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Puritans cannot stand Boris Johnson’s performances. To them, the theatre of politics is flippant, sinful and should be closed down. The British Tory leader’s love of putting on a show, his desire to bring a smile to our faces and insatiable urge to hold forth from centre stage, are proof, for these austere moralists, not just of a disgusting egotism but of an intolerable frivolity. They purse their lips, and trust this star will soon meet with the rejection he in their view so richly deserves.
Perhaps he will. Anything could happen this autumn. The inescapable duty of any party leader is to take the blame when things go wrong. But it seems to me, having written a biography of him which first appeared in 2006 and which was described by former Labour mayor of London Ken Livingstone as “the scariest thing since Silence of the Lambs’, that Johnson’s puritan critics underestimate his chances of success.