IN an otherwise tedious Tory week, one startling promise stood out like a sunbeam in a dreary sky – an Ode To Joy, you might say.
“I’m going to be a different sort of Prime Minister,” Boris Johnson told The Sun on Sunday.
“For the last three years we’ve had nothing but a diet of miserabilism: ‘We can’t do this, we can’t do that, computer says no’. And it’s really wretched.”
He vowed to end the “diet of misery” inflicted by Theresa May and reverse the depressing hash she made of Brexit.
Millions of Sun readers across this island nation will shout: “Hear! Hear!”
Rival Jeremy Hunt is a likeable, serious fellow. But as a Remainer who supported Mrs May through thick and thin, he could never have uttered those cheering words.
Which is why the contest is already over.
This battle is between the overwhelming majority of Tory supporters who want sunny Boris as PM — and those who don’t. Jeremy Hunt is effectively a non-combatant.
MONSTER THREE-ONE LEAD
He is certainly not the man to reunite the nation after Theresa May’s soul-sapping innings or seize the moment and lead his party to victory in a likely snap election.
Ballot papers sent out last week have already been filled in and posted back. Polls give breezy Boris a monster three-one lead.
Most votes will be in before this week’s head-to-head clash and Boris’s confrontation with feared BBC interrogator Andrew Neil on Friday. The twice-Mayor of London has been training for this punch-up for weeks.
Along with many who have known and liked Boris for many years, I have often worried about his leadership potential.
He loves to be loved, hates making enemies.
NO DEAL BREXIT
His image as a ruthless, unscrupulous buffoon is a distortion of half-truths. He is certainly larger than life, highly intelligent, a force of nature.
But in this campaign, a new Boris has emerged, disciplined, on-message and in command, energised perhaps by the sniff of victory. BoJo has found his MoJo. If anything, it has been reliable, cautious Mr Hunt who has littered the trail with gaffes on No Deal, fox-hunting and Brexit’s “Little Englanders”.
Barring the unforeseen, the twice-Mayor of London will, in 15 days, become our 55th PM.
That’s when the real battle begins. In his first few days, Prime Minister Johnson will sack half his Cabinet, pick a new team, spell out Britain’s plans for No Deal Brexit and prepare for the possibility of a snap election.
SNAP IN-OUT GENERAL ELECTION
He will also fly to New York for trade talks with his admirer, US President Donald Trump.
Last week, I revealed fears he might try to squeeze Theresa May’s wretched Chequers Deal through Parliament with a few EU-approved tweaks. Anything to get it off the books.
Instead, he was urged to draw up plans for a Singapore-style offshore tax haven and a string of free ports across Britain enabling low-cost global trade.
Within 24 hours, Boris went public promising “Singapore-style tax-free zones to drive the economy forward after Brexit”.
The Singapore scenario is Brussels’ worst nightmare. So they face a choice, either to re-open Mrs May’s botched negotiations . . . or force Boris to hold the ultimate second referendum.
Chances of a snap In-Out general election have always been on the cards.
The alternative is continuing civil war between Leavers and Remainers.
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With Labour on its knees and Jeremy Corbyn’s warring rabble at each other’s throats, this is perhaps the Tories’ best chance of victory.
Polls put Labour on an 18 per cent low while others suggest support for Brexit has grown, boosted by last week’s blatant EU presidency stitch-up.
That will focus the minds of doomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s 30 diehard Remainers who threaten to hijack Westminster and sabotage a No Deal Brexit.
They will have to choose between giving a new Prime Minister the right to justify his party’s support.
Or opening the door to Britain’s first Marxist, anti-capitalist, pro-Hamas, revolutionary Labour government.
Boris did not lie
ONE of the enduring myths peddled about Boris is his so-called “lie” that the £350million a week we send to Brussels could be better spent on the NHS.
One mischief-maker persuaded a district judge there were grounds for a private prosecution for “bringing a public office into disrepute” .
Last week, the High Court issued its ruling. The figure was accurate so long as it was made clear the £350million was gross, or £250million net.
Which Boris did, repeatedly.
It was an “error of law” for the lowly beak to rule an offence might have been committed.
So Boris did not lie, folks.
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