Get ready for the age of Boris

Get ready for the age of Boris, by Tim Stanley.

Boris Johnson is the big political winner of this referendum. Nigel Farage has been vindicated, yes. But now Ukip has what it wants, what does it do next? It will, the Tories hope, fade away. No need for it any longer. So Farage was only Moses and it is Johnson who the Eurosceptics will charge with leading them into the promised land. …

[Boris] has been transformed by this campaign. Beforehand he had the twin problems of appearing unserious and uncommitted. … the charming, boyish quips gave Remain hope that he would fop and flop his way through the campaign. As Mayor of London, they said, he’d only been an executive: a face on a poster. He was a celebrity conservative rather than a substantial one, and it wouldn’t be long before he did something to embarrass himself and Leave.

But that didn’t happen. On the campaign trail Boris was still Boris. Amusing, charming and attracting the same popular delight as does the arrival of the carnival in town. But he was disciplined now. … He was prime ministerial. And a key qualification of being prime ministerial is that he refused to be drawn into unwinnable arguments.

The final test was how to handle victory. Farage demonstrated why Farage isn’t a national leader within Parliament: he raised his fists and roared. Boris understood that what the country actually wants is reassurance and calm. The markets need it most of all. His fine tribute to David Cameron and pledge to move carefully forward were pitch perfect.