Nigel Austin 

author of The Robin Gibson series

​Posted 2nd July 2016

"Is this a dagger which I see before me?"

​​We may never know the content of the conversation that took place between Michael Gove and Boris Johnson and led to the volte face in Gove’s stance on his candidacy for the Conservative leadership …and to disappointment for Boris’s followers who had expected him to pick up the mantle. 

If Johnson did align with the ‘Leave’ campaign on the mental flip of a coin, as has been suggested, then he and his charisma have much to answer for, having led the country into an economic wilderness. If he expected - indeed, hoped - not to win and simply used the platform for self-aggrandisement, his crimes are considerably worse. Whether or not he would make a good party leader and Prime Minister is irrelevant to the issue of abandonment, which is how many on the ‘Leave’ side - campaigners and voters alike - will view his refusal to compete.  

Clearly encouraged by Lady MacGove, whose ‘mis-sent’ email was all too transparently disingenuous, the brave MacGove, now buoyed up by his initial success, makes his bid for the crown wearing his continued dearth of charisma like a badge of honour - understandably, the defeated and disgraced Thane Boris is unprepared to share any of his ample stock of je ne sais quoi.

“Let not light see my black and deep desires”? Too late! For all his ambition, masquerading as soul-searching and conscience-wrestling, MacGove is far from favourite to win, in which case, one suspects we shall not be seeing Gove in Government for quite some time.