By Jonathan Reed
Video supplied by Conservatives©
So, it finally happened!
After a month – which felt like a year – Boris Johnson’s life ambition has been realised. With the back (and front) stabbing of Michael Gove well behind him in the 2016 leadership election, Johnson will walk through that iconic door of 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
It has been a pretty tumultuous election campaign with an argument between himself and girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, making front page news. Furthermore, we haven’t seen much of Mr Johnson throughout this last month, specifically in the media. Where usually the charismatic and public-centre politician is at ease within a media environment, it was a surprise and frustration to see him back-out of many election debates.
Irrespective of whether his campaign was a complete success or not, it no longer matters, the goal has been reached and Boris Johnson takes the top job in the land. But now the question is, how long will he last?
He faces an uphill battle both inside and outside his party, particularly on the subject of Brexit. Mr Johnson has pledged to leave the EU ‘do or die’ on the 31 October. Whilst this will be music to Brexiteer’s ears, it will no longer be as easy as first thought. Parliament last week ruled out a “forced No Deal” meaning that Mr Johnson would be unable to prorogue a sitting parliament, forcing through the default option of Article 50.
This could prove problematic for the incumbent Prime Minister as his promise to deliver Brexit by Halloween was a principle policy of his campaign. It leaves open the question of what could happen if he doesn’t deliver, both personally and politically.
Even more precarious is the election of Boris Johnson. Many of his supporters have argued that his 66% majority of the overall vote provides a strong mandate to deliver his version of Brexit. But when the Conservative Party membership falls at just over 180,000 members, against a population of 60 million in the UK, ‘mandate’ seems hardly the appropriate word. And this leaves open the possibility of a general election.
Many sources close to Mr Johnson have stated that another general election is more than likely, especially if difficulty arises when delivering Brexit. But for the time being, deal or no deal is the message Boris Johnson is pushing, and many feel that his incoming “can do” attitude is refreshing after three years of doom and gloom politics.
The next few days will be increasingly interesting for UK politics and Boris Johnson could offer something different to the UK population which we have rarely seen of late. There is no denying that Mr Johnson is a divisive character, he prompts strong opinions on all sides, and there is a real chance that he could reach out to those voters who traditionally don’t vote Conservative.
How? As Labour head towards a second referendum and championing remain, many Leave voters will most certainly abandon the ‘working class’ party. Could Johnson’s pro-Brexit stance attract the elusive Labour voter over to the ‘blue side’? It looks highly likely.
And then there’s The Brexit Party, where a huge influx of Conservative voters has flocked to. We can already see evidence that Johnson’s positive stance towards Brexit has managed to coax those precious votes back – for now. It is here where Boris’ fulfilment of his Brexit promise will make or break his fresh premiership. If he delivers Brexit, then Nigel Farage’s party becomes obsolete and Labour forever lose the trust of its Leave voters. He could potentially kill two political birds with one stone.
But if he doesn’t, then the Conservative party completely implodes beyond repair, and British politics itself is changed forever.
There is a lot riding on Boris Johnson and how he navigates his dream role, a role he has strived for his entire career. His hero is Winston Churchill, arguably Britain’s greatest Prime Minister, and he will more than likely endeavour to recreate that same legacy. He has the charisma, the opportunity and support of most of his party to mirror some level of Churchillian politics, and is facing an era-defining task in Brexit. If he succeeds, then Boris Johnson is in for the long-haul, if not then his dream job will come crashing down around him.
Either way, it finally happened and here comes Prime Minister Johnson.
But don’t underestimate how quickly it could become, there goes former-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.