That favourite quote of Churchill, after El Alamein, will be one Boris Johnson knows well.
After many success and perhaps more mishaps, the latest debacle surrounding Owen Patterson I think will become a defining moment. It comes after weeks of mis-steps. A poor budget, lack of confidence in the face of victory over Covid, a pseudo-war with France, the net zero madness of COP26.
All the events pile up on the ever thinning Tory poll lead. But the ones who really matter when a government has an 80 seat Majority are the MP's. From what I have read, they are very disappointed at the antics of this week. Marched to the top of the hill and down again, all in favour of a man who is almost certainly guilty of that which he is accused.
The tone in the press is different too, always the right wing press have left him off relatively lightly in the past - notably over covid. Yesterday it would have been easy to decry that Parliament was one of scoundrels with both Patterson and Claudia Webbe as exhibits A and B. However, there is little mention of Webbe. The focus, led by Tory MP leaking, is on Boris and his very poor judgement and actions.
With Brexit delivered, and despite the remainers never giving up, no real chance of undoing this technically for a long time. It maybe that the Tory minds will turn to who is the leader for the future - beyond Covid and beyond Brexit. I can see how that can be Boris if the level of incompetence continues - of which there is no reason to think it won't. We have written here in the past about how a lack of ideological belief makes Boris unsuited to making the hard decisions and sticking to them.
It won't be quick, with a huge majority and humming economy (inflation aside) it would be an odd time to toss Boris. But falling behind Labour in the polls, allowing Starmer to lead and have a voice that is listened too, together with the inevitable economic hardship the money-printing is bringing (and the Green taxes now biting ever harder, forever)...the drip will continue.
No more honeymoon or easy wins for Boris, the mountain has been climbed, the view appreciated and the return journey begun.