Boris Johnson goes Caracas

Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte.

— Boris Johnson, Twitter, October 3, 2017

The Conservative Party conference in Manchester was always going to hinge on an important question: what would Boris Johnson do to steal the show?  Having demonstrated the hardest of lines on the issue of Brexit, he has become more just a mere thorn in his prime minister’s side.  From thorn, he has become a blade, buried in a vulnerable carriage.

Theresa May had no doubt hoped that giving him the Foreign Secretary position would see an automatic, sacrificial implosion to celebrate.  Johnson had been a noisy Brexiteer and drinking from the poisoned chalice of foreign relations was exactly the sort of thing that would have delighted the May crew.  On his travels, his mischief making would remain where he left them.

Instead, rumours of a leadership challenge have been humming in Tory corridors.  May’s disastrous electoral performance, a miscalculation of gargantuan proportions, has left her, to use the words from the smug former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, a “dead woman walking”.

The only question on any plotter’s lips is whether Johnson is up to the task.  Johnson was never good on matters behind a desk, the sort of mastery of detail that commands a brief and holds his audience by the sheer persuasiveness of labour. Detail is something best left to those who find…

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