Johnson At PMQs is Stripped Bare - Dishevelled, Isolated, Uncertain, Vulnerable

Johnson - increasingly isolated
PMQs has always been an easy time for Boris Johnson (and previous Tory Leaders).
No need to actually answer questions, the tactic was always simply to swerve the issue every time - and reply simply with the statement they wanted to make, however vaguely or even completely unrelated to the question posed. No PM ever lived in fear of doing thus, as the baying hounds of Tory MPs in the seats behind him/her could be relied upon to cheer and hoot his/her every word, drowning out the derision from the Opposition benches. No doubt, Tory MPs who pushed Johnson to the pinnacle of leadership probably thought with his natural bombastic qualities, he'd own PMQs without breaking sweat.

Now, not so much.

With distancing measures in the House, and with so many MPs nervous about travel, he sits to all and purposes alone. And that means his replies, such as they are, sit heavily in the air when he's finished, damning him in the silent response. He is increasingly both physically and politically isolated.

Starmer - increasingly confident
Starmer - increasingly confident
Add to that the new confidence of Labour Leader Keir Starmer, a silky new approach combining forensic piece by piece unravelling of Johnson's rhetoric with instant recall to details - and even a touch of low menace in his questions and unspoken threats of bombshells to come ... Johnson is looking the poorer by comparison for it.

Repeatedly already in PMQs, Starmer has dissected Johnson and his Tories like Poirot in an upper-middle class drawing room at the end of every case. Or perhaps a better comparison would be a Columbo, a series of questions designed to gradually draw the PM into a noose of his own making. It's the lawyer in him, and Johnson is no match for it.

Remember - Starmer has achieved. Working class roots, a lawyer, a QC, Director of the DPP, Head of the CPS, and all on his own merit. His knighthood, often pointed to by right wing critics - was earned, not inherited.

Johnson, in comparison, was the usual wealthy Tory product of the Eton-Oxford-Bullingdon treadmill, went into journalism (sacked for lying) and has been elected an an MP in a borough that would would vote for an armadillo if it wore a Tory rosette - and elected Tory Leader by a hard right ERG cabal. He's hasn't really achieved anything, except office, and that through his jovial 'aura' and grasping willingness for it.

Now, the comparison between the two is clear for all to see. Suddenly Johnson is not so bold when his gang are no longer behind him, in every sense.

I suspect Starmer is just going through his warm-up stretches. He's not looking for quick victories, he's simply grinding the PM down with the truth.

Suddenly, PMQs is getting interesting.

Johnson - not so bold when his gang are no longer behind him, in every sense.
Johnson - not so bold when his gang are no longer behind him, in every sense.