brutal hatchet jobs on former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt — “Theresa May in trousers” — who the Mail accuses of leading the plotters. On its front page, the Mail lacerates the 148 Tory rebels for pressing the “self-destruct button by opening the door to Smirking Starmer’s coalition of chaos”.
According to the publicist, “the big newspaper proprietors – Murdoch, Rothermere and the Barclay family – remain loyal to Johnson”.
Admittedly The Times and the Telegraph are tougher than usual on Johnson this morning, but crucially there are no calls for him to quit. Murdoch, Mail Newspapers and the Barclays are part of Johnson’s core political base. They all backed him to be Tory leader, all backed him in the 2019 general election, and all have protected Johnson during the harrowing political scandals that have dogged his premiership. These newspaper magnates are still behind the prime minister today. While this remains the case, Johnson can hope to survive”. he said.
The second half of the coalition backing Johnson are the billionaire Tory donors, who funded Brexit and now — in a mutation of democratic politics – effectively own Johnson’s Conservative Party. In an unprecedented direct intervention by the super-rich in British public life, these donors came together in defence of Johnson yesterday.
The billionaire class put their man, Boris Johnson, in Downing Street three years ago. He suits them well because he does what they want. Johnson is at the apex of a system of government that hands out contracts, supplies favours, slashes regulation, attacks the rule of law, reduces the rights of working people, and favours the marketplace above the state.
Oborne stresses that “so far Johnson’s many media allies have presented the prime minister as a cheekie chappie with the common touch fighting a popular campaign against a distant liberal “elite”. Flawed for certain, a liar and a cheat, but always fighting for ordinary people. That claim has always been misleading. From the start of his premiership, ex-journalist Johnson has been the creature of the big media owners acting in alliance with deracinated financial capital. For all of his incompetence, falsehoods and lack of vision, Boris Johnson still has their support today.
On June 6, the British House of Commons held a secret vote of members of the Conservative faction on a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. To retain his post, he needed to gain at least half and one vote of the party representatives in his support, that is, 180 votes. The prime minister was supported by 211 deputies, only 148 opposed.