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Never before in the modern era has a leading candidate for the office of British Minister Prime Minister had to be hidden, held under virtual house arrest, in case he says or does something interesting.
Since the advent of more open competition that began in the 1960s – after the Conservatives were condemned for choosing their leader in 1963 by a closed “magic circle” – there has been a general, base assumption that those seeking the leadership of a major party will want to explain themselves to the country, as well as to party members and MPs
Team Boris – which has done a remarkable, ruthlessly efficient job, so far – is trying a new approach. Boris is a Ming vase of a candidate, a front-runner whose prospects are so fragile that he must be carried carefully across the great hall of leadership until he arrives at the destination – power.
Some 114 of his colleagues, convinced that he has this magic allure, backed him in the first round of voting on Thursday. Control-freakery is working.
Johnson has been allowed out for a newspaper interview, but despite the efforts of the tenacious journalists involved he said little. There was also a confused newspaper column by the candidate that suggested on the tax system he has some work to do getting on top of the subject.