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Boris Johnson: the power to oust this charlatan lies with voters | Letters

The Guardian - Tue May 4 16:05

Jonathan Freedland’s analysis (Scandal upon scandal: the charge sheet that should have felled Johnson years ago, 30 April) is as timely as it is forensic, reminding the electorate that the prime minister is a serial liar, whose continuation in his role is dependent on a combination of his carefully burnished blokeish image, contempt for said electorate, and surrounding himself with sycophants, most of whom model themselves on their leader.

In such a cosy context of contempt, any demand for them to even pay lip service, let alone adhere, to the Nolan principles of ministerial behaviour is a hopeless cause. Boris Johnson made much in his pre- and post-Brexit speeches of the opportunity for the UK to present an EU-free swashbuckling image across the globe – the overall image portrayed in recent weeks and months has, if anything, trashed the country’s reputation. As Freedland rightly concludes, while such behaviour is indeed shameful, so too is the gullibility of the electorate in allowing themselves to be so readily duped. The answer lies in our hands, starting on 6 May.
Phil Murray
Linlithgow, West Lothian

Like the figures in Richard III’s nightmare, readers of Jonathan Freedland’s impressive charge sheet will “throng to the bar, crying all, ‘Guilty!’, ‘Guilty!’”. But many, like me, will reject Freedland’s conclusion that “some of the shame [for Boris Johnson’s success] is on us”. It is a safe bet that no one who read to that final sentence, has ever cast a vote for Johnson.

Analysis of Brexit voting patterns showed that very few people with a university degree, and hardly anyone with A-levels, voted to leave the EU – to that one could add most Guardian readers. Johnson’s lies, and a depressing admiration for the way he tells them, deluded a specific section of the electorate then, just as it continued to delude them in the “red wall” seats in the last election. The result is a government that can flaunt its lies, sleaze, corruption and incompetence, and yet retain the loyalty of its support base. But I can hardly be alone in resenting the invitation to indulge in communal self-flagellation for a situation for which I have no responsibility.
Robert Smallwood
Eastham, Worcestershire

I enjoyed reading Jonathan Freedland’s summary of Boris Johnson’s dishonesty until I got to the last paragraph, which nearly made me spill my coffee: “Or maybe the real scandal lies with us, the electorate, still seduced by a tousled-hair rebel shtick and faux bonhomie that should have palled years ago.” Who does he imagine he is talking to? Maybe there are some Guardian readers who could recognise themselves in this use of the word “us”, but they must be a very tiny minority. Don’t insult your readers, please, Jonathan.
Prof Gillian Morriss-Kay

Familiarity and affinity biases may be part of why Boris Johnson gets away with it. It’s the “devil you know” attitude. The likeable rogue has been around in English literature for a long time and its eccentricity seems to be appealing to many people. One way we could start to influence perceptions is by refusing to use the man’s first name; the cuddly bear aura is only increased by it.
Alan Walker
Madrid, Spain

I was touched by Aditya Chakrabortty’s heartfelt article (29 April). I am 97 this year, and have lived through the war and a lot of political turmoil over the years, but never have I felt more ashamed to be English, being represented by such a charlatan as Boris Johnson and his cronies, and their crass actions. It feels very personal that he can be so casual with our lives and livelihoods. I deserve better than this, and so does the British public.
Alfred Walden
Harleston, Suffolk