I often got the felling that they did that thing, and even pushed the issues they did... because they were successful at it and it fit their personality. Most were not idealists despite what they said IMO, I suspect many if pressed to change their positions did not really care about the issues outside of a couple topics at most (and due to the winds of change in US politics most actually supported surprisingly different issues over time). They were just very good at getting along with people, shaking hands, negotiating deals, had the social skills that provided them the financal and political support hey needed to keep going.
In many ways it seemed to be a lifestyle that once they were successful, was also a sort of social life, and to some extent a thrill seeking event (elections are exciting) that just kept them going as people.
Not to pass the buck on any moral choices they make, they're certainly responsible, but I suspect for may they just sort of fall into it, and just don't want to quit the lifestyle as it fits who they are.
They represent the views of the people who vote. Those views change over time. This is much like me doing what my employer asks for, despite my own preferences. It's not our views which are important, but rather the ability to execute for those we are working for.
I think most workers don't care so much about the mission of their employers. They find a way to make their work interesting and things get done regardless.
First, politicians may be considered as representative of either _only the people who voted for them_, or as _representative of everyone_.
Secondly, many politicians do not really change their point of view, the change in people's opinion is expressed by voting different people.
Politicians will often adjust their publicity stated views to match their electorate to be more electable. As the electorates opinions change over time, the publicly stated views of the politicians also evolve. Occasionally politicians who want to bring about a certain kind of change they believe in passionately are able to shift the views of their electorate also. This happens rarely but it happens.
In other words this business attracts people of all kinds: the cynical kind that just wants power regardless of policy and the kind that wants to bring about the kind of of change they think will take society to nirvana regardless of what people think. Usually each politician has both sides. It’s a continuum.
Unfortunately that is still something I have trouble with. From Political Correctness, to taking the blame when we ( I ) have advices against such actions when their view doesn't work.
The haplessness is a routine that Brits absolutely love, and again it takes no small skill to be professionally hapless. This was also a staple of Wogan's performances; famously, for the big Children in Need telethons, he never did any of the rehearsals but came on and delivered a charismatic and funny performance - all night.
The problem is that Johnson is not applying for the job of chat show host, he's applying for PM, and this routine absolutely does not work on other EU leaders. He also appears to be entirely self-centered and amoral. Years ago having a daughter in adultery would have disqualified him ( https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/may/21/boris-johns... ), but in post-Trump times nobody cares.
http://www.harrowell.org.uk/blog/2017/12/11/the-two-cultures... : explores this concept at greater length. As a Cambridge alumnus I'm absolutely familiar with brilliance as a kind of performance. For those in that culture glib effortlessness is prized. An earlier example might be Enoch Powell's showboating on his Classical Greek paper - when asked to do a translation into Greek of a poem, he did two versions as pastiches of different Greek poets and then left early.
If you listen to the recording of where he was talking with an acquaitance about supplying him with the address of a reporter for said acquaintance to "rough up" an entirely different man emerges, one who doesn't stammer and ham things up.
Boris is a very calculating man, and has fooled so many, for so long. This story paints this point very vividly.
Politicians who are so smart as to become something else are a bit scary, hard to trust if they are mostly an act.
I suspect this is mostly for public consumption and he dropped this when actually working. Thus maybe it is just his interfacing with the people shtick. And then it is mostly harmless.
Johnson strikes me as someone who has learned to 'hack' the skirmishes (e.g. by playing the fool when giving speeches as discussed) in order to win in the short term, but who seems oblivious to (or to be willfully disregarding) the long term detrimental effect his skirmishing has on the UK.
He's not oblivious to it, he just doesn't care. Why should he? His ego is the only thing that matters, other people are a means to an end. He has the same low cunning as trump, I think he's quite good at reading people, and manipulating them, but others are just tools to him. He is remarkably similar to Trump in fact, and as Sarah Kendzior said about Trump:
"If Trump senses he may have to make a personal sacrifice, he will sacrifice the world instead."
The same holds true for Johnson. He will happily sacrifice the UK for the sake of his political career, so that he can be prime minister.
Other than that, the views on London mayors tends to mostly follow party lines, so it's not a particularly worthwhile discussion.
And even if you had been right, the office of the mayor only has oversight powers and limited powers to set priorities and shift some resources. Most of the Met budget and control of their day to day operations is outside the mayors purview.
