99 days and counting. Tick tock

That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into, Stanley

So, in the week’s least surprising news, the flaxen-haired one has achieved his long-held ambition and succeed to the highest post in the land on the back of persuading 92,000 members of the Conservative Party that his is the way that will get it done. Whatever It is.

If anyone was in any doubt about Johnson’s real commitment to Brexit, then they just need to look at his initial appointments. Former Vote Leave campaigner Dominic Cummings is expected to be announced as special advisor, with a host of other names who were all active in the campaign to leave the EU.  Cummings is a shrewd operator however, he is also extremely divisive and has rubbed a lot of politicians and civil servants up the wrong way

Johnson is a show-off, a man who likes to wear his education on his sleeve. Up to now, he has seemed to revel in the role of office buffoon but this is something that ill-suits a Prime Minister. He will need to cultivate an image that is more like the statesman he need to be and less like the dangling-Mayor, left hanging on a zip-wire in Battersea Park, waving the union flag. That said, I still believe that was one of the key starting points in his journey to Downing Street.  The British tend to admire a politician because he made an idiot of himself, not despite it. Starting now, Johnson will need to put his political money where his Eton-educated mouth is and finish what he started the day he came out in favour of Vote Leave.

By and large I am an optimistic person. I like to think that, in the end, things will work out OK. The glass is more often half-full than it is half-empty in my opinion. Although, half full or half empty, there’s clearly room in it for more wine, but that’s by the by.

So, I’d like to think that our new Prime Minister will, despite all the buffoonery, the bluster and the belligerence, be able to do what we need him to do and actually lead this country away from the precipice  an into some kind of normality, a normality that’s been significantly lacking since June 23rd 2016. He is the supreme shape-shifter, happy to adapt himself to whatever persona he feels will get him what he wants at that particular time. I’m not sure if I mean that as a compliment or not.

I heard a comment from Queen Laura of Westminster (Keunssberg), the other day which, if true or even true-ish, might be a glimmer of hope. She said that she had been told that Johnson really, really didn’t want to be Foreign Secretary and that’s why he was rubbish at it, because it was a job he hated. He loved being Mayor of London and was, arguably, quite successful at it, because it was a job he felt passionate about. If he can bring the same commitment and zeal to the office of PM, surround himself with good people who can get things done, then we might stay away from the abyss. Maybe.



About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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