Lessons In Friendship At Work From Boris Johnson and Michael Gove

Everyone needs a work BFF...


by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

Despite the turmoil and scandal engulfing Westminster right now when it comes to allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, there is, it seems, some good news. Boris Johnson and Michael have put their differences aside and rekindled their friendship. How lovely. If you can forgive someone stabbing you in the back because they want the job you’re applying for, you can do anything.

In fact, such good friends are the two Brexiteers, that they send a sneaky co-authored letter to Theresa May which is being described by some as nothing short of ‘Orwellian’.

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In the letter, which was leaked to the Mail on Sunday, Johnson and Gove joined their rhetorical skills and complained that ministers are not putting ‘sufficient energy’ into Brexit preparations. The letter was, according to the Mail, entitled ‘EU Exit – Next Steps. For your and Gavin’s eyes only’. Gavin, of course, being Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s chief of staff. You can just imagine the two pals chuckling at their hilarious James Bond reference as they sealed the envelope containing their secret Brexit demands.

Brexit BFFs Johnson and Gove demand that the post-Brexit transition must end on June 30, 2021. They also want preparations to be made which account for the possibility of Britain not getting a deal from the EU and accuse the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, of allowing the EU to ‘hold [him] over a barrel’. Among other concerns voices by the terrible Eurosceptic twosome are that ‘ossified’ (aka stagnant) civil servants are seeking to wreck Brexit.

We can learn a lot about friendship from Boris and Michael. Sometimes, you just have to put your difference aside and focus on the bigger picture. A testament to this is the fact that Gove even backed his pal BoJo over the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ,who is currently being detained in Iran and stands accused of spying on the country. Johnson has found himself in very hot water after he said in Parliament that she had been ‘training journalists’ at the time of her arrest, a claim which her family completely refutes. She was, in fact, on holiday. The general consensus is that Boris put his foot firmly in his mouth when he made those remarks, so many were surprised when Gove seemed to back him up on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show by saying ‘I don’t know’ when asked if he knew what she had been doing in Iran. The combined comments of Gove and Johnson have lead to Nazanin’s husband fearing for her safety.

It’s really wonderful that the pair are work husbands once more. After all, it was only a little over a year ago he refused to back Boris in the Conservative leadership contest, fearing that he was unsuitable for government.

However, as anyone who has ever been burned by a frenemy at work knows, Boris and his mate Mike should think very carefully about their allegiance. As Dr Andrea Bonoir writes in The Friendship Fix creating an ‘all-for-one and one-for-all’ work partnership has its pitfalls. ‘If you and your closer-than-close co-worker are thought of as a package deal, you’re both liable to go down with the ship when one of you makes a mistake’. Johnson and Gove may be bolstering and covering for one another right now, but things could very quickly go south as they often do in politics. As Bonoir puts it, ‘being bosom buddies with a co-worker’, especially when your boss sees you as one and the same person, ‘doesn’t help either of you’ when the going gets tough.

That said, at a time when neither Gove nor Johnson appears to be at risk of being sacked by their boss, Theresa May, we’re sure they’re sitting back and giving each other a big old Brexit-y pat on the back.

Friends reunited, indeed.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

How Not To Get Fired: Lessons From Conservative MPs

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Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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