Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will soon be on Britain’s dole because he failed to live up to the “good chap theory of government” unwritten protocol.

That protocol is composed of the “invisible lines” that mandate how the leader of the UK should act, according to a July 12 webinar sponsored by The Economist.

Johnson trashed the good chap theory.

The cascade of scandals, resignations of key ministers and a “distant relationship with the truth” brought him down.

The “waters closed in over his head rather quickly,” an editor said.

Johnson’s likely successor, former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, is lobbying for the job as the “grown up candidate.”

Unlike the slew of PM wannabes, Sunak is the only person not promising to roll out big unfunded tax breaks that the struggling UK economy can hardly afford.

A vote by the 180K members of the Conservative Party in September will determine the next prime minister.

He or she will not have an easy job.

The editors noted that Johnson was able to forge a winning coalition based on “unique factors.”

They included his breezy personality, promise to “level up” the impoverished north, support for Brexit and an opponent in Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbin who was “unfit for the office.”

Those factors no longer exist.

Brexit has turned out to be an economic disaster. No one serious would support a Brexit deal, said an editor.

There also is no current support for redistributing wealth from the prosperous south to the north.
The Labour Party has gotten its act together under Keir Starmer.

Johnson will use the remaining time in office to cut ribbons, make speeches and travel to Kyiv to visit his buddy, Ukraine president Volodymr Zelensky, in an effort to burnish his legacy.

That legacy will be based on a short but very chaotic time in office.

Congress has a golden opportunity to stand up for freedom of the press by supporting a bill proposed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib to shield journalists from the Espionage Act of 1917.

The more than 100-year-old law, which was originally intended for spies, has been used by the Dept. of Justice to prosecute sources of journalists who disclose information to the media in order to inform the American public, according to Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The Trump administration used the Espionage Act to charge WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

The Obama White House had considered charging Assange under the Espionage Act, but failed to do so because of First Amendment concerns.

The Biden administration picked up the Trump case.

Tlaib’s bill would exclude journalists, publishers and members of the general public from Espionage Act prosecution.

Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press, has called on Congress to repeal the Espionage Act and safeguard the First Amendment rights of whistleblowers and reporters.

Until that happens, passing of Tlaib’s measure will have to do.

Uber arranged shares-for-play deals with media barons in order to win favorable coverage of the ride-sharing company as it was trying to break into the European market, according to the Uber files, a collection of 124K documents that were leaked to the Guardian.

Uber targeted the UK’s Daily Mail, Germany’s Die Welt and Bild, France’s Les Echos and Italy’s La Repubblica.

A leaked 2015 email to Rachel Whetstone, who was senior VP communications and public policy, noted that Axel Springer, publisher of the German papers, was interested in a $5M media plus cash for equity deal. That outlay would gain their support and influence Germany and Brussels.

“I think having Springer onside is very valuable if we are to make progress in Germany… So anything we could do to work with them would be great,” Whetstone responded.

Mark MacGann, Uber former European lobbyist who leaked the documents, said Uber really didn’t need the money from the media companies. “We wanted the top-level political access and influence that came with the money,” he told the Guardian.