Boris Johnson – Portrait of an Illusion

Lord Mayor of London, conservative pin-up, potential PM, journalist, and blonde mop sporter, BJ, or to give his full name Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is one of the highest profile political figures at this time, not so much thanks to his action, but his personality.  He is a wonderful example of someone who has cultivated an effective personal brand in a cleverly psychological way. His main tool for success is his apparent honesty which in a world of benign sound bites and platitudes is very appealing. He is known for his wit and buffoonery, a bit like a chunkier political version of a Hugh Grant character, bumbling from event to event, mildly offending people here and there, but capturing the public’s attention and impressing more traditional conservatives as well as a younger demographic.

He appears too discomposed to be untruthful, too liable to gaffes to be plotting, but the friendly bumbling exterior of Boris conceals something much savvier. Johnson is an intellectual, a political heavyweight, and cunning.  As well as working for ‘The Times’ and editing ;The Spectator’, Johnson furthered his public reach by regularly appearing on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and making a fool out of himself – an incredibly memorable and endearing fool.  His image has been used on T-shirts, and he’s always on TV, and that is no co-incidence.

Johnson is excellent at public relations, and has created the persona of a kind of trustworthy political clown in order to shield what is actually a fairly ambitious personality from view.  Boris succeeds because of his absence of pride which reminds me a little of the 43rd President of the USA.  He has no problem with people laughing at him or mocking him; he obviously encourages and purposefully inspires some of it – all PR is good PR.  All this is perfect for attracting those that are true blue, or aren’t really paying attention and think Boris is a lovely sort of man to run London.  His chief skill is to attract people from a wide area – you could say that he is perfect PM material.  My view is that Boris Johnson will go a very long way.

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