It has been a simply astonishing 12 months – probably the most remarkable year in recent history – and not even the most perspicacious observer could have possibly predicted recent events.
If you wrote the happenings of the last few months as the plot of a dark and gritty political thriller, publishers would have rejected it out of hand as ridiculously far-fetched.
For Johnson, it has been a year he won’t forget in a hurry for both personal and political reasons.
In personal terms he achieved his lifelong ambition of becoming Prime Minister – or “king of the world” as he called it as a boy – and then, within the span of a single calendar month, he almost died of the Covid-19 pandemic and then saw the birth of a son. These are the sort of life’s landmarks that are likely to stick in the memory for a long time to come.
But in terms of politics it has also been a momentous period – the Parliamentary quagmire over Brexit, a famous and emphatic General Election victory, and then at the end of January this year, the UK finally emerging as a free and independent nation once again after almost half a century of subjugation under the yoke of the undemocratic and unaccountable EU bureaucracy.
Boris Johnson became Prime Minister because his predecessor, Theresa May, had been rejected repeatedly over her compromise deal agreed with the EU.
It is worth noting that the ardent Remainers in the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, the Conservatives and the SNP, who are now squealing about the threat of a “no deal” Brexit, had ample opportunities to avoid that eventuality and accept Mrs May’s compromise, which I supported at the time, but they decided not to do that.
Instead the Remainer Parliament, along with the entire establishment elite, sabotaged Mrs May’s compromise deal, and then halted any further progress, repeatedly blocking a general election where the people could have their say.
Even an attempt at proroguing Parliament, in the gift of the executive for decades, was blocked by the Supreme Court in a nakedly political move that trashed the court’s reputation for neutrality.
With all these forces up against him, Johnson certainly had a fight on his hands, but eventually the impasse was broken when Jeremy Corbyn, deluded into thinking he could win, agreed to a General Election.
What followed was little short of a landslide, with the Conservatives securing an 80-seat majority, largely thanks to former Labour voters in the north turning Tory over Brexit, while Labour posted its worst election performance since 1935.
That was a game changer. Parliament quickly ratified the withdrawal agreement from the EU and Monsieur Barnier was put on notice that his previous bullying of Mrs May’s officials would no longer be tolerated.
But just as things were looking up, along came the Covid-19 pandemic, which nobody saw coming (although there are lots of people who reckon they got it right, but only after the fact).
As if things could not get any more complicated, the Prime Minister tested positive for the virus, then quickly became seriously ill, and spent several days in an intensive care unit apparently on the brink of death.
Thankfully he recovered and about three weeks later he announced his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, had given birth to a son, sparking much vile abuse and bonkers conspiracy theories that we have come to expect.
So where are we now? Well, Boris has had the most difficult first 12 months that anyone could imagine, and he’s still standing.
There are big questions to be asked about the spiralling debt and the response to the pandemic – and let’s not forget the economy has been devastated.
But the good news is that the Conservatives have a solid majority and an election is probably at least four years off. I believe fair-minded Britons will give the Prime Minister the intervening period to prove himself.
My ardent hope for Boris and for Britain is that the next 12 months are a bit calmer and less eventful than the last.
Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.