Ben Lowry: Boris Johnson is under-estimated by his enemies

That Boris Johnson let down unionists by agreeing an Irish Sea border in 2019, after travelling to Belfast the previous year to say he would never tolerate one, should have been little surprise.

By Ben Lowry
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 6:40 am
Updated Sunday, 17th April 2022, 8:27 am
In recent weeks Boris Johnson has emerged from near political ruin to become one of the most prominent supporters of the Ukrainian resistance. Mr Johnson is photographed during a visit to Lydd airport in Kent where asylum seekers will be flown for processing to Rwanda
In recent weeks Boris Johnson has emerged from near political ruin to become one of the most prominent supporters of the Ukrainian resistance. Mr Johnson is photographed during a visit to Lydd airport in Kent where asylum seekers will be flown for processing to Rwanda

A generous way of explaining what happened is that he was so determined to be prime minister that he would promise anything to get there — and in making that pledge against an internal UK barrier, he was undermining the woman he wanted to replace, Theresa May.

But whatever the prime minister’s shortcomings, his critics and enemies often under-estimate the man. He is likened to Donald Trump but the comparison is completely unfair. In many ways he is the opposite of the former US president.

Mr Trump was not only unembarrassed by his ignorance on multiple issues, he boasted about his brilliance in matters of which he had no experience (such as the military).

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Mr Johnson on the other hand often plays the fool when in fact his world class education puts him comfortably within the top 1% of the population in terms of knowledge.

Anyone who has read some of his former newspaper columns will realise what a supremely intelligent and thoughtful man he can be.

In recent weeks he has emerged from near political ruin to become one of the most prominent supporters of the Ukrainian resistance.

And he showed high emotional intelligence (or you might say cunning) in the way that he apologised for the partygate episode and professed humility over it all.

I suspect he will weather this storm, but Owen Polly, in his weekly column this coming Monday, writes maybe not.

Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter editor

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