If elected leader of the Conservatives it is impossible to predict how Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tackle such a poisonous chalice. The leader’s character is only one facet of a complex web of political forces – the EU, civil service, media, Parliament and the electorate. Whatever his strengths and weaknesses, failure seems more likely than success.
Boris comes across as a colourful, clever, likeable but somewhat idle and unreliable chap who may have no clear idea about tackling the job of Prime Minister. He may simply be very ambitious and achieving his core ambition, tasting the pinnacle of political power, lining himself up for another move when things fall apart – that may be enough. We can’t tell.
Yet the Conservatives need a real leader, a breath of something different, a clear contrast with the politically correct loons and grey managerial types we encounter in modern politics. They need someone to take on Jeremy Corbyn and make him look foolish. Not a difficult task of course but still essential if the party aims to deal with the Brexit Party and find a way through Brexit intact.
Many Conservative MPs may see Boris as worth a punt and perhaps he is. At least he’ll be interesting but it leaves us with the question of why modern political leaders have largely abandoned leadership. Political leadership is an actor’s job, a performance designed to inspire and enthuse followers while blunting the attacks of critics and opponents. Boris seems to realise that, but apart from Nigel Farage he appears to be the only political leader who does.
As if the leader has been supplanted by the manager, the uninspiring functionary who is almost bound to fail simply because failure to enthuse leads to failure.