Boris Johnson flew home from vacation thinking he'd get his old job back as UK Prime Minister, only to find himself iced out by old cronies

The rapid collapse of Liz Truss's government after 44 days sent Britain's governing Conservative Party scrambling to find a new Prime Minister, with the obvious favorite being Rishi Sunak—the sensible "centrist" so thoroughly thrashed by insensible right-winger Truss last time. But it appeared this weekend like Boris Johnson—Truss's disgraced and ditched predecessor—thought he had a shot at getting his old job back. He even cut short a holiday to fly back to the UK and sound out his chances.

Here he is in a photo taken by a supporter, Lee Anderson, sent to the papers. For a moment I was tempted to offer a jocular "doesn't he look well!" but sometimes the grim truth of something bears witness. Johnson looks like a salted corpse, as terrifying to children as he is terrified of vegetables, moisturizer and hair salons.

No sooner than the image was plastered over the tabloids than Sunak reported he had the 100 parliamentary backers required to stand in the contest, while Boris was forced to concede—despite claiming, unconvincingly, that he also had met that threshold—that he had no chance of winning.

Sunak's only remaining opposition is Penny Mordaunt, who seems unlikely to pass the 100-backer hurdle by Monday's deadline. And so he will soon likely be the second Prime Minister in a row to be appointed by his party rather than approved by voters. He will be Britian's third in as many months, the youngest since the 18th century, and the richest since the dawn of man.