A former Mayor of London, former British Foreign Secretary and existing media character, Johnson lastly launched his official campaign to replace Theresa Might as Prime Minister of Fantastic Britain and Northern Ireland on Monday.

He joins a crowded field — but he’s likely the only candidate whose name resonates outdoors of the UK.

Johnson posted a slickly-made video on social media a couple of minutes following US President Donald Trump stepped off Air Force One particular at the start off of a state go to to the UK. Johnson received the tacit approval of Trump at the weekend.

The timing — which cannot possibly have been coincidental — guarantees that coverage of Day 1 of the Johnson campaign will be muted. That may possibly properly be element of the approach — Johnson is acutely conscious that getting the frontrunner at the start off of any leadership campaign does not normally perform out properly.

It may possibly also have the impact of defusing the effect of the Trump endorsement. Beneath standard situations, the approval of a US President would be a boon to any leadership hopeful. But Johnson, currently frequently described as the British Trump, knows that he can not afford to seem any additional divisive if he is to succeed in winning the Conservative leadership. The backing of Trump is not most likely to win him the buddies he demands from moderates.

A screengrab from Boris Johnson's leadership campaign launch video.

Observed by several as the man who most influenced the UK’s choice to leave the European Union, Johnson is loved by Brexiteers and loathed by Remainers. But if his launch video is something to go by, it is clear that Johnson understands that whoever requires more than from Might demands to unite a nation nonetheless badly divided by the Brexit referendum.

In the video, Johnson is noticed speaking to folks from ethnically diverse background and to voters across the political divide. He talks about uniting the nation and hammers property the will need for the UK to be optimistic and confident. It is fair to say that this is miles away from the Trumpian way of carrying out politics.

Name recognition

Johnson’s international name recognition has not normally been accomplished for fantastic causes.

His substantial list of controversies incorporates such hits as calling folks across the commonwealth “flag-waving piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles,” saying that ladies who put on Islamic face veils appear “like letter boxes” and writing a poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan getting sex with a goat.
It is not just gaffes: Johnson has been criticized for saying that a British citizen who is serving a jail term in Iran for alleged espionage was in the nation to teach folks journalism. The Iranian authorities jumped on this and employed Johnson’s statement as proof against her.

So, it may well come as a surprise that such a controversial figure is the frontrunner to be the subsequent PM.

Johnson’s history as a two-term mayor of London — a city that skews heavily towards voting for the opposition Labour celebration — has normally been noticed as the Conservative’s not-so-secret weapon.
Having said that, because the referendum he has grow to be a single of the most divisive political figures in the nation. Leavers see him as a hero of the Brexit campaign Remainers assume that he lied his way to victory and is to blame for the mess the nation is in.

As not too long ago as October, most Conservative MPs recognized that Brand Boris had grow to be also toxic and that he wasn’t a viable choice to replace Might, anytime the moment came.

It is not just in the UK that Johnson divides opinion. The Brussels elite, with whom the UK has been negotiating Brexit, don’t forget his time there as a journalist covering the EU, exactly where he wrote dubious stories about how Brussels operated. That, combined with his antics because the referendum, tends to make it extremely unlikely that he would be noticed as a credible negotiating companion by the powers-that-be.

Offered that a single of the important tasks for any new PM will be to convince Brussels to renegotiate May’s Brexit blueprint — the extremely point that Johnson resigned from her Cabinet more than — crowning Johnson as prime minister appears a strange decision.

So why on earth is he the Conservative preferred?

It is all about Brexit

A great deal has changed because October. Very first, May’s deal is all but dead and her leadership is drawing to a close. Brexit hasn’t been delivered, which suggests that a quantity of alternatives are back on the table. For several Conservatives, this suggests the prospect of a tougher Brexit, or even leaving the EU without having a deal — somethin Might was eventually unwilling to do.

Brexiteers think that Johnson would be pleased with letting the clock run down and not requesting a Brexit extension. Additional importantly, they think that the EU believes he would do this.

They also think that Johnson is the only Conservative who is charismatic adequate to take on the special electoral challenges facing celebration at the moment. Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition Labour celebration is gunning for an election, calculating that a Conservative celebration in chaos would be quick to choose off. The Conservatives are also facing a new electoral threat in Nigel Farage’s new Brexit celebration. The longer Brexit does not occur, the additional assistance this new, openly no-deal supporting group, is most likely to get.

It is undoubtedly a danger. The Conservative celebration is badly divided and several in the celebration think that Johnson is not up to the job. He is noticed as untrustworthy and lazy by some of his fellow MPs. And getting well known with Conservative members is extremely unique to getting well known with the nation at huge — specifically amongst Stay voters.

It could backfire badly for the Conservatives and eventually hand the keys to 10 Downing Street to Corbyn, a man they see as a danger to national safety. But sadly for the Conservatives, their bungling of Brexit has left them with extremely couple of alternatives.