EDIT: Here's a wikipedia page with info on the media frenzy around the violence in London last year, and the comparisons to New York in particular, which basically jumped to lots of conclusions from a single month:
And here is stats for April, that shows a higher rate of violent crime in Sussex (233 incidents per 100,000 people) than in London (227 per 100,000 people): https://ukcrimestats.com/Police_Forces/ - however this too means pretty much nothing; the numbers fluctuate too much to start drawing many conclusions based on the headline numbers.
But I guess by your argument there's a "bloobath" going on in Sussex then.
Just a laughable assertion.
Johnson's time as mayor was marked by trying to claim the successes of others (buses and bikes introduced by Livingstone), and failed initiatives like the expensive garden bridge which was never built or buying illegal water canons which could not be used, and addressing non-problems like drinking on the tube.
Khan's London has been professionally run and is tackling real problems like air quality and too many cars.
Both suffered from problems with crime caused by a decade of police cuts imposed by central government. London is still dramatically safer than any large US city though, including New York.
Nonetheless he holds a certain appeal for the upper classes in the UK. I don't think his appeal translates down to people who work for a living though.
'Johnson excelled in English and Classics, winning prizes in both, and became secretary of the school debating society, and editor of the school newspaper, The Eton College Chronicle'
Also I think the whole upper class/working class dichotomy you present is kind of old hat these days (and somewhat patronising to the people you cite that 'work for a living' - whose viewpoints and aspirations are generally somewhat beyond merely hoping for an indoor toilet), often pushed by the left as an electoral tactic against the right (even in spite of the fact that all UK political parties are stuffed full of ex-Oxbridge types).
Unfortunately his appeal does translate down. Even to those for whom his proposed tax cut will be detrimental.
The Mail readers, the people who have been convinced that EU migration has stolen their jobs, the people who want to be in the £50k bracket... And those who are fed up with political spin and disillusioned with politics, the Brexit voters.
They have been led to believe Boris is the answer, whereas he's arguably just the cliff we'll be jumping off of.
As for BoJo, he is smart as a fox. Trump is the same. They make 1-2 stupid things, so people call them stupid. On the back side they scheme and plan. Haters see the stupid actions and hate. They play a game of chess, sacrificing a pawn (some 'credibility' by saying something stupid), and while people are getting tired of their artificial stupidity, they march on doing their thing left alone.
Someone who managed to be the mayor of London, then get in the Parliament, then managing to be in the top 2 candidates for Prime Minister, have a net worth of a couple of million (of the £€$ we know), he CANNOT be THAT stupid. He plays the game and he's winning. I don't like the man. But I don't like him because I don't like his policies, his ideas, and I don't like Brexit.
But as a politician/player, he's rocking this game.
People who think Boris is stupid, are completely missing it. He is like Varoufakis. He sees an opportunity and grabs it. Maybe the 'bet' will pay off, maybe it will not. But: Mayor of London --> Minister of "Foreign Affairs" --> Prime Minister.. I call that an intelligent human being.
I believe that George Bush may have had a persona to some degree (https://keithhennessey.com/2013/04/24/smarter/) because it pays off to speak like a man of the people. But everyone who's worked with Donald Trump and spoken out afterwards tell the same story about how utterly stupid he is.
In Denmark, we once elected a comedian into parliament. He won on promises like "more sunshine" and "bigger christmas presents". People loved it because it was fun and a bit of a finger to the boring, smooth politicians that they usually saw. I guess you could argue that he is smart in that he was able to win the crowd, but what I take away from that is more that the crowd is fickle and will go with (and push) a trend or a fad if it looks fun or supports their anger.
As one example of this that we can quantify, a major issue in the US is "responsible gun control" to combat an epidemic of homicide and violence driven largely by high powered "assault rifles." In quotes there since an assault rifle entails selective fire, generally between full and semi automatic - those weapons are already illegal. Anyhow, let's test this against the data. In the US in 2016 there were 11,004 firearm homicides.  How many of these were caused by rifles? The answer is 374, about 3%. Nearly all of our gun crime is driven by cheap little pistols. But "assault rifles" make much better media and sound scary, so it results in a grossly misinformed public who think there's some massive epidemic of "assault rifle" driven homicide.
 - https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-...
Compared to the narrative that a person who could run several multi-billion dollar businesses, negotiate deals all around the world, get back from bankruptcy (even if it was with cunning and winning banking favors) and play the media to become President is stupid?
Lots of dullards with dad's cash just spent it on women and booze or lose everything, Trump kept it (if he didn't increase it, considering the bankruptcies and re-emergences) and made his name a kind of brand.
