In the days before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, his opponents did what they always do.
Bitter Tories, furious Leftists and fearful Remainers didn’t just insult him, they underestimated him. They still couldn’t comprehend the appeal.
First is his personal magnetism. For a long time, Boris was the only politician in Britain who made people smile when you mentioned his name.
Smiles aren’t everything, but they’re not nothing – especially after the bruising three years since the Leave vote.
His advisers are said to be planning to get him out a lot this summer to perform for the crowds. With a General Election possible, this is shrewd. Johnson is at his most charismatic when in campaigning mode.
As the stark reality of a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn becomes clearer, perhaps some of that bile will begin to leach from the system
True, our new Prime Minister has attracted enemies thanks to his role in the Brexit vote.
But as the stark reality of a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn becomes clearer, perhaps some of that bile will begin to leach from the system.
Last week, polling found that Mr Corbyn’s popularity among Labour Party members has plummeted.
If Boris continues to wipe the floor with Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions, then it is hard not to see Boris experiencing a more general uplift.
Then there is the team he has assembled. Not only is it filled with talent, this Cabinet is also the most ethnically diverse ever, giving the lie to the oft-repeated claim that the vote to leave the EU was, in some way, racist.
Sajid Javid is one of the most knowledgeable money men in politics and Priti Patel has exactly the grit and determination needed to steer the monster that is the Home Office.
The Cabinet is also filled with people dedicated to one task above all: delivering Brexit. This is a welcome change on the past three years.
‘But Boris is lazy and chaotic,’ cry the critics, trying to pretend that a man who has pumped out endless successful books and columns between his day-job as MP, Cabinet Minister and London Mayor is some kind of slouch.
Sajid Javid is one of the most knowledgeable money men in politics and the Cabinet is now filled with people dedicated to delivering Brexit
He oversees without micro-managing, which has resulted in an impressive level of loyalty from his staff. It is a loyalty which he inspires by deferring when he needs to, but leading and being bold where others wouldn’t.
As London Mayor he appointed a superb set of deputies to enact policy while he acted as the capital’s ambassador.
The late Simon Milton was allowed to get on with policy and planning, and Munira Mirza was allowed to get on with culture and education policy.
These deputies were given a terrific amount of freedom, with Boris appearing when necessary to give his special type of ‘oomph’ when they needed his backing.
With his appointments to No 10, Boris is recreating this winning strategy. It is truly encouraging that Mirza is back at Boris’s side, this time as director of the Downing Street policy unit. She is someone not just with a passion to change the failing Leftist dogmas in our culture but a real knowledge of where and how this can be done.
Best of all is that Dominic Cummings has been brought back in. Cummings has been demonised since masterminding the Brexit campaign thanks to opponents who know how brilliant – and dangerous to them – he is. Cummings doesn’t just ruffle Establishment feathers, he rips them out.
Dominic Cummings has been demonised since masterminding the Brexit campaign thanks to opponents who know how brilliant – and dangerous to them – he is
These appointments demonstrate a serious change of tone and strategy. It is one which should cast terror into the hearts of all those civil servants and ambassadors who thought that they could continue to energetically oppose Brexit while flat-lining with every other task they have been given.
Of course there is carping. The new Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, gave the new PM just under 24 hours before she started calling for a no-confidence vote.
In reality, Ms Swinson has got it exactly wrong. The arrival of Boris into No 10 at this moment is a vote of confidence, and not just in one man. But in Britain.
Douglas Murray is the author of The Strange Death Of Europe