Craig Murray: Boris Johnson & the UK Decline

The fallen prime minister is just part of the overall disintegrating process. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his resignation statement outside Number 10 Downing Street on Thursday. (Kyle Heller / No 10 Downing Street)

By Craig Murray

All Empires end in ignominy. That of the United Kingdom is drawing to a close.

A century from now, the dominant historical narrative will be Chinese and Chinese historians will puzzle over how a prime minister, Boris Johnson, fell from office over a lie about what he knew of sexual harassment by a very junior member of his government.

Learned papers will be written over whether this was truly the cause, or whether the underlying socio-economic crisis caused by inflation and Brexit was the real determinant.

Chinese books (or their technological equivalent) will be written on the crisis of neoliberalism and how Western society reached unsustainable levels of concentration of capital and wealth inequality.

Acres have been written in the mainstream media about Johnson’s lying and personal immorality, but there is very little serious effort to understand why so many in society have been prepared to tolerate this. The answer is that neo-liberalism has succeeded in destroying societal values, to the extent that anti-social and even sociopathic behavior no longer appears peculiar.

In a society where authority condones, and constructs a system to enable, personal fortunes of $200 billion or more while millions of children in the same country are genuinely hungry and poorly housed, what values is the socio-political structure telling people to hold? What value is placed on empathy? Ruthless ambition and resource grabbing is applauded, encouraged and held up as the model to be followed.

More and more, you are either part of the elite or you are struggling.

In the U.K., the Thatcherite dream of mass property ownership is abruptly canceled. Social mobility and meritocracy are changed from an opportunity for large scale social advancement by multitudes, into Hunger Games. Where significant numbers of young people see their best shot at financial comfort as selection for “Love Island,” how do we expect them to be repulsed that Johnson was having multiple affairs while his then wife was struggling with cancer?

Johnson is explicitly a devotee of the great man theory of history. But in fact his startling political career is in itself merely a symptom of the decline of the United Kingdom, from great Imperial power to the breakup of the metropolitan state (the latter of course started to take formal effect in 1921).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 6. (Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street)

Brexit was just a convulsion, as the United Kingdom went through the psychological trauma of accepting its change in status from great power to reasonably senior European state. There is a great treatise to be written on this and the consequent wave of populist English nationalism.

You may like to note the constant Tory use of the phrase “world-leading” in risible circumstances; the fact that even yesterday Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition, felt the need to comment on government collapse while planted between three Union Jacks; the constant militarism and fetishizing of the armed forces on TV, and the desire for reflected glory by fighting a great war to the blood of the very last Ukrainian.

Peter Oborne’s meticulous compilation of Johnson lies shows how peculiar it is that the crisis should come over a comparatively minor lie about knowledge of bad sexual behavior, in which Johnson for once was not personally involved. But it is quite wrong to think of Johnson as unique. Oborne’s wonderful book The Rise of Political Lyingchronicles the massive attack on governmental standards perpetrated by the charlatan Tony Blair, a former prime minister.

Johnson is just a part of a process. As the power of an Empire disintegrates, so do its mores. Since the second world war, over 60 states have become independent of British rule. The pink bits on the map (“this colony is where your tapioca comes from”) they showed me so proudly at primary school have shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. Thank God children are no longer taught to sing “Over the seas there are little brown children” in need of conversion (I really was taught that, I am not making stuff up).

As the U.K.’s military, economic and political power have collapsed, so have its political mores — both for good and for bad. Johnson is but a turd spewed to the top of the gushing sewer of British decline.

Every one of those 60 states that have left British rule, was warned that it would struggle without the U.K. No state has ever wanted to return to British rule. Fellow Scots, take note.

I also want to make plain to my English readers — and remember I am half English myself — that I genuinely believe the breakup of the highly artificial British union will be very beneficial to England. Scottish independence and Irish reunification are coming soon. Welsh independence is fast gathering support.

It will take the break-up of the U.K. to jolt the great power nostalgia and silly patriotism that underlies so much of Tory support — and that of other right wing Union Jack fetishists like Starmer.

Only the shock of the formal closure of the British state will precipitate the psychological change needed for England to become a modern, forward looking, middle-ranking European state with concern for domestic and international fairness.

The U.K. has been in socio-political turmoil since 2016 and is now entering profound economic crisis. These very days are the end-time of the United Kingdom. Rejoice!