He is not gracious or polished (he's an American businessman after all, that's par for the course), but he does have the P.T Barnum kind of spirit (which is not exactly that of the dullard).
And even if we forget the business thing (say he had zero accomplishments there). The elections thing, he did mostly by himself. He obliterated opponents and won voters (including from his own party) starting from zero, when media and pundits gave him zero chances.
Could you or me?
As for Trump, there's a theory fashionable in some circles that his speaking style is purely performative to simplify or reframe his genuinely sharp grasp of the issues for his audience. But it's undermined by his tendency to embark upon similar rambles about how his pilot said the airports should give airlines better equipment (?!?) and pilots are very clever and if the FAA isn't run by a pilot it should be in front of the sort of apolitical business audience where there's nothing to gain from not just doing the presidential thing and appearing to listen. Sure, nobody's saying his drive isn't exceptional or that the basic strategy of seizing media attention and promoting the sort of populist policies his opponents were squeamish about didn't work, but that's not the same thing as him actually being the smartest person in the room playing 4D chess to disguise it. His persona's at least as WYSIWYG as any other politician.
I think Johnson might be more deliberate in his unpolished approach, but I also haven't seen any reason to believe the whimsicality and studied flustered look isn't there mainly because he genuinely does prefer anecdotes to details and struggles to give a straight answer. The counterpoint to this Johnson story of charmingly chaotic speeches is a recent video where he's asked what he does in his spare time, and he appears to be making up a hobby as he goes along in a manner which just looks incredibly awkward. And yet references to this hobby (making models from boxes) in an old column suggest he was actually honestly trying to explain it! Would have come across a lot better if he'd told a joke about not having any spare time and thrown in a half-remembered story about how Winston Churchill spent his time...
The only other unexpected, unseasoned political opponent to defeat the Clinton machine was another political genius named Barack Obama.
Simply by winning the presidency both of these guys have demonstrated a political genius rarely seen in US politics.
If it wasn't an economic matter and instead he just hired better people - that would still be quite an amazing skill. To be able to have hired better people for his campaign than professional politicians who have been studying and living politics for decades?
You don't get to be King's Scholar at Eton being a buffoon.
OK, so he's a clever buffoon.
No, you get it by hereditary wealth, connections and nepotism.
He has correctly calculated that he doesn't have to actually do good work to become prime minister.
It all starts to make sense when you realise he has no morals and very little interest in the outcome for the country or other people, only for himself.
Not sure how that puts the longer term prospects of the party.
I think you're underestimating the role of luck in success.
He is an entertainer and capable of manipulating crowds. My concern is the lack of people like this who share my own politics.
The creepy part for me was not the canned speech. It was the attempt to manipulate the people at his table. The last minute arrival, the shock at finding he is the speaker, forgetting his speech at the table... I would also feel like I am watching a fraud
Many politicians have the skill to get and keep power, but not much other skill.
And yes I consider performers who clearly separate their personal identities from their fictional identities less fraudulent.
It's clear that Johnson is, to some extent, "fraudulent"; he's certainly a man of dual loyalties (he earns more as a "journalist" filing one column a week than he does as a Minister). What's more interesting is why most of the rest of the media class seem to go along with it.
I'm sure he has a life outside of his after-dinner-speaker persona, sure. But equally, I'm sure that parts of how he acts when speaking occasionally bleed over to how he acts with his family, and vice versa.
We all play different personas in different contexts, but even those with a very artificial role - actors, wrestlers, cosplayers - bring some of their "real" self into the role and vice versa. Indeed staying "in character" the whole time one is on set is a cornerstone of respected acting technique.
Alternatively it is very much like what actors do; act.
I am struggling to see a sense of professionalism, concern or leadership, unfortunately.
Nice hair, though.
"I decided to sell my Hoover... well it was just collecting dust."
Because, we are living in an age of cults. The mechanics of the cult process are well and truly understood by the rich and powerful at this point, and we are never going to be safe for as long as we are members, unwittingly, of a cult for which we don't know the real purpose.
If you want some interesting reading, google generational eu sentiment in the uk, it’s the boomers who are the most anti. The greatest generation are generally positive, given they actually went through the war.
The one interesting correlation they did observe is one between your cohort's (by age group) voting tendencies and whom the president was when your cohort turned 18. Like you mention the Greatest generation who turned 18 under FDR lean heavily democratic. Though contradicting your hypothesis is the fact that you're presumably referencing WW2. And the Silent generation served extensively in this war. And they lean heavily republican.
