The Boris I know will be a bonanza for Australia
On Tuesday my old boss Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Tories and after kissing hands with The Queen will become First Lord of the Treasury in the UK.
All this after he famously described his chances of becoming prime minister as being “about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive”.
Olive or not, we all should be proud that a good friend of Australia will become Prime Minister of our closest ally.
Boris has visited Australia many times throughout his life, and he has an affinity for how Australians operate. He embodies a sunny disposition that Australians are renowned for in the UK.
The developing bromance between BoJo and our own ScoMo might even push into the shadows that other special relationship between Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
Boris is that rare politician — deep in thought, long in intellect, a reader, a writer, yet wily, sometimes mischievous while full of the joy of life.
He can also be a bit naughty, and while he has openly apologised for his widely-reported mistakes and missteps, he’s unashamedly authentic — love him or loathe him, what you see is what you get with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
This openness throughout his 18-year career in frontline politics has enabled him to develop a relationship with the public that has rare quality to it, particularly in modern politics, that we all feel, on some level, we know Boris.
He doesn’t pretend to be perfect like most politicians, because he isn’t perfect, and the public can relate to the bumps of his life.
As a long-time observer of British politics I can only but note that ‘Europe’ is kryptonite for the Tories having effectively helped destroy the premierships of Thatcher, Major, Cameron and now May.
We should all hope that Boris will be impervious to the curse of Europe as he has promised that the UK will Brexit by 31 October of this year.
Boris is best placed to face the task of uniting the Kingdom, while untying the UK from the European Union.
While comparisons have been, and will continue to be made, between Boris and other leaders such as President Trump, there are notable differences in the way Boris will approach his role as Prime Minister.
He’s determined to deliver Brexit not because he wants to isolate the UK from the world, but rather, he wants to take advantage of the possibilities a greater degree of independence can provide, particularly in relation to trade, while preserving and honouring the proud traditions the UK has built over generations, and strengthening the ties not just within the UK but with partners around the world including, of course, Australia.
In my experience working on his campaigns in 2008, I found Boris to be someone who is happy to delegate authority to his colleagues, and I have no doubt he will do the same with those who will serve around his cabinet table.
Above all, the Boris I know embodies a powerful combination of a deep thinker who holds great appreciation of history and the focus and tenacity to deliver what he sets out to achieve into the future.
Whether he was removing ‘bendy buses’ from the streets of London to be replaced with new Routemasters or managing the lead-up to the Olympics, Boris has shown his capacity to successfully lead a city of eight million people.
While his hairstyle may attract much attention from the world’s press, his compassion, his intellect, his internal fortitude, his undeniable love for his party and his country is what will undoubtedly fuel him as he works with his colleagues to — in his own words — deliver Brexit, unite the country, defeat Jeremy Corbyn and energise the UK.
This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 24 July 2019.