Boris Johnson continues to be subject to personal attacks from all sides of the political spectrum. Although in terms of background Johnson is part of the English establishment, clearly his freewheeling spirit, improvisational political style and gaff prone rhetoric has earned him multiple enemies within the upper political (rather than social) echelons of Westminster. Among the members of his Conservative party who will have to choose between Johnson and his ever so bland rival Jeremy Hunt during the ongoing leadership election, Boris Johnson remains the odds-on favourite. It is not just Johnson’s charismatic and humorous personality that many Conservatives find attractive, but unlike his rival, Johnson campaigned for Brexit and continues to speak about Brexit in more positive terms than Jeremy Hunt or for that matter than Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
That being said, at a recent hustings, Johnson continued to vacillate on his actual plan to deliver Brexit by the 31st of October deadline. Some of the methods he has suggested in pursuit of achieving Brexit have been either underwhelming or suspiciously similar to the kind of utterly failed tactics employed by lame duck Prime Minister Theresa May. Moreover, as Johnson is considered to be something of a political opportunist who famously penned two op-eds prior to the Brexit campaign – one in favour of Brexit and one in favour of continued EU subservience, his credentials as a genuine Brexiteer of the Nigel Farage variety have always been suspect in many quarters.
That being said, poll after poll shows that if anything Brexit is more popular than it was when it clenched victory in the 2016 referendum whose third year anniversary has just been marked with disappointment by those who would have wanted its result to be long implemented by now. When it comes to Johnson’s Conservative party, in spite of its largely soft-Brexit/pro-Remain front bench, the ordinary members of the party remain staunchly in favour of a full Brexit on WTO terms without any further delay.
It can be further asserted that many hardline Brexiteers care little at this point in time about other policy matters apart from delivering a genuine Brexit by the end of October. As such, it can be extrapolated that when it comes to the petty vulgar minutiae of prying into the private lives of politicians, hardline Brexiteers care even less than other ordinary voters.
Because of this, it can be deduced that if the personal attacks against Boris Johnson continue, he may well find that the only thing he can cling to in order to ensure his anticipated victory in the leadership election will be a genuine hardline Brexit policy. As many of the same forces trying to prevent him from winning the leadership election will almost certainly continue to try and undermine a would-be Johnson premiership, he will need to keep the hardline Brexiteers on board as if he satisfies their desires in terms of policy, they could well become his strongest and most unflinching backers throughout his would-be period in No. 10.
Just as many have found that Brexit has benefited from the law of unintended consequences on multiple occasions (not least because of the repulsive nature of the pro-remain characters), as Johnson’s overtly remain or BRINO (Brexit in name only) opponents become ever more ravenous in their attacks on the former Mayor of Greater London, they may well be unintentionally pushing him towards a genuine hardline Brexit position that he has hitherto merely danced around.
In this sense, the ultra-liberal media ought to be congratulated. Their own lack of principles may at least temporarily be turning Boris Johnson of all people into a man of principle on the all important issue of Brexit.