One interesting thing I've observed (and wrote in a post a little above in a peer to this comment chain) is there tends to be a periodic shifting of ideology, that in general just tends to be against the status quo. And Pew's data provides some really interesting insight there. For instance they broke Boomers down into three 5 year groups. The groups are divided based upon who was president when they turned 18. Those 3 presidents were Kenny/Johnson, Nixon, and Ford/Carter. The Ford/Carter combination is frustrating for data, but regardless the results we get:
- Kennedy/Johnson - lean heavily republican
- Nixon - lean heavily democrat
- Ford/Carter - lean heavily republican
Not easy to classify things in a straight forward way, but interesting data nonetheless!
 - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/09/the-politic...
- raging 1920s
- warring 1940s
- civil rights 1960s
- corporate 1980s
- identity politics 2000s
- ?? 2020s
This isn't so much about the politicians in office, but rather society itself shifting back and forth. We, probably as an evolutionary imperative, are never satisfied. So we assume the opposite of the present must be better and we push hard in that direction until we begin to forget the past and suddenly decide that the opposite of the present must be better and start to push hard back in the other direction. The entire cycle repeats on about a 20 year period. Probably not coincidentally about the time it takes for a new generation, who has 0 living experience of the 20 years before their birth, to come into existence. And they, like all youth, tend to rebel against the status quo. Perhaps their lack of voting is also why this trend tends to be more about society than its politicians.
It creates this amusing and constantly recurring paradox. The people lobbying hard for one side or the other ultimately end up creating the exact opposite. I think the only way this cycle would ever end is if people, in general, became more moderate and resistant to radicals. But then perhaps that, itself, would become the ideology that is rebelled against!
After a decade of hyper sensitive terror paranoia, subsequent charades and fake makeup-morality, it can actually feel refreshing. The honest statesman seems nearly deprecated today. This is important since I believe the success of both is a direct consequence of past governance.
But overall I don't think that much has really changed for most people. Maybe some offices took a little bit of damage, but I don't see that in a purely negative light. Civil liberties will probably suffer again, but that seems to be en vogue anyway.
Sorry Italy! You're not the funniest country in Europe anymore. Britain just got their own Silvio Berlusconi.
And we'll entertain ourselves in the meantime, whilst the industry will have their will.
It is also something that can be prepared by other people, considering that another commenter has pointed out that he comes from a political family, it could be that this was prepared for him for exactly this purpose.
It could simply be the genius of the political machine. When you have systems and multiple people in place, it's hard to assess individuals. Clearly someone is, we just don't know who. But from that perspective, the representatives are often not where the intellectual heavyweights with the real decision making either.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your argument here.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton gathered large bases because of what they were saying, but not because of how they said it. Rather than instilling confidence by charisma, they had to convince people of their abilities. In a way, that's much harder. Charisma is a bit like a cheat code.
You can also see this in Bill Clinton, who despite passing some dreadful legislation and being scandalized, people continued to have respect for, because he was very charismatic.
I suppose this was a long time coming, in marketing circles, it is agreed that "Generation X" was the first "Jaded" generation, and I feel like there's some link there. Marketing to that generation often involves taking the piss out of their own product, and it is now the generation which is right in the age group to start wielding significant power and still has a number of good working years.
Perhaps I’m the only one who hasn’t seen or knows exactly which video this refers to, and what it has to say about gaffes, but next time I would appreciate a link to go with a comment like this.
It's best to just assume they are in fact, a bumbling idiot.
1. W "knew stuff" and chose to present himself as a Texan
2. W "didn't know stuff" and chose to present himself as a Texan
The second option is by far more likely. For one of many examples take the following clip:
Is there any evidence at all that W actually knew what tribal sovereignty meant yet chose to completely bumble the answer here?
IMO he is someone who could have developed into a good Senator, but unfortunately was the president at critical point in history.
That is intellectual laziness. Climbing the political ladder is no mean feat. Sure, serendipity plays a big role, you need to be in the right place at the right time but don't dismiss people's intelligence based on public speaking.
Edit: Maybe we need a corollary to Hanlon's razor - "Never attribute to genius that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
In 2006? That seems far fetched.
Your point about cynicism and politicians of his generation being the first to ironically cater to it seems more solid to me.
Gen Xers have reached peak power. World leaders and CEOs are probably overwhelmingly Gen Xers. Up and coming politician and Managers and CEOs of new industries are probably Millenials, they are currently gaining significant influence.
