In the end the public gets tired of the showman’s same old act and the magician’s same old tricks.
Playing the bumbling clown is amusing at first. At first.
Boris Johnson has been consistent. This is not some profound and serious politician who has suddenly had a personality change. Boris has always been Boris, and that has, up to now at least, been a large part of his public appeal.
He is a sort of anti-politician, something he has in common with Donald Trump. It is just a perilously short step from being an anti-politician to being a joke politician, a charge already being made against the Prime Minister by Sir Keir Starmer.
The public can take a joke, but they cannot bear being taken for a ride, and the ‘one rule for us and one rule for everybody else’ way of doing things by certain elements of the Boris Johnson administration is a slap in the face for all those who have obediently and assiduously followed the various Covid rules imposed by Downing Street.
And now a video has emerged from Joke HQ showing that staff thought their cavalier approach to Covid rules was a matter of mirth and entertainment. More fool the public, seems to have been the thinking.
The Christmas party affair is not an isolated incident. You will be reminded of others simply by mentioning names. Dominic Cummings. Priti Patel. Owen Paterson. This is not a complete list.
Any Opposition worth its salt would be making hay, but Labour has not made much of an impression and perhaps the threat to the Prime Minister is not from those on the benches before him, but from those on the benches behind him.
There comes a time when Tory MPs have had enough as well, and the fact that the Conservatives have such a large majority in the Commons is actually a factor to embolden those increasingly concerned about Boris Johnson’s handling of things – as unless something extraordinary happens, there is no danger of the Government being brought down.
Voters will be able to give their verdict on Boris Johnson’s performance at the North Shropshire by-election. The Tories have a seemingly bombproof majority in the constituency, so on the face of it there is not much at stake nor a reason to take much interest.
But given the background there will be intense interest to see how voters react to the Christmas party affair, and all the other affairs on Boris Johnson’s watch. This by-election in a safe Tory seat could prove very dangerous for a Prime Minister already up to his neck in hot water.