LBC Views: Boris may be lauded in Ukraine but that may mean nothing back home

3 May 2022, 13:51 | Updated: 3 May 2022, 17:04

The old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times, certainly applies to Boris right now.
The old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times, certainly applies to Boris right now. Picture: LBC

By David Mellor

It’s an irony that on a day when he became the first western leader to address the Ukrainian parliament (by video link of course), Boris is anticipating the worst local election results in three decades.

Boris’s Churchillian rhetoric has been praised in both Britain and Ukraine, as has his further package of £300 million in defence equipment.

What won’t be welcomed are the chilling threats on official Russian TV singling out the UK for special attention.  Like yesterday, when a 100 megaton nuclear explosion off the British coast was called for by the presenter, that would create a tsunami sufficient to engulf the whole of the British Isles.

Mere rhetoric?  Empty wishful thinking?  Probably.  But one hopes that the hotline that always existed in Soviet times to prevent a nuclear war happening by accident, is still there.

And being used by the British end to assure Putin that we are an independent nuclear power, and we have nuclear weapons we are ready willing and able to use against Russia, in the event that any of this crazy Russian rhetoric becomes reality.  The essential element of the doctrine of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) is that both sides believe that such mutual destruction can and would happen should there be an attack.

Typical of the shallowness of the Lib Dems is that they should suggest that Boris’s speech today was merely a ploy to try to influence the local election results.

Which makes it obvious, as if anyone could be in any doubt, that a voter who chooses the Lib Dems on Thursday, won’t be voting for Lib Dem policies, or Lib Dem leadership.  What they will be doing, in the immortal words of the late lamented Austin Mitchell MP, is using the Lib Dems as a bucket to spit in.  A way of showing their contempt for the Tories.  And it takes a brave soul to imagine there won’t be a lot of that around come Friday morning.

Governments are expected to lose ground in local elections.  The question always is, how much.  If it’s a lot, does that suggest the public are delivering  a verdict on Boris that they won’t change in a hurry.  I suspect so.

These results will be carefully studied by Tory backbenchers, who had the chance to put Partygate behind them a few weeks ago, but refused.  No amount of standing ovations in Kiev today will help Boris on Friday if he appears to have become an electoral liability.

Tory MPs were never in love with Boris.  They regarded him as a regrettable necessity.  A way of getting election results beyond the reach of dross like Theresa May.

If he seems to have lost the magic formula of being a winner, whatever his misdeeds, then he’s toast.  The old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times, certainly applies to Boris right now.