I shall leave the last word to that great radical Percy Bysshe Shelley:

 Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

This article is from

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

20 comments for “Craig Murray: Boris Johnson & the UK Decline

  1. c
    July 10, 2022 at 12:13

    Sometimes a weakened PM is preferable to a more dangerous authoritarian candidate with a higher standard of personal morality. Just 200,000 people will choose the next leader, who will promise to tell the truth, ‘improve’ national security and invest in the military.

  2. Saint Ewart
    July 10, 2022 at 03:51

    Stalin said you don’t have to worry about the big countries , only about the little countries. Scotland 5milliom , wales 3 million. England all the rest 65million+.

    No way England allows a hostile tiny nation to ally with a hostile big country and become a real threat. Same with NI, since land invasions are expensive (d day anybody) England keeps a base on Eire. Just realpolitik…. Anyway why give sovereignty to a place just so they can just hand it straight over to Brussels.? Your welcome.

  3. Otto Kern
    July 9, 2022 at 17:14

    I am one of those Germans who were inspired by a great love for England, for the United Kingdom, by the tremendous power that enabled this small island nation to make tremendous civilisational advances in the fields of politics, economics and culture that served all mankind. I still remember the courtesy of English motorists in the late 1950s.
    The English language will be a lasting document. At Esperanto congresses it was a pleasure to listen in Esperanto to which variant of English would prevail, the BE or the AE.
    When I attended a Hindu wedding in India some years ago, I read in either the Times of India or the Hindustan Times that the non-Hindi speaking peoples of India preferred to learn English rather than Hindi.
    Many deaths could have been avoided if the peoples subjected to British colonial rule had seen as their goal becoming equal citizens of the Empire or a democratic Commonwealth.
    Unfortunately, the English elites did not possess the wisdom of the ancient Romans who, in the 3rd century AD, granted Roman citizenship to all freeborns of the Imperium Romanum.
    But without the abolition of slavery, the Roman Empire also ended in disgrace.
    After all, Xi Jinping – as I read in the Global Times a few years ago – recommended the works of Shakespeare to all Chinese, alongside the Communist Manifesto and Goethe’s Faust.
    In the socialist future of humanity, the great heritage of the small island people will also be preserved, together with the legendary King Arthur and his wizard Merlin.

    Otto Kern
    DE-37412 Herzberg – the Esperanto town

    Translated with (www) (free version)

  4. ray Peterson
    July 8, 2022 at 19:00

    Craig, neither you nor the 14 CN commentators are asking
    about the gorilla in closet!
    Are there any consequences for Julian Assange’s case?
    That “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt.6.24),
    may also bring down empires.

  5. Billy Field
    July 8, 2022 at 17:36

    The Life and Lies of Boris Johnson…

  6. Margaret Gallagher
    July 8, 2022 at 15:21

    You are taking his behaviour far too seriously. He was put in place precisely because he is the way he is. The whole thing is a pantomime aimed at keeping people’s attention occupied and their emotions channelled. Now his role is complete – the place appears to be a shambles and they are now going to set up another WEF stooge who looks and behaves more ‘appropriately’ to come and rescue us all from the Bad Things Boris has done.. Then, if they call an early election (and they have been thinking of that for a while, as they have done LOADS of surveys in recent months on people’s opinions of both main parties and the three main leaders), they will have their WEF zombie starmer ‘leading’ the Labour Party, and another sleazy WEF zombie in post as tory PM. They can’t lose, then, no matter which party wins. I imagine they might then see how things are going, popularity-wise, as to whether they go for the election this year or not. Depends how much time they think they need to kick off the next stage of oppression, disguised as protection, without losing so much credibility that the populace kicks off – as they already have in many parts of the world… Either way, their zombie will be in charge – and they will have a much heavier hand than Boris did. A role he is not fit for. He is the clown. Now comes the lion tamer.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    July 8, 2022 at 14:59

    Empires come…empires go. And so it is for both the UK and the US.

  8. July 8, 2022 at 14:54

    And yet, the much more problematic Joseph Robinette Biden remains in power in the United States along with his family, as does Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and a coterie of the most corrupt people, imaginable and their families; although Hollywood has amply expanded our imaginations.

  9. dave
    July 8, 2022 at 14:25

    “[N]eo-liberalism has succeeded in destroying societal values, to the extent that anti-social and even sociopathic behavior no longer appears peculiar.”

