I went to put a weekend coupon on Paddy Power. I saw a special advertised: ‘Boris Johnson to become PM in 2019 at 8/1’. Worth a punt? Even just a fiver?
Instead I went with the usual football accumulator that inevitably didn’t win. Yet it left me wondering again about the prospect of Boris as Prime Minister.
He has long been considered one of the main contenders for Britain’s highest political office along with: Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and, God forbid, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
With a regular stream of videos featuring Boris greeting journalists with cups of tea, rugby tackling children and being left hanging on a zipline waving tiny Union flags, you would be forgiven for forgetting that this man once held one of the most influential positions in UK politics and remains a powerful figure within the Conservative party.
Boris began his career as a journalist, working for The Times and The Daily Telegraph before securing as a job as editor of right-wing magazine The Spectator. Whilst overseeing the magazine, he became an MP for Henley in 2001 and his political career began.
By the start of 2016, the former Mayor of London was arguably the most popular politician in the country. Pundits and pollsters believe he continues to be able to appeal to certain parts of the country when other Conservatives do not due to his likeable persona.
Last October he addressed 1,500 people at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. With people reportedly queueing over three hours to hear him speak. I’ll spare you an in-depth Trump comparison but the two clearly have populism to thank for their success.
At times I find him extremely unconventional. Something that I actually like about him. He makes a refreshing change from the very well-spoken and boring Etonian I have in mind when I picture a Tory politician.
I hate to admit it, but a few years ago I might have even taken him as PM. His entertaining character and socially liberal voting record set him apart from the rest of his party.
But the reason why Boris is so dangerous is that many people see him as an entertaining and humorous figure which masks how intelligent and scheming this man actually is.
Biographer Sofia Purnell has claimed that Johnson disguises his ruthless nature through “using bumbling, self-deprecation or humour.”
Following the Chequers Agreement, he resigned from his job as Foreign Secretary in protest at Theresa May’s approach to leaving the EU. In doing so, he has cleverly managed to further distance himself from the mess he helped put us in whilst still backing Brexit.
This is a man who has made a faint comparison between the EU and Hitler in saying they both used “different methods” to unify Europe under one “authority.”
In recent months, Boris has reportedly been in contact with Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief adviser who seeks to spark a ‘far-right’ movement within Europe and his ability to use intellectual rhetoric to disguise his anti-Semitic, racist views is scary.
The fact that one of the favourites to be the next PM has reportedly been in contact with Bannon should worry everyone a lot more than the details of Boris’ colourful love life.
I believe Johnson makes controversial claims such as these knowing full well he will get more publicity. Controversy has followed him everywhere and he only seems stronger for it.
Johnson’s journalism experience means he knows how to work the media. Johnson is someone who will do anything for power and his celebrity status helps keep him in the headlines. Where Boris goes, people ask for autographs and selfies.
It would appear that in contemporary society some people are willing to forget a person’s politics and values in favour of their celebrity appeal.
After his much-publicised comment about women wearing the burka, looking “like letter boxes”, he managed to charm journalists waiting outside his house by coming out carrying a tray of tea for them and wearing some horrendous floral shorts. (Source ITV News).
Afterwards, most of the focus on social media shifted towards the mismatched mugs and dreadful shorts rather than the burka comments. Watch the video and you’ll see how quickly the journalists give up asking the hard questions.
What we need to remember is that Boris Johnson is a man who has a history of repeatedly making bigoted and borderline racist remarks. Neither should we forget his deliberate deceptions in his quest to become the next Prime Minister.
The former Foreign Secretary was once described by my uncle as a ‘dangerous buffoon’ and I cannot think of a better way to define him.