How long Boris Johnson will last is anybody’s guess – weeks, to the next haircut or even into and beyond a second term.
But have no doubt they will get him in the end.
After all, they eventually got Margaret Thatcher who was a model of propriety and application compared with Boris Johnson.
Chancellor Nigel Lawson even damaged the economic recovery that set up her 1990 denouement.
Boris is used to living on the edge. He has been doing it for years – long, I suspect, before he was out of short pants. He does not make things easy for himself – or his supporters. As an ex-No 10 press secretary, I identify him as Trouble with a capital T.
He is also a privileged toff from Eton yet has an almost unique capacity to establish a rapport with the common man.
They like a bit of flamboyance in their politicians and I have little doubt that over the past couple of years millions have said rather admiringly of him “He’s a bit of a lad, that one”.
He is also as well endowed with luck as waywardness. Some would say he needed to be born lucky.
Napoleon would certainly have identified him as a lucky general. And luck and intelligence – as distinct from judgment – have carried him a long way.
The issue is how much longer they can sustain him.
The gilt, it seems, is coming off the gingerbread. Polls suggest that the Red Wall he painted Blue is disillusioned and the Tories are braced for an 800-seat drubbing at the mid-term local elections.
That alone would spell trouble. But “partygate” goes on and on.
The PM is expected to collect more fines for No 10 boozing during the Covid lockdowns.
Sue Gray’s official report into the saga of relaxation in Downing Street has yet to appear. And now Parliament is to conduct an inquiry into whether Boris lied to the House of Commons over one of the parties.
Talk about milking it!
Moreover, so far as we know, nobody else is being retrospectively investigated for breaking the Covid restrictions and Nicola Sturgeon has got away with not having a mask on just before wearing them was relaxed.
But there is one interesting and perhaps significant thing about the milking. It smacks of desperation.
I fully accept that Boris, having laid down the law for conduct during the pandemic, should have strictly followed it.
But it is not entirely clear to me whether a group in No 10 working cheek by jowl during the pandemic should be fined for having a drink together during a break.
Given Whitehall’s propensity even now for working from home, these No 10 drinkers should perhaps be admired for their dedication to the task of beating Covid.
In short, there is at least an argument against all the fuss over “partygate”.
More important, Boris and his team won the race out of the worst of Covid, thanks to a world-beating vaccination drive.
It is one of four singular achievements of his troubled tenure after routing that dangerous Leftie, Jeremy Corbyn, in a General Election, getting Brexit more or less done and now his world leadership over the Western response to the Ukraine invasion.
Is he to be brought down because of a few drinks in the office or No 10 garden? If so, historians will surely condemn his party for lacking any sense of proportion.
Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the Tories would forfeit any respect for their political acumen if they dispensed with Mr Johnson while pure evil resides in the Kremlin, France and
Germany are Western liabilities, the USA not up to much either and Western economies ravaged by Covid.
This is not to mention the nationalist enemies within who want to break up the UK.
It is not as though there is a PM-in-waiting in either the Tory or the Labour parties.
Indeed, it is a common complaint these days that the standard of our politicians has seldom been lower.
The time has come to recognise the fact that Mr Johnson is a flawed human being and politician.
There are a lot of them about. But in the circumstances there is more to be said for him than against him.