But as I said, I agree with you, so don't really want to argue semantics :)
In the US in prior years it became such a farce (this edifice of careful behavior) that candidates would do handwringing over what color tie to wear and how tall their shoes would make them look and how preened their hair should be. In doing that they all but forgot to speak directly to voters. That’s what Johnson, Sanders and Trump, (among others), like them or not have brought.
People believed too much in the five o’clock shadow myth of Nixon’s initial defeat. That drove politicians away from the realm of realism to polish and spin.
In the end you can have amorphous politicians who can change their identity at any moment and be hailed for it, because they provide some form of emotional value to people in a world where nothing matters anymore anyway.
Looking at the new generation of entertainers on streaming or video platforms, many of them seem to have dark triad traits.
I'd disagree with your assertion that lacking cognitive empathy "is clearly a big handicap" and also that "it's definitely not clear whether lacking [emotional empathy] (as sociopaths do) is a handicap".
Speaking from personal experience I frequently fail to exhibit what is deemed to be the correct emotional response to the emotions of others by either misinterpreting their emotion, being unable to adduce the underlying cause for an emotion, or not caring about or being unaffected by their emotion. This has caused much negative interpersonal consequences and has been highly detrimental. I imagine that emotional empathy is quite a big component of what people call emotional intelligence. (I also don't have the little voice that says "don't say what you're about to say" that other people have but I think that's something else?)
However I have no trouble imaging things from the perspective of others. I'd go further than that, I am too good at imagining things from the perspective of others. It's practically a default setting of mine to flip roles and situations around to evaluate scenarios from another's perspective. It's why people with ideological biases infuriate me because it makes them unable to perform this simple "trick", same with someone or groups suffering from delusions of exceptionalism and other tribal biases. Because this is so prevalent and doesn't appear to impact negatively on individuals I have to conclude it's not so much of an immediate handicap, it doesn't appear to hinder people getting on in life the way lacking emotional empathy does. (It does have rather big societal consequences obviously which can eventually hurt the individual via the group but people are too 'stupid' to see this if I may say that without causing offense.)
A small reminder that this is a direct cause of Grenfell, where 72 people died in a burning building.
For example road accidents seem like a better comparison? Many people get pleasure and benefits out of being able to drive, but a couple thousand people die because of it every year, including many children.
He was part of a government that promised a "bonfire of red tape", and that included building standards.
> In a speech to the Federation of Small Business Cameron said 100 standards and building regulations were facing the bonfire – a move which he claimed would save around £60 million a year for housebuilders – or £500 for each new home built.
> His announcement effectively re-iterates the government’s commitment to trim down building regulations as part of its Housing Standards Review.
Grenfell Tower showed us why those regulations exist and what happens when you get rid of them - people die. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/15/grenfe...
From the Wikipedia article: "The national government commissioned an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which published a report in May 2018"
That report is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-revie...
There was previous criticism of UK fire regulation, that's mentioned in the Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Tower_fire#Criticism_...
English and Classics... seriously, dude? That's good enough for working at Starbucks and McDonalds, I guess, but not for much else. Least of all for effective policymaking.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20284021 and marked it off-topic.
'The Two Cultures is the first part of an influential 1959 Rede Lecture by British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow. Its thesis was that "the intellectual life of the whole of western society" was split into two cultures – the sciences and the humanities – which was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.'
Edit: Boris was also President of the Oxford Union, assistant Editor of the Telegraph, and Editor of the Spectator, as well as two-term London mayor. Surely you must give him some credit! I suggest it would take an extraordinarily fortunate fool to be able to pull off a record like that.
I was obviously engaging in some hyperbole to make my point as clear as possible, but the basic issue stands AFAICT. Is there any evidence we could look at of Boris Johnson's expertise in policymaking? So far I haven't really seen it, and "Eton and Oxford are great places and Johnson definitely knows his English/Classics/philosophy", while definitely impressive in some sense, is just not relevant to the issue. It's a bit like saying "Donald Trump is great at making deals and building things!", like, that just doesn't cut it. About the most I can say for him is that he may have learned some journalism on the job, which is a bit more relevant to current issues than anything about ancient philosophy - but no one sane would trust the average journalist to be an effective policymaker, either!
Max Hastings, his boss at the time doesn't have such a great opinion of Boris.
I would suggest as well that in more ordinary times, when the country has some decent leaders and is not
so bitterly divided, he would have absolutely no chance of rising to the position he looks now likely to hold.
But these are very strange times, and "chaos is a ladder".
