Charles Moore

Boris’s critics are helping his cause

Boris's critics are helping his cause
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There are, one must admit, things to be said against Boris Johnson, but his leading critics do not understand that their attacks assist him. On Tuesday in Birmingham, Mrs May tried to upstage his arrival by claiming she had a new policy about post-Brexit immigration. She didn’t. The only person she upstaged was her Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who should have been left alone to speak about a subject which, both by his job and his background, is his. Boris was boosted by her hostility, and people listened to his wide-ranging speech. His opponents must understand his subversive power instead of being pompous about it. He is clever. A classic device of our times, much employed by New Labour, is to set up a media hue and cry — ‘Where’s X?’ — against a politician who is trying to evade attention. Boris reverses this. On Tuesday, ‘Where’s Boris?’ was a question which raised expectations of his arrival to a fever pitch, as if he were the Messiah rather than just a very naughty member of the Bullingdon Club. The more his enemies try to dethrone the Lord of Misrule, the more they look like sour-faced Puritans (which is what, in fact, Mrs May is). ‘He’s not serious,’ they moan. But are they — other than in the sense of being seriously incompetent?

This is an extract from Charles Moore's notes, which appears in this week's Spectator