Boris Johnson Channels Donald Trump, Makes Britain Laugh Again, by James Delingpole.
Boris Johnson is never better than when he is being Boris Johnson – forever looking for the comedic angle, always in search of a more memorably silly turn of phrase, never quite able to play at being the grown up in the room even though he’s now Prime Minister and that’s supposedly his job.
Before he became Prime Minister all the experts, including more than a few of his fellow Tories, insisted that these clownish instincts were precisely why he should never become Prime Minister.
I couldn’t disagree more. It’s his clownishness which makes him great.
The Spectator‘s Fraser Nelson has described his speech as “the first proper weapons-grade speech that he has given since standing for the job. It showcased his gift of communication, his ability to mobilise language to uplift and motivate.”
Yes, Boris does do that. No Prime Minister since Winston Churchill has had quite this rhetorical talent for using jokes and metaphors and a battery of other, classically trained, poshly-schooled oratorical tropes to get the nation onside in a time of crisis.
But what really makes Boris Johnson a leader for our times is his tendency towards the puerile. Or, if you wanted to be more generous, his incessant urge to undercut the solemnity of politics with a spot of welcome levity.
Donald Trump does this too. Lots of people get very cross when you make the Trump/Boris comparison. And, of course, they’re very different in style as you’d probably expect when one of them is a brash, New York property developer and the other is an Eton-and-Oxford-educated classicist. But in their different ways, both are very funny, both are the smartest guys in the room, and both have the knack of speaking past the usual channels that might obscure their message (the speech-writers, the flak-catchers, the policy wonks and, of course, the mainstream media) directly to the people they serve.
Both men in their different ways are populists. And only apologists for the corrupt, sclerotic, arrogant, entrenched, decaying old Establishment — aka the Deep State; aka the Swamp — would say that that is a bad thing, not a good thing. …
Boris differs from Trump, who doesn’t do self-deprecation. But then self-deprecation is a very English thing, not a very American thing, so that makes sense. …
Boris is going to Make Britain Laugh Again.
via Tip of the Spear