From Clive, BTL on yesterday's Boris post, expanding on a short comment he'd been picked up on:
Re: "The energy inputs for creating and sustaining media (and political) momentum are much higher here..." ... What I was getting at, tricky to explain, was it only took a Howe resignation speech, a leadership contest and some cabinet members talking Thatcher into resigning. All mundane stuff. The merest hint from a few, largely behind closed doors, and Thatcher resigned. There wasn't any inclination in her to keep fighting through the second round of the leadership contest. Contrast with what it took to get Johnson to go (not that he's actually gone yet, but we have to -- stifle a guffaw here please -- take him at his word he really will go, really he will), literally every, bar a few exceptions, cabinet minister to tell Johnson, in public he must go and/or resigning. Plus a great gaggle of PPSes and junior ministers. It was touch-and-go whether the 1922 Committee might have to blast him out of Downing St with heavy artillery. Both the parliamentary party and the mainstream media had to throw everything at him, 27x7, for weeks. Months, even [my emphasis]
Interesting. Yes, Boris is unusually obdurate. In fact, he's a pretty extreme case in many dimensions, a fact easily forgotten when he's in smiley, jokey-witty-banter, all-out charm mode. That "really rather good" resignation speech with it's nicely crafted phrasing. Lots of 'extreme' politicians can do that to people, particularly in the flesh ... And what will it still take now, actually to get him out of the door? Oh yes indeed - another big input of energy still needed, to drive the stake home.
Here's a thesis.
Most people in societal contexts (and also many people even when they are cast adrift from company) are not much under the sway of any kind of inner primordial beast that knows only the urge for gratification, the Will to Power (Wille zur Macht), survival in all circumstances and against any odds; never say 'die', only 'attack': the cornered alpha predator, wounded but still fighting. Most people recognise social constraints: the price we pay for the benefits of living in a society.
Those who are thus possessed of the demon, but who still partake of society to some degree (and are 'successful' enough to be prominent), are generally to be found in the ranks of callous and bullying corporate warriors, big-swinging-dick traders, sportsmen in the fighting arts, ruthless lords of organised-crime, aggressive soldiers, manic artists, ambitious politicians. With a few constraints still being observed - on a good day. But if completely beyond the pale, they are Johnny-Byron wild men of the woods, pirates and bandit chiefs ... or the occasional politician leader who hacks his way into a position of outright dictatorship. Not much social inhibition with William of Normandy, Peter the Great, or Kim Jong-un.
Boris Johnson famously knows almost no social restraints on his hedonistic and status-seeking pursuit of personal gratification. Lying? No problem. Loyalty? Never heard of it. Family responsibilities? None that he can think of. Consistency? Don't be daft. Integrity? No interest. Shame? You're kidding. Respect for the rules? They don't apply, he was given a permanent pass at birth. Modesty in lifestyle? Gimme gimme gimme. Fellow feeling? ... etc etc. As he apparently told Cummings when musing that he ought to be his own chief of staff and head of communications: so I'll fuck it up - so what? What's the point if I can't do whatever I want?
And then look at the face, whenever he's in any kind of sporting endeavour - even with children.
That's naked aggression, unabashed will to win. 'King of the World'. Will to Power.
And now ask why it took what it did, to get him to resign; more even than Thatcher or Gordon Brown. And consider that, if he isn't forcibly defenestrated right now, he'll still be plotting ways to hang on during whatever process the Tories will now go through to find a successor.
You might think what follows a little extreme; but if you want a graphic portrayal of the animality of the Will to Power in its rawest human form, read Robert Harris' Archangel. The historical backdrop is Stalin's reign of terror but by the time of the action of the novel, that's at one remove; it's the past. What's chilling, truly chilling, is the appearance in the book of Harris' most menacing creation** - the long-lost Son of Stalin, a beast of pure, undeflectable Will to Power. It's through this device that Harris conjures up what it must have been like, even to think about dealing with Stalin, let alone opposing him. Lenin knew he was too dangerous for power. Probably everyone did. Much good did it do them.
OK, 'personable' Boris also has the buffoon about him and is not (so far as we know) given to personal violence, even if he was famously willing to facilitate it. But his will to win, to survive, to prevail in all circumstances and on his own terms, is not, errr, easily deflected.
Why are high inputs of energy needed to get him out, Clive? That's why.
** Even more chilling than his Cherie Booth in The Ghost