Barring unforeseen circumstances, Boris Johnson is going to win the Conservative Party leadership contest and become Prime Minister of our great nation in the week commencing 22nd July, just before the Parliamentary summer recess. I have not supported him in the leadership race, but I am unexpectedly comfortable with this outcome. Our politics has become stuck, our country deeply divided, we are traumatised by Brexit; a galleon becalmed at sea listing dangerously with no sense of momentum or direction.
It will take something special to get us moving again and cut through this moment of national paralysis.
I first met Boris when he was editor of the Spectator at one of his occasional lunches for new MPs. I remember being impressed with his intellect and charisma. His career since then has known both highs and lows: a brilliant mayor of London, a controversial part in the campaign to leave the EU, a life peppered with stories about his personal life, and his less than impressive performance as foreign secretary.
Is this the man who can lead our nation out of this mess?
I am comforted by two realisations. The first is that we are all deeply flawed. As I read the bible it is evident that every character (apart from Jesus) was an imperfect human being from Abraham (allowed his wife to be part of Pharaoh’s hareem) David (adulterer and murderer) Solomon (ended up with 700 concubines and worshipped other Gods) to Peter (denied Christ in his hour of need). Yet all of them were touched by greatness and used for momentous purposes – despite their imperfections.
Secondly, when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in 1939 he was written off by many, even in his own party: drunkard, war-monger, political failure, were just some of the insults flying around. Yet cometh the hour cometh the man, and we know what happened. He alone had the backbone and character to stand against the appeasers and Hitler and deliver success against the odds, the main reason why I am not writing this article in German.
Despite his flaws, there is no doubting Boris’s charisma and leadership skills. He appears to have been sprinkled with stardust at birth. He is Box Office and love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. Many will refuse to vote for him, others will crawl over glass to do so.
We are in a political crisis. Cometh the hour cometh the man.
I hope so.