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It’s the unknown unknowns that will do for Johnson

Politics Home got me thinking this morning. It has a story on the £5 million the government is to spend on adverts attacking the idea of Scottish independence. As it noted:

A government source told the [Sunday Times] of real fears inside Number 10 over the potential disruption of a second referendum, saying: “There is a consensus in Downing Street that this is the one issue – perhaps after Brexit – that could derail Johnson’s premiership.”

The implication is that there are only two issues that could derail the Johnson government, and both are related to sovereignty. I confess my reaction was ‘how’s that for a small world view?’

So what else could derail the Johnson government? And for this purpose I will assume Brexit means Brexit, i.e. us leaving the EU and that it does not mean the hard Brexit that it seems Johnson is intent on.

Blue tape – and the massive cost of hard Brexit could derail his government.

So too could Northern Ireland.

A failure at COP26 – which I fear – would do a great deal of harm.

Not addressing climate change in general could.

Failing to deliver for the ‘Red Wall’ could paint it red again.

A global financial crisis – which is now just one trigger point away from happening given the scale of private debt around the world – could be pretty disastrous.

A natural disaster might – and we have one potentially looming right now.

Chlorinated chicken might just do it.

As could the sale of the NHS.

And that’s just for starters.

But what’s really the case is that the biggest thing that will bring the Johnson government down is the inability of those in Downing Street to appraise the risk that they might be brought down.

And it’s that which will do for them.

They think what will bring them down is under their control. The known knowns and unknowns is what they worry about. It’s the unknown unknowns that will get them. They almost always do.

 

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