Five years ago this column exclusively1 broke the story that Boris "Don't bother me with the facts" Johnson was poised to return to Parliament in order to attain his ambition of having his picture hung in the stairwell at 10 Downing Street2. Today that dream has become a reality. Johnson, having been elected as leader of the Conservative Party by a small number of members, now finds himself without a majority, with "colleagues" who mistrust him and an impossible negotiating position with the EU. Why on earth does he want this job?
Johnson's stance on Brexit seems to be akin to the crusty, argumentative old codger in the golf club who gets so irritated he storms out and tears up his membership card, and then pokes his head round the door and says "I've paid my last penny in fees and I hate you all but I insist on jolly well playing here whenever I like just like all the real members". What can he possibly say on his first meeting in Brussels that will be different to the scorn and lies he has already put out during his career?
I suppose it is incumbent on me to link this story with the return of the very hot weather to the UK. Really very hot, actually. Temperatures in London today are expected to reach about 33c, much the same tomorrow then a rather nasty 36c on Thursday before dropping back to something we are more used to. Can Boris take the heat? Will British politics go into melt-down? Are expectations at fever-pitch and will our man remain icy cool as all around are wilting? These are some of the meteorological/political considerations that headline writers will be pulling out from their rusty old filing cabinets (from the drawer marked "C" for clichés), polishing up and using whilst casually whistling and looking around as if to say "Look how clever I've been and I've not pinched this from anyone, honest". And who are we to stand out from the crowd on this one?
1. Well, maybe a small exaggeration here. Nothing serious. Nothing that will get me slung out of the League of Responsible Bloggers, should that organisation ever get formed and should I happen to become a member.
2.The stairs are lined with portraits of British Prime Ministers which grin down at you as you make your way to the main reception room for a quick glass of warmish white wine and a couple of unidentifiable canapés. I've been there, all right?