    “Ruthless ambition and resource grabbing is applauded, encouraged and held up as the model to be followed. More and more, you are either part of the elite or you are struggling.”


  10. Guy Grand
    July 8, 2022 at 13:39

    The decline of the UK, and its subsequent inability to wreck catastrophe upon the rest of the world, is devoutly to be wished. As a public (i.e. privately educated) schoolboy I was taught those same obscene tropes of British exceptionalism. I voted for Brexit knowing it was economically disastrous because of the destructive consequences. The break up of the “United Kingdom” can’t come soon enough.

  11. Alex Cox
    July 8, 2022 at 13:30

    Good piece, but I have two criticisms. On what basis does Craig believe there will be any human civilization, Chinese or otherwise, in 100 years time?

    And what is the purpose of the Ozymandius poem? Ozymandius presumably had giant works in the distant past. BoJo, gone in the blink of an eye, has no works at sll.

    • dam
      July 8, 2022 at 17:06

      This was my first thought. I aint sure they’ll be any scholars anywhere at this point in 100 years.

  12. Litchfield
    July 8, 2022 at 13:02

    Great essay, and great choice of poem—a genuine token of British, or English, greatness.

  13. Charles Carroll
    July 8, 2022 at 12:28

    And so goes the American state.

  14. Jeff Harrison
    July 8, 2022 at 11:23

    I must confess to having completely forgotten about Ozymandias. Personally, I think that “Great” Britain will ultimately be faced with the blow back from this rousing tune:
    Oh, flower of Scotland!
    When will we see yer like again?
    Who fought and died for yer wee bit hill and glen
    And stood against him, Proud Edward’s army,
    And sent him homewards tae think again.

  15. Alan Ross
    July 8, 2022 at 09:32

    No tears for the end of the British Empire. In the meantime, what effect will it have on the UK’s growing status as just another U.S. colony?

  16. July 8, 2022 at 08:09

    “Only the shock of the formal closure of the British state will precipitate the psychological change needed for England to become a modern, forward looking, middle-ranking European state with concern for domestic and international fairness.”
    How about, “only a spiritual, cultural, and political awakening and the dedication and practice of people and institutions throughout society to commitment, commitment, creativity and compassion informed by things you learned in kindergarten will bring true radical (etymology of radical: ‘originating in the root or ground;’ of body parts or fluids, ‘vital to life,’ from Latin radicalis ‘of or having roots’) will bring the real changes (not reform) that are necessary to ensure empowerment and well-being of all members of society.” In other words, when corrupt and ruthless gangster capitalism (oligarchy) is replaced by democratic socialism.

  17. Sam F
    July 8, 2022 at 07:14

    “As the power of an Empire disintegrates, so do its mores.”
    The UK and US empires disintegrated largely due to economic development of their colonies.
    The economic development of former colonies parallels the technological development of domestic tyranny.
    Domestic tyranny becomes stronger, because the tools of democracy are controlled by plutocracy.
    Their nationalism became divided by inequities, due to the destruction of democracy by economic power.
    The suppression of foreign rights in the name of imperial stability parallels the negation of the rights of citizens.
    The same weapons used to suppress foreign rebellions are brought home to suppress domestic dissent.
    The tyrannical end state of democracies is more stable than democracy.

  18. peter mcloughlin
    July 8, 2022 at 05:58

    “As the power of an Empire disintegrates, so does its mores.”
    And it is for power that states go to war: except power is an illusion. That is why all empires eventually face the conflict they’re desperate to avoid – defeat. Nothing in history has changed, the pattern’s the same. Unless it does, humanity is facing WW III.
    For more on this search: A free ebook: The Pattern Of History and Fate of Humanity

  19. WhatASurprise
    July 8, 2022 at 05:46

    “The fallen prime minister is just part of the overall disintegrating process.”

    You are mistaken, the “forced resignation” of Mr. Johnson was an attempt to delay the overall disintegrating process of “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and options in respect of “The United States America’s” war with the world including itself.

    You apparently do no understand the history of “The Conservative and Unionist Party” or their co-operative relations with their associates who are not subject to “emotionalism”; but subject others to “emotionalism”.

    The “gentleman” has outlived his usefulness and it is hoped that the “emotionalism” of others will place “blame” solely on his bad-appleness, and in preparation the Super D notices being discussed as National Security Bill 2022 will aid in the process, if only as proof of concept.

Comments are closed.