Certainly, as Iain Martin wrote here this morning, the Conservative party’s leadership election is being framed with the Brexit Party in mind. Many natural Tory voters don’t see the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage as a movie of the kind with which Hammer Films used to seek to look back fearfully as we left the cinema in the days of our youth. For them it’s not The Return of Dracula; they leave that nonsense to feeble liberals.

Given the Brexit party’s success in the European Parliamentary election and the way it soared ahead of the Tories in the Peterborough bye-election (even if it failed to win that seat), the Johnson-Hunt efforts to hold on to Tory voters who haven’t yet defected and woo back those who have makes pretty good sense. And if the Tory members ultimately opt for Johnson it will be in part because they believe he can match Farage’s star quality.

It’s possible however that the Tories’ anxiety is a bit excessive. There are three reasons for thinking it may be.