Boris Johnson was on the seafront at Hartlepool yesterday.
He wouldn’t have traveled there if he hadn’t smacked of a chance the Tories could remove another brick from the red wall of the work in Northern England’s by-election this Thursday.
But with another jump and a jump he would have been in Scotland.
Had he walked the short distance to Dumfries, he could have ambushed Nicola Sturgeons during the city tour yesterday and attacked him on the border issue that has become his Achilles heel in this guided tour of an electoral campaign.
It would have been the political meeting of the month for the self-proclaimed Minister of the Union to meet the Prime Minister, soon to be returned to the border of a country which seems ready to regain a pro-independence majority.
But no, fortune favors the brave, and when it comes to political fights Johnson is a coward.
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It can make its way out of a paper bag to the safety of the Commons shipping box, but its brand of chic populism, false amateurism, and pretentious awkwardness freezes the blood in most people’s veins. Scottish voters.
So he stays away, afraid of the damage his actual presence here would cause to the union.
Johnson could possibly win in places like Hartlepool, despite his scandals and handling of the pandemic, but in Scotland he is toxic.
Man of yesterday
Alex Salmond built his political career by fighting his opponents.
He never hesitated to face other parties when it came to getting his message across.
But now he’s out of the government and out of the party he’s led for nearly two decades.
Salmond has a new political party but lacks the platform he was once used to.
Now he has claimed in a magazine profile of Nicola Sturgeon that he could have destroyed his career if he wanted to.
Language like this does the former Prime Minister no favors.
It feels desperate for attention.
His critics claim he is the man of yesterday and that Scottish politics have evolved without him.
Still, he could still be fired as MSP in Thursday’s election.
Maybe comments like this are the kind to be expected of him at Holyrood.
This is the kind of debate that few people want to hear.
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