> so bitterly divided
> very strange times
I'm not so sure we are as bitterly divided or that the times are as strange as we are led to believe, and I think both of above have been pushed hard by those that would seek to thwart Brexit: 'the country is so divided, we must compromise (BRINO) in order to heal these divisions!' and 'look at how broken our politics is, we must revoke Article 50 in order to safely navigate these perilous waters!'
Boris didn't even do anything with that one. Livingstone set everything up, but he left office before the scheme actually started. Boris just happened to be in charge when it started operating and he (very undeservedly IMO) got his name attached.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20281979 and marked it off-topic.
That said, the 'act of the fool' mightn't work in operational reality, because if everyone believes he's an unprepared bumpkin, then that's the reality, and he won't be respected.
His former editor at the Telegraph had some very harsh words about him, along the lines of 'he only cares about himself, he's totally unprepared, has no idea what he is doing' etc. and I'll gather that rings true.
So maybe he is a populist genius, but I'm not sure how well this will bode for the current EU/Brexit crisis.
I've been told by acquaintences who knew him at Oxford that he definitely plays the bumpkin card, but is in reality very, very shrewd. I think he did a good job as Mayor of London. His views are pretty much diametrically opposed to mine, but I suspect that he will become Prime Minister and will probably do a pretty good job (though I might not be happy with the outcome -- competence in people with differing goals is not always a good thing ;-) ). I guess we'll see how it goes.
Which implies that his kind of bumbling attitude in popular politics might very well be calculated, i.e. he's not a fool, he's brilliant.
I'll buy that he's borderline genius with the populist bits, but I also believe basically everyone in international politics who say he's a clown, totally unprepared, never serious. Some of the things serious entities have to say about him are pretty bad.
Apparently, people 'like him' and his sheer popularity I think is most of the driving force behind his success.
Anyone who's paying attention (small minority in reality) seems to regard him as a complete idiot, however.
The Financial Times, his former editor at the Telegraph, obviously the Guardian - any serious writing about him is seriously derisive.
These are harsh words 
The thing I don't understand is what the Conservatives are thinking at this time? Are they simply looking at the polls showing him as clearly the most electable in an election? Because I can't believe that conservative MP's don't realize he's a fool as well. Maybe they think they'll be able to combine him with a solid Brexit negotiator, but I don't see that working. I just can't fathom Boris Johnson sitting down with Merkel, and whoever the new EU President is going to be, and doing anything material.
Conservative members put Brexit above the union (with Scotland and Northern Ireland), above the survival of their party, and above the economy. The only thing they put above Brexit is keeping out Corbyn.
Edit, here it is:
I would note that all three of these are extremely anti-Brexit. Lots of people believe (rightly or wrongly) that Leave wouldn't have won without the support of Johnson and blame him personally for Brexit, which they see as an abomination. They aren't going to be even handed in their judgement of him: really, I'd say anything they write about him is going to be a smear.
Ultimately, though, that's a sideshow. He has no principles, forethought, or plan. So I struggle to understand how he'd improve the UK's position.
Since the Brexit vote the only people at the helm have been serious establishment types who saw the entire process as a damage limitation exercise, and who couldn't stop telling the country that what they had been offered and requested wasn't actually possible, the sky would fall and so on. Many such serious people made very serious predictions, most notoriously, the Treasury predicting that the vote would trigger an uncertainty-based recession that'd wipe out half a million jobs. Obviously the reality was very different.
Boris isn't an idiot. He is popular because he did a good job in London and comes across as a man who believes in Britain and wants to get things done. Whether he will or not is an entirely different matter; his party is still against him. But he's widely liked for understandable reasons.
The rule is against garden-variety politics—the kind with no intellectually interesting aspect: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.
Many good HN submissions have some political overlap. That's inevitable and fine as long as people don't use the site for political battle, which takes discussions out of the range this site exists for (the curiosity range). I've written about this a fair bit: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20political%20overlap&...
I felt since around late nineties that Western and Eastern politics are getting closer with each day, to the point of convergence.
See, that "ultrapopulism" did not start with Trump and Co., it started with mainstream, centrist parties beginning to resorting to extreme political maneuvers and demagoguery at around start of millennium, with WTC attacks greatly facilitating that.
Whatever slogans the modern ultrapopulists operate, could've easily be taken for something coming from Lenin, Stalin, Pol or Mao few decades ago.
I think comedians do a similar thing, practicing their act until it seems spontaneous but every punchline hits. Why should politicians do their job part of "public speaking" in a different way?
So what does "for real" mean? If a comedian manages to look spontaneous, yet every word and move has been practiced hundreds of times, is he for real?