Boris’ Tories bask in the success of a bizarre non-campaign

Boris Johnson remains as UK prime minister – with a stonking majority which even he probably didn’t expect, at least he says he didn’t but you never know with Boris – following a campaign quite unlike any we’ve seen.

In the sense that there didn’t seem to be one, unless you’re an active member of Facebook when you were bombarded. The rest of us got this.

Quite a clever pinch from ‘Love Actually,’ itself borrowed from a Bob Dylan documentary back in the 1960s and cunningly deployed by the late, lamented HHCL for Maxell in the 1980s.

Boris, Eton and Oxford, triumphed in Labour’s horny-handed heartlands of the midlands and north (Brexit voters nearly all), rather as Trump (never known for his affection for what they call the middle class in the US) has captured America’s rust belt with ‘America First.’

The Tories’ video at least displays roguish Johnson at his most acceptable. You can’t imagine Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn or the Liberal Democrats’ hapless Jo Swinson (who lost her seat) getting away with it.

But it was still a strange election. In effect another Brexit referendum and the Tories’ cunning plan of repeating the ‘Get Brexit Done’ mantra ad infinitum, ducking tough TV interviews and trusting to one-to-one social communications worked. Who needs an agency?

They were helped, of course, by arguably the most inept campaign ever mounted by the leading opposition party, Labour, only exceeded by Swinson’s wholly undemocratic decision to disregard the referendum result (she should have simply promised a second one) and her absurd boast that she was going to leapfrog from 20 seats in Parliament to become PM.

As for Labour, for most of their former supporters from the Blair era they’re now well and truly up that creek without a paddle. Corbyn (who’s stepping down at some stage) and his anti-semitic, hard left Momentum supporters probably won’t mind that much. They were never going to get a majority and had made themselves impossible partners in a Remain-supporting coalition. The Momentum mob now have a hard left Parliamentary party and they’ll settle for that.

Wonder what the Blairites, now politically homeless, make of it? Do Tony and his pals Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson (the two supposedly great communicators) now admit that his decision to join the American-led invasion of Iraq led directly to the terminal fracture in Labour? Because it did. It then went from bad to worse with Gordon Brown – for being Gordon Brown – and Ed Miliband beating his more popular brother David to the leadership and then offering party membership for a tenner, which let in Momentum. And Corbyn.

By contrast Johnson and his puppet master Dominic Cummings purged the Tories of disobedient Remainers in a putsch that would have done credit to a 1930s dictator and whipped the troops to the unlikeliest of big victories.

Now the really hard work begins with Brexit negotiations, of course. Will Boris let his new-found friends down again, now he’s got a big majority? He has previous after all.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    It is Friday the 13th after all. The next Friday the 13th is in November, just in time for the U.S. Presidential election. So, you know what that means.