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Is the political seen a weekly conversation with new yorker writers and guests about politics. It's friday september sixth. I'm dorothy wickham executive editor of the the new yorker this week. The prime minister and the house of commons engaged in one of the most vicious political battles in british history. The revolt nope began after boris johnson who has been in office for only six weeks received the queen's approval to suspend parliament between september eleventh at october fourteenth that gave m._p.'s virtually no time to pass legislation that could stop the united kingdom from leaving the european union without a deal deal on october thirty first twenty-one members of johnson's conservative party dubbed. The rebel alliance were prominently among those who fought back. They passed a bill that would block a no deal exit from the e._u. And denied johnson's call for a general election johnson banned the mall from the the party and threatened to call an election in october and that was only the star on thursday a press conference at a police training center in yorkshire. You're johnson answered questions about brexit. Can you make to miss a day to the british public. You will not get back to brussels and ask for another delay to tobacco yes and and which gave ditch to give it design fast prime minister than going. Also that glad i had stayed. I i really cost two billion filed them on it. Achieves absolute auto what on earth is the point of a further delay same night. A new yorker staff writer joins me from london to discuss johnson's rise to power and what this week's dramas signal about the future of brexit and and the potential damage to british democracy sam welcome back. Hello hello very nice to be back. He had quite a week yeah yeah very much so we spoke last in march. When theresa may was still prime minister and she was experiencing her own parliamentary humiliations over brexit. She stepped down in june. Boris johnson could not be more different. <hes> she was known for her very sober kind of grinding brexit strategy johnson who is convinced that the british public is sick of this seemingly endless departure process and i'm sure he's right about that but he prides himself on his opportunistic kind of come what may approach to politics tell us a little bit about his journey from journalism awesome to ten downing street you completely right johnson. Theresa may couldn't be more different as has political creatures. Johnson is more like a celebrity. You know johnson razor a famous person in the u._k. Since the late ninety s firstly as a as a journalist to the daily telegraph russell's yes. I think you know within sort of political circles. He's really license his mid twenties when he was a really responsible for if you like creating a new genre of british journalism which started to see the european in union as something almost hilarious this kind of overreaching bureaucratic monster that wanted to get rid of bendy bananas and create uniform foam condoms sizes and all sorts of things johnson who had the kind of a taste for the absurd and for humor sort of started extremely successful career in right of british political commentary and so his gift are for you know some of this will sound familiar saying unstable is payable things coming up with something on the spur of the moment grabbing all the attention successfully but also we shouldn't underestimate johnson. He has a feel feel-good factor. Most people around the world probably know the image of johnson sagging on a zip wire during the twenty twelve olympic games games in london. When he was the mayor of london which are the politician could turn that to their advantage and yet everyone sort of lofts and says that goes along with his gaffes and his his lies and the rest of it and you know i think i think things are changing fast at the moment but that certainly the finger that that arrived in downing street this summer a completely different character to resume but inheriting exactly the same article situation and political challenge so you wrote yesterday for the new yorker dot com about the good chap theory of british government which i i loved. I'd never heard of that before. What is that and is it now gone forever. The theory of government coined by distinguished british touring coupe <hes> pity hennessy and it describes the way the british constitution works and the british constitution is is it was a kind of tricky phrase. The truth is that britain has a constitution. That's written down in literally thousands of different places in terms of parliamentary tree procedure in terms of court cases. It's this kind of pilot zest of processes that have kind of gone into the way that britain has been sort of more-or-less last democratically governed for the last five or six hundred years on the good chap theory of government is that people observe tradition. They stay within precedent. I think probably the kind of the best single example of this is the idea of commanding the confidence of the house of commons. When you've lost the confidence the ability to function and exert authority you are supposed to resign and that really is down to people ah in moments of extreme crisis intention sort of knowing that the game is up did know when the game was up yeah. I mean isn't black and white. Nothing's kind of black and white in this process resume certainly took advantage of certain situations according to parliamentary procedure but nonetheless in her showdowns sounds with parliament she basically played straight back and that is not johnson's way at all so give a sense of the mad scene this week and parliament parliament you know over here were so accustomed to cravenly compliant republicans in the house and the senate so it was just stunning to see the the audacity of the rebel alliance in action yeah so i think i'll take a step back and sort of say you know what was johnson awesome trying to achieve this week and sort of how did it go so wrong. Yes okay so he's sort of goal is to try and get britain out of the e see you on october thirty first and the play that he comes up with is to suspend parliament shut down both houses entirely full this critical period when m._p.'s could be passing motions. Oh passing thing laws trying to sort of get in his way. I'm johnson misjudged several things here. He misjudged how furious the house komo he misjudged how organized they would be and he misjudged the as you describe it the audacity acidy of really long-serving mainstream in many cases fairly unremarkable absolutely loyal conservative m._p.'s to go against him including nicholas soames churchill's seventy one year old grandson churchill churchill. I gather as a great hero figure to johnson. I mean it's remarkable. Nicholas soames former defense secretary grandson of of of of winston churchill. He goes door to door in his constituency during elections on horseback. He's almost a character he sort of embodies this kind of one one nation moderate conservatism he rebelled against the government three times in thirty seven years and once was enough for the johnson administration to to throw him out of the party <hes> and and i think to sort of add to these miscalculations the chilton miscalculated the public sympathy that would be on the side of of some of these longstanding m._p.'s w._n._y._c. studios is supported supported by i._f._c. films presenting offical secrets from the director of eye in the sky based on the untold true story here nightly stars as katharine gun a british spy with evidence evidence. Her government is lying to take the country to war with iraq. When she goes public. The administration tries to sweep it under the rug and she must risk a death sentence and the deportation of her family you to ensure the people know the truth. Also starring ray fines matt smith and matthew good now playing in select theaters visit official secrets dot movie for details. Hello podcast listeners. If you're a woman and you've ever considered making your own podcast or if you do make podcasts or if you think about podcasts hod casts or if you're starting podcast you should come to work it. W._n._y._c.'s podcast festival for women the smartest women in podcasting. We'll be sharing how they come. It was story ideas how they make money podcasting and how you can do it too. It's all happening on october. Third and fourth in los angeles register now at work. Get festival dot com. That's w. e. R. k. it festival dot com okay.