Within only weeks of being fired by Prime Minister Theresa May for flagrant irresponsibility and security leaks, former UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson is now a leading ally of Boris Johnson in his drive to become prime minister.
As I documented on March 9 on this platform in my article “What Makes Gavin Run?” Williamson knows no shame or integrity and is the living embodiment of the repulsive, two-faced backstabber, intriguer and liar Sammy Glick in the great writer Budd Schulberg’s legendary 1941 novel of Hollywood “What Makes Sammy Run?” So he is a natural fit for Johnson, whose entire career has been dictated by similar shameless, reckless lies, opportunism and crass incompetence.
No one gets every, or usually most, professional predictions right, and in the news business sensible people make the best of their brilliant insights – or lucky guesses – when they can. But I have seldom hit a hole-in-one prediction that came true as quickly as my column on Williamson did.
On March 9, Williamson, after only a decade in the UK main chamber of parliament, the ancient House of Commons was still riding high and making a fool of himself insulting major nations from Russia to China and also the UK’s badly-needed European allies as the most incompetent defense chief in the modern history of his nation.
On May 1, less than two months after my article appeared – and with no causality that I could see – Williamson was humiliatingly sacked by his benefactor, Prime Minister Theresa May after being accused of leaking highly confidential national security information to the media.
Williamson immediately turned on his long-time benefactor Mrs. May savagely and helped drive her from office – which was admittedly long overdue. She resigned on June 7, just over a single month after sacking him.
Williamson then joined May’s arch-enemy, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had relentlessly schemed to topple her for years and joined Johnson’s own campaign to win the leadership of the rapidly disintegrating Conservative Party and thence become prime minister.
At the time of writing, Johnson remains far in the lead in the contest to replace May as prime minister despite repeated attacks on his character, utter lack of political consistency, convictions or achievement and his entertainingly squalid private life.
Johnson is twice divorced with neither marriage lasting longer than five years and he is now being accused of screaming rows with his 20-years-younger girl friend that may or may not have involved him hitting her, which he naturally denies.
Through all this Williamson, who like Johnson himself does not lack for energy in the service of his own ambition, has been rounding up support for his new master among Conservative Party Members of Parliament.
According to many UK media reports – which Williamson understandably denies – his most effective weapons are bullying, bluster and threats. These are patterns of behavior which those who have worked for him or who have bothered following his career over the years find extremely convincing and in character (or, rather, lack of it).
Reports are also circulating in the UK media – which are usually well-connected and informed on such matters – that Williamson is holding out to be reappointed as the UK’s defense chief or as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is my native land and is tiny in size. But over the past century and more it has repeatedly displayed an infinite capacity for generating wars, embarrassment and catastrophe for both Ireland and the UK, which otherwise get along easily and well.
Putting Williamson in charge of such a delicate, nervously balanced and ultra-sensitive province is like appointing a Sith Lord as head of the Jedi Knights in “Star Wars” or putting the late Boston underworld mass murderer Whitey Bulger in charge of the FBI.
Therefore it will probably happen.
Because like attracts like, competent honorable people in any country and culture seek to promote and advance others with the same qualities and empty, shallow sociopaths and confidence tricksters similarly admire and advance people exactly like themselves.
On Monday, June 24, without mentioning Williamson once, one of the UK’s most experienced and respected journalists, war correspondents and historians, Sir Max Hastings wrote a scathing article in the liberal “Guardian” newspaper entitled “I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfitted to be prime minister.”
Therefore Johnson will re-elevate Williamson, either to drive Northern Ireland back into civil war or destroy the remaining security of the entire UK as defense secretary once again. And Williamson will remain loyal, until he in his turn sees the chance to stab Johnson in the back and briefly rule as prime minister until he in his own turn is politically knifed and toppled by one of his own hand-picked sociopaths.
And Sammy Glick will rise again – on the suffering and smashed lives of everyone else.