Boris Johnson reminds us never to laugh off the court jester.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson laid down his strongest leadership challenge yet recently. The ambitious blonde wrote a rousing 4,300 word article in the Daily Telegraph on Friday the 15th of September, exactly a week before Theresa May’s big speech in Florence on Friday the 22nd. The optimistic, if not slightly naive and complexity-insensitive, article outlines his bold and bright perspective on Britain after Brexit. Since then, he has continued to shake the ship that is Theresa Mays’s handle on Brexit.
Political ‘experts’ and cynics alike have, and will continue to, point out Boris’s apparent reliance on charm over substance. However, this underestimates the power of being distinctive. Donald Trump, the other blonde mophead – alright, it’s almost beige – on the other side of the pond made this point spectacularly in the US presidential race. School ground politics, where popularity trumps all, is the rule of the game when politics is settled by popular vote.
Theresa May, the incumbent British PM, is wounded and waxing un-lyrical after a humiliating election bid earlier this year, losing ground to a man almost everyone (including those in Labour’s inner circle) wrote off. If nothing else, the recent UK general election proved Theresa May was just not popular. In a world where stage presence is top priority, and charisma matters, May is more limp biscuit than Limp Bizkit.
The Pfeffel fox, on the other hand, has charm coming out of his ears. Character and distinctiveness sticks in the mind, the verbal equivalent of the colour grey doesn’t. While Boris is polarising, May’s…“meh.” As the two directly and indirectly face-off in the coming weeks and months, expect this to shine through.
When thinking about political leadership, forget about what you think should matter, and try get to grips with what does. In the UK, Boris the baker (and trouble-maker) has warmed up the oven, kneaded the dough and now he’s letting it proof. It will rise, chemistry dictates that.
Then, all that’s left, is for the bun fight to begin.
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Image: New Statesmen