Not too long ago, Britain's Tories were in the loo, poll-wise.
In a July 21 story headlined, "As Brexit looms, the U.K. Tories fight for survival," NBC News reported:
After almost 10 years in power and 185 years in existence, its voters and members are leaving in droves to support the upstart Brexit Party.
It was the conventional wisdom on all sides - see here and here. As wildly opposed as those organs' political lines are, the stories could have been written by the same person. "The question is not who will lead the Conservative Party, but whether it will survive," The Economist Britishily put it.
Welp. Not anymore. Here's The Sun scarfing up the story today:
BORIS Johnson's gamble to shutdown Parliament has paid off as the Tory's lead over Labour has almost doubled in just three weeks, latest polls have revealed.
The boost comes after the Prime Minister announced his decision to prorogue Parliament for nearly five weeks next month in order to deliver Brexit.
The shock move was approved by the Queen, leaving just days for a possible vote of no confidence in Boris, or for rebel MPs to pass a law to push back the Brexit date.
And latest polls has seen the Tory's lead over Labour almost double in three weeks since the decision.
Suck it up, doomsayers. Rule, Britannia! What's fair to say here is that something has changed, the change that really matters, that of the new personality influencing events.
Britain's new leader, Boris Johnson, the country's last-ditch gamble on a man with a slightly wild and unexpected personality does seem to understand the stakes and better still, recognizes the kind of power needed to take the country on the course it voted for, as well as save his own party.
Johnson's acted ruthlessly on Britain's far-left oppositionists and 'remain' obstructionists so the British voters are throwing their support to him in droves. Turns out that's exactly what Britain -- and its old Tory party -- really needed.
According to the Sun:
More than half said they were happy with the PM's decision to prorogue Parliament for nearly five weeks next month - and four in ten were "extremely happy".
A poll of Sun readers described the decision as brave, decisive, excellent and fantastic. Others said they were ecstatic and delighted to hear the news.
Nearly three quarters of the 630 respondents said they thought it was more likely now that Boris would finally be able to get us out of the EU by October 31.
What it shows us here is that Johnson is a power player - and a risk taker - and a man with a general-like use of strategy. Johnson's stellar beginning comes as he sought to first neutralize the leftist clown show at home, taking quite a risk to get the Queen to shut down parliament, and now amassing the national unity needed to slay the dragons Britain faces abroad as it tries to extricate itself from the European Union. Shutting down parliament and not letting the morass of opposition stop him is one hell of a good beginning.
Conrad Black, who follows British affairs closely, has written a superb explainer of how Britain's power structure works and how Johnson has showed significant genius in using it to bend the 'arc of progress' (as Obama likes to say) toward the will of the British voters. Not surprisingly, this is what is driving the Tories to soar in the polls. Black begins deliciously, and his piece just get better and better:
No one in this country should underestimate the significance, for Canada and the world, of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ingenious measure for assuring the end of the crisis of immobilized government that has possessed the United Kingdom in the past three years. In 2016, 52 per cent of a heavy turnout of British voters chose to leave the European Union. The minority voted to remain — there was no option on the ballot for a compromise. The stark choice was selected by former prime minister David Cameron, because he was convinced that there was no chance that Britain, whatever its level of grumbling, would choose to “crash out” of the association with Europe in which the political elites were comfortable.
The British are the wrong electorate to bluff with such an artificially polar choice.
This is amazing. The British really are going to get what they voted for when they voted to leave. The result will stand as a newly reawakened Britain. Now they have a leader who's up for that and better still, knows what he's doing. Small wonder he and his party are now soaring. Good job, Boris!
Image credit: Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of detail from an image by International Atomic Energy Agency Director General // CC BY-SA 2.0