During the election campaign there was much debate about which Boris would emerge if the Tories won an overall majority. The answer is now clear. Boris is a ‘One Nation Tory’ and the defender of both the traditional and aspirant working-class communities in the Midlands, the North and Wales. His government will speak with many regional accents and the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse will be as important as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Boris will enjoy playing this role. Brexit aside, the PM is certainly a populist. To describe him as a right-winger, however, misses the point. Boris is a Liberal Tory who is able to connect with voters that no other politician can reach. Having smashed Labour’s red wall, he will focus relentlessly on delivering for voters who have never previously supported the Tories.
For those of us who observed Boris at close quarters during his eight years as Mayor of London, none of this will come as a surprise. Boris worked well with officers at City Hall and, more importantly, developed a constructive working relationship with London council leaders from across the political spectrum. Many of those council leaders still miss him. Boris was genuinely popular with political friends and foes alike.
Whilst always being on top of his brief, Boris surrounded himself with superb advisers such as Sir Simon Milton and Sir Edward Lister. Little wonder that he has brought in many of his former City Hall team into Number 10. Expect more of the same.
This ‘popularity’ is one of the PM’s greatest strengths. It is genuinely hard not to like him. So expect Boris to do what he did so cleverly at City Hall, namely bring in non-Tories to become key members of his team. This is what makes him such a formidable political opponent.
Boris has recovered his mojo! Once he has delivered Brexit, he will turn his attention to massive infrastructure investment, funding the key public services, reforming immigration, reducing taxation and, crucially, making people happier. Expect a massive ministerial reshuffle in February and a radical overall of Whitehall and the constitution.
Boris has the ability to make people smile and even chuckle. Don’t underestimate the political importance of this skill. Over the last six weeks he was laughed at and ridiculed by his political opponents. Many of them lost their seats and others have seen their political aspirations to govern come to a shuddering halt!
Boris is certainly a paradox, but he also has the potential to be a great, reforming PM who transforms British politics and redefines traditional political allegiances. At this stage, who would bet against him succeeding?