Tory leadership contest

Coolidge not Churchill should be the model for Boris Johnson

BY Philip Patrick   /  4 July 2019

It is not exactly a secret that Winston Churchill is the leader Boris Johnson would most like to be associated with. Britain’s PM-in-waiting is a dedicated and long-standing fan; he wrote a decent biography of the great man, and admits in the introduction to still feeling a thrill that their lives overlapped, albeit by just a year.

It is not hard to notice Churchillian echoes in Johnson’s writing, in his rhetoric, and even vaguely in his appearance and mannerisms, portly, blonde haired, and with a rather stooped shuffling gait. And who knows, maybe the cigar and romper suit will come in time?

In reality though, save for vaulting ambition, sense of destiny, and fondness for less common items of English vocabulary, there isn’t a great deal that links the two men. Churchill was a soldier through and through, a man whose professional career, which bridged the last cavalry charge and the dropping of the atomic bomb, was inextricably linked to and defined by warfare. Johnson has no connection whatsoever with military affairs. Was he even a boy scout?


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