The former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary’s got enough support to guarantee his place in the run-off for Number Ten. His many enemies still hope he’ll slip on a preferably self-detonating banana skin. But, as our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, Boris Johnson now has a little-noticed secret weapon.
Carrie Symonds is 23 years younger than Bojo, rather glam and his latest squeeze. Nudge nudge, nod and a wink. The missus kicked him out of the family home last year when rumours surfaced of the affair. Say no more. Say no more!
Actually, there’s a helluva lot more to say, though all a bit boring for tabloid readers.
For example, it’s worth a mention that the lady in question is the Tory party’s former Director of Communications who went on to join the hugely powerful and respected data services company Bloomberg.
In other words, as PR gurus go, she’s as good as it gets. Suggesting Bojo doesn’t just choose his friends for their good looks. A ticket to the top job is a nice little bonus.
She’s already credited with having got him to smarten himself up. The haircut was a highly visible and long overdue start.
And then there’s his campaign strategy. For a man who instinctively lurches in, waving his arms around and coming out with all sorts of clever, funny but self-destructive lines, his behaviour of late has been canny in the extreme.
Who’s idea might that have been then?
No prizes for guessing. Boris’s swerving of the media spotlight has infuriated his rivals, but no amount of grumbling changes the reality. Being the runaway favourite is dangerous, means the contest is his to lose.
So best bet zip it, and keep it that way, at least until Tuesday’s TV debate. Which is exactly what Bojo’s done. And why he’s on course to be our next Prime Minister. Shrewd. Very shrewd. More credit to Carrie Symonds.
Not that it went so well for her when she masterminded the grassroots operation for Theresa May during her ill-fated general election in 2017. But, hell, no matter how much you tart them up, clunking robots don’t fly.
In a little noticed sidebar to the week, however, the Maybot introduced legislation intended to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by 2050.
If that one flies it could even put Brexit in the shade. And set the lie on Private Eye’s recent Theresa May Memorial Issue, which carried under the headline ‘The Prime Minister’s Legacy In Full’ .. a blank page.
A big if, mind, same as that breakaway group of MP’s, nicknamed the Tiggers, thinking if only the voters would pay attention they’d do brilliantly in the European elections.
They didn’t. So they didn’t. Now Chukka Umunna, one of their one-time shining stars, has shuffled off to the Lib Dems, and others may well follow.
There’s even a copyright problem with the imploding party’s name, Change UK, now having a crack at calling itself the Independent Group for Change. Sexy? Hardly.
Calls to mind the People’s Front of Judea. Or was it the Judean People’s Front? All the difference in the world, you know. Not.
But, catapulting forward to the 21st century, there’s the small matter of what happens here in UK if/when Bozzie Bear – as, it’s said, Carrie has nicknamed Bojo – gets the keys to Number Ten.
He’ll face a parliament with only one word in its vocabulary. No. Theresa May’s EU departure deal? No. Leave without a deal? No. Any other options? Er, no.
Very likely Bozzie will blunder across to Brussels and demand a new deal. But here at least the Eurocrats’ response will chime with the Westminster word. No.
Which leaves him with the nuclear option. Mothball parliament and crash us out anyway on October 31st.
Scarily, that is a runner. Very scary. Essential food and medicine supply chains at risk, and untold and unquantifiable perils facing business on both sides of the channel. Little wonder the money markets are in such a tizzy.
There’s also the possibility of acts of civil disobedience mounted by outraged MP’s. themselves.
Former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major says excluding parliament is ‘not just fundamentally distasteful, it is hypocrisy on a gold-plated standard’. And leadership hopeful Rory Stewart adds: ‘If he were to try, I and every other member of Parliament will .. bring him down.’
Hmmm. All Bojo’s guys say is he’s ‘instinctively averse’ to the option.
Imagine if someone asked him how he felt about blowing up the White House. Daresay he’d be a bit more than instinctively averse to the notion.
However, the Attorney General told cabinet this week that proroguing (the irritating but correct term) would be ‘unconstitutional, improper, but not illegal’.
And there are precedents. Though when King Charles 1st ruled without parliament for eleven years the benefit was short-lived. Same as him. As is the way, when you’re short of a head.
No doubt about it, we’re living in crazy times.
The nation’s leader, on whose shoulders will rest our destiny for a generation or more, is going to be chosen by a hundred thousand or so Conservative party members.
They’ll be deciding on behalf of an electorate of getting on for fifty million people.
Of course, democracy in ancient Greece was far from perfect. Slaves and women didn’t get to vote.
But this summer – do the sums, they’re not that hard if you’ve got a calculator – it’s down to one in five hundred of those who would normally have a say.
Bring back a world we recognise? Maybe even nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his fascinating musings on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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