Political opportunism as hyper-parasitism

The UK is entering what may be the final act of an extended political farce that has been underway since the appointment of the disastrous David (“I’m giving up my time to govern”) Cameron in 2010.  The appointment of Liz Truss as the fourth Conservative prime minister in a row after the departure of Boris Johnson brings a new level of self-serving mediocrity to British politics.  Johnson, a populist opportunist, manipulated anti-European sentiment during the unnecessary EU referendum of 2016, in order to destroy the premiership of his Etonian rival, David Cameron.  Johnson then worked assiduously to undermine Cameron’s hapless successor, Theresa (“breakfast means breakfast”) May.  Now Johnson in his turn has been ousted in a further intensification of Tory in-fighting, the ageing membership having been lured towards the apparition of a Thatcher lookalike as his successor.  No matter that Johnson has been replaced by another political opportunist, who campaigned to remain in the EU, but has successfully persuaded the increasingly right-wing membership of the Conservative party that she alone can carry the Brexit revolution forward.  Of course, Brexit is not a political destination but a process, an ideological shark that must keep moving to stay alive as Fintan O’Toole and other commentators have pointed out.  Although Johnson and Truss both claim that Brexit has been “done” it remains a poisonous mist that continues to infect all around it, damaging agriculture, manufacturing industry, trade, universities, and so on.  In inheriting Johnson’s parliamentary majority Truss becomes a political hyper-opportunist feeding off the political capital of her predecessor.  We should note that the phenomenon of hyper-parasitism in nature can takes complex ecological forms, with some plant galls displaying at least five levels of parasitism.  Similarly, the emergence of political hyper-opportunism contains many layers of intrigue, and could be likened to a kind of political gall — shall we call it Brexit — since the definition of a gall is an “abnormal outgrowth” which can happen from time to time even in democracies.