JOHN DERBYSHIRE: National Conservatives To Boris Johnson—Thanks, And Good Riddance
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[Excerpted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively through]

Overseas, this week’s big headline was the resignation on Thursday of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson became Prime Minister three years ago when Theresa May resigned after failing to implement Brexit. There was a general election in December that year. Johnson’s party, the Conservative Party, won in a moderate landslide against the main opposition Labour Party.

Since the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was a communist, or as near one as makes no difference, Boris Johnson did his country a favor by getting elected there two and a half years ago. He then did them a further favor by implementing Brexit. It took full effect in January last year.

Those two achievements aside, there is nothing positive to say about Johnson.

True, I start out with a mild personal prejudice from back in 2005, when he was editor of the London Spectator—the London one, not the American one.

After Hurricane Katrina the Spectator, for whom I had done occasional pieces in the 1980s, asked me for an opinion piece about the disaster and its aftermath. I put a piece together, including some frank, although not unsympathetic, remarks about the blacks of New Orleans, and sent it off to them. Johnson rejected it as “unsuitable.“ (So, subsequently, did National Review.) You can read it here: You Can’t Talk About That, September 9, 2005.

No big deal. Freelancers take this kind of thing in stride. I blamed myself for having forgotten that Johnson, as well as being a magazine editor, was also a Conservative Member of Parliament. On matters of race, Britain’s Conservative Party is even more cowardly than our own GOP.

Johnson was also, although I did not know this at the time, heading for the door on his way out of the Spectator editorship, making him even less inclined to take chances with Political Incorrectness. When you’re heading out the door you don’t want to be dragging tin cans tied to your ankles making a noise and attracting attention.

That was a very minor abrasion, though, and I don’t think it has seriously warped my judgment.

The proximate reason for Johnson’s resignation is that members of his government have been resigning en masse: fifty-something of them by midweek, including fourteen cabinet officers. The proximate reason for all that was that Johnson was caught out, for the umpteenth time, telling little pork pies. (That’s Cockney rhyming slang for lies. I’m an immigrant enriching American culture!)

These particular porkies concerned Johnson’s close colleague Chris Pincher, a Member of Parliament who had groped two men at a private club—information delivered in the inimitable style of the New York Post as: “An ill-timed pinch by a man named Pincher.“

When first tickled…sorry, I mean tackled, when first tackled about the incident Johnson had claimed no knowledge of it, but he later had to admit he had known all along.

Not a big deal really. Johnson was always regarded as a colorful character, operating on the edge of respectability. However, two and a half years of colorfulness—most memorably, wild boozy parties when the nation was under lockdown and Mrs. Johnson’s carefree use of public money for private satisfaction—all of that had a cumulative effect [Inside Carrie Johnson’s time at No 10-decorating scandal, job rumours, two babies and a secret wedding, by Saffron Otter, Mirror (UK), July 7, 2022].

The little untruths about Pincher’s groping—or Groper’s pinching, whatever it was—were just the last straw.

For us National Conservatives, the words that came most readily to the tongue on hearing of Johnson’s resignation are: good riddance!

Our problem with Johnson is not that charge sheet of petty offenses against truth and respectability: it is that in spite of his party officially being the Conservative Party, we cannot think of a single thing he tried to conserve.

Sure, he accomplished Brexit at last—a clear victory for nationalism over globalism. Having restored Britain’s independence, though, he did nothing to fortify that independence, to conserve it. To the contrary, most of his actions in government weakened it.

This was most obviously the case in the matter of immigration, although here it was perfect lack of action that did the damage.

I’ve been telling you about the swelling floods of Third World opportunists crossing the English Channel illegally from France in boats supplied by organized syndicates of smugglers. Boris Johnson never showed the least concern about this. It was two and a half years before his government took any action on it at all; and then the action was a mere gesture that everyone knew would have no practical effect.

And that is only to speak of illegal immigration. In 2020, the first year of Johnson’s Prime Ministership, the population of the U.K. increased by 356,000. In the second year, 2021, it increased another 321 thousand. For 2022 there looks to be another 291 thousand increase. Figure a million new people every three years.

As in the U.S., most of this increase is from legal immigration. Practically all of the increase has been in England and Wales.

[When reading population stats for the U.K., in fact, you always have to be mindful as to whether the numbers are for the U.K. as a whole, for Great Britain (which means the U.K. minus Northern Ireland), for England and Wales (Great Britain minus Scotland), or just for England.]

Migration Watch, the main immigration-monitoring organization over there, tells us that for England and Wales, 350 thousand a year was the average annual increase from 2011 to 2021.

The U.K., especially England, is bursting at the seams. In 2020 almost ten million U.K. residents had been  born abroad—more than one in seven. Population density in England is now 1,114 per square mile. That is almost twice the figure for Germany (588), and nearly four times the density of France (303).

The consequences are dire: for healthcare, housing, roads, schools, welfare, the environment, and law enforcement. Everyone knows it. Native British people—including the children and grandchildren of 20th-century immigrants—gripe about it constantly.

And yet Johnson’s government had no immigration policy, unless “just let it rip“ counts as a policy.

Johnson has always been a naive multiculturalist. He often made cheery speeches to that effect when he was Mayor of London, 2008-2016, hailing the gorgeous mosaic that London has become—which is to say, the dwindling number of white British people living there.

The closer you look at Johnson, in fact, the more you wonder what he’s doing in a party that calls itself conservative. In the Group of Seven summit a year ago he actually borrowed a phrase from Joe Biden, urging the other attendees to be sure that they were “building back better.“

And then he pushed that phrase still further to the left, adding:

And building back greener. And building back fairer. And building back more equal. Maybe in a more gender neutral, a more feminine, way.

[PM Boris Johnson’s remarks at the first session of the G7 Summit, Prime Minister’s Office, June 11, 2021]

Would you excuse me for a moment? [Retching sounds.] Sorry about that.

I’d like to tell you that all this Open-Borders blitheness, all this Bidenry and greenery and equality and gender-neutrality, put Johnson at odds with his party and helped precipitate his downfall.

I’d like to tell you that—but I can’t. The center of gravity of Britain’s Conservative Party is approximately at Nancy Pelosi’s belly-button. It is a party of metropolitan progressives—like Boris Johnson. The two main opposition parties, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, are even worse, if you can imagine worse.

Britain, like the USA, is ruled by a Uniparty. At the level of the national government, there is no real dissent, no substantive differences of opinion. They all want the same things.

British people who want anything different—for example, the majorities who have for decades been favoring less immigration—are shut out from government, the media, and academe. Sounds familiar, right?

If Boris Johnson transgressed against that orthodoxy, his transgressions were of style, not substance.

He never had any substance.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

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