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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. This year, the service has been closed to members of the public due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

No 10 refurb

Voters find Boris’s flaws reassuring

Peter Nicholls/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Not since Margaret Thatcher has a prime minister “provoked such visceral loathing”, says Janice Turner in The Times. Even the mention of “Johnson” – “the familiar ‘Boris’ risks an embolism” – makes some of my friends pound the table: “Bullingdon, adulterous, selfish, reckless, lying, sleazy, chancer…” So why doesn’t this show in the polls? Why do people warm to this “terrible human being”? The answer is not just that his supporters have “priced in” his flaws. They actually find them reassuring: the six (or so) children, the two divorces, the demanding girlfriend, the weight problem. “His life is a blur of chaos and drama.” In popular parlance, he’s “a messy bitch”.

Nobody believes our PM, with his “filthy car and ill-fitting suits”, cares about wallpaper. And when they see “Carrie Antoinette” running up a gargantuan décor bill, they think of the sister-in-law who went bonkers doing a kitchen extension. So long as Johnson didn’t “wang it on expenses”, they’ll shrug. The PM’s supporters instinctively distrust neat, smooth professional men; they find lawyerly Keir Starmer more trustworthy than Johnson, but believe the latter, “forever undone by his own appetites”, is more likely to sympathise with their own frailties. If the pandemic were out of control, it would be different. But for once Britain is the envy of the world, and no one wants to listen to a “pursed-lip puritan… they’d rather dance with the messy bitch”. 

Read the full article here.