Boris Johnson is the new Foreign Secretary – jokes abound. Look at that buffoon wandering around, how embarrassing for the country!
But people who regard Boris Johnson as a joke figure are over-looking a few things which make him supremely qualified for a Great Office of State:
1) Boris the writer
Johnson began his career as a journalist, writing for a range of publications before rising to become editor of the Spectator. More recently, when he published his tax return Johnson revealed he earns more than a quarter of a million pounds per year from his Daily Telegraph column.
But it’s not just newspapers and magazines – Boris has also written several books on wide ranging subjects including London, Shakespeare, Churchill and pushy parents. Johnson’s tax return revealed that he earned £224k from book royalties in 2014/15.
These significant earnings show that there is a broad appetite for Johnson’s quality writing, so he can’t be that daft.
2) Mayor of London
Of course we all know Boris was Mayor of London, but many people seem to be over-looking it now. Boris was elected and re-elected, running London for eight years. That’s not a piddling, little job.
The Greater London area has a population of more than 8.6 million people, with many more commuting to work in the city every day. And the Mayor of London manages a budget of over £17 billion per year, including responsibility for policing & the fire service, housing & planning, transport, and promoting London’s interests.
3) Boris is no ‘little Englander’
Boris has American citizenship, having been born in New York City, and as a child lived in America & Belgium as well as the UK. Boris is no typical Englishman – his ancestors include Turkish, French and Russian Jewish people.
Johnson is multilingual, speaking Latin, French and Italian fluently, with passable German and Spanish. All those languages and experience of living in other countries might come in handy for a Foreign Secretary…
4) Boris the Olympian
As Mayor of London Boris co-chaired the committee that managed the London 2012 Olympic Games, delivering the Games under-budget and paying particular attention to concerns about the transport system.
It was widely agreed at the time that the London Olympics were a stonking success, and that was in no small part due to Johnson’s leadership.
5) Popularity is important
Yes, some people laugh at Boris. But he continues to be loved by many more people. He out-performed his party to win two elections in London – a city where many people used one ballot paper to vote Labour, and the other to vote for Boris.
Boris is consistently popular in the Conservative Party and in the country, and many people who do not usually like Tories have a soft spot for BoJo. Indeed, ComRes has named him the UK’s most popular politician for several years running.
He also commands the respect of many Conservative MPs – most recently shown by the numbers upset and angered by his dropping out of the Tory leadership race. Giving him an important and visible role in the new government is a smart move.
Emily is the Chairman of Conservatives for Liberty. Follow her on Twitter: @ThinkEmily
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty