Some of the questions we are asking ourselves of the most enigmatic Prime Minster in living memory, and my answers at least:
- Can Boris Johnson achieve in 99 days what Theresa May and her whole team failed to manage in 3 years?
- Can Dominic Cummings drain the swamp?
Actually, we do not know yet what Dominic Cummings has been called in to do. Is he a spin doctor-in-chief? An election campaign strategist? A negotiator with the Brussels Blob? He is a one who succeeds, but at what task?
David Cameron allegedly called Cummings a “professional psychopath” – good: we need psychopaths more than touchy-feely milksops, and a professional one is all the better.
Taming the establishment has been tried before and failed. The Long March through the Institutions is well entrenched. David Cameron called Steve Hilton to push “positive populism” to reform the established powers, but he left frustrated.
If it were done when ’tis done then ’tis well it were done quickly; ministers will go native in their new departments within weeks, and begin to defend them from outside attack. The who were called in as outsiders to reform the system will become insiders. That may include the Prime Minister, though his imaginative, playful turn of mind is a force to be reckoned with by even the most stolid establishmentarian.
- Is there to be an early general election?
Who can tell? It would be reckless in the extreme to call an election when the party’s poll ratings are still scraping around the 25% mark and in each constituency contest the conservative vote will be split between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party. Watch Brecon and Radnorshire.
The buzz in the media is talk of a general election, but the media love novelty and excitement: Brenda from Bristol may have other ideas. The idea is growing that if the House of Commons blocks Brexit somehow or mars the form of it then Parliament would be dissolved and election called to secure a Conservative majority on the back of a “Boris bounce”, but that is not realistic until Brexit is secure, not least because until Britain has actually left the European Union the Brexit Party will still be queering the pitch, letting the Liberals and Labour in every time.
After Brexit we are into Christmas. Maybe in the Spring we will see new shoots, but by then the landscape may be very different.
By Boris Johnson:
- The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History
- The Dream of Rome
- Have I Got Views For You
- The Spirit of London
- Johnson’s Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World
- Seventy-Two Virgins