THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE, so let’s play a guessing game.
Whom am I describing?
Here are your clues:
- He was born in New York City.
- He sports a shock of blondish hair that is the focus of keen public interest.
- He’s been married twice before and has children by several different women.
- His latest significant other is quite attractive and much younger.
- He’s wildly popular with his conservative base.
- He’s the leader of major world power.
Of course, no one could fault you if you answered “Donald Trump” to the above. But I’m describing Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom.
I’m certainly not the first to draw comparisons between the leader of the United States and the leader of the United Kingdom.
Love them or hate them, both men are loaded up with moxie.
Here’s how I see Boris’-(or as some call him ‘Bojos’)-moxie:
Moxie is made in the USA.
OK, I know that moxie flourishes in every corner of the world. But there’s no denying that Americans seem to have a particular penchant for celebrating and cultivating moxie.
The man who would become prime minister of the United Kingdom was actually born in the good ole’ USA. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in NYC in 1964 to British university students. He held dual citizenship until 2016.
He lived in the US for only a few months before his parents returned home to the United Kingdom to continue their studies.
But the real foundation of Johnson’s moxie isn’t rooted in US soil. It was built in his privileged education at Eton and Oxford. He cultivated his eccentric personality there, and while his teachers noted his laziness and tardiness, he was popular amongst his peers. He developed life long friendships with well-connected upper-class elites. His classmates at Oxford included a who’s who of the UK’s ruling class, including David Cameron, William Hague, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, and Nick Boles.
It’s clear that Johnson had an early gift for networking and showmanship. It’s a gift that has served him well over the years, even if it has cost others.
Moxie knows how to deliver a message.
Much like Donald Trump, Johnson is a compelling communicator. He knows how to tap into what people are feeling, and craft and delivers messages that resonate with them. His communication skills have made him the most popular conservative politician in the United Kingdom.
After graduating from university, Johnson found his way to journalism, first at The Timesand later — after being fired for inventing a quote — at The Daily Telegraph. Johnson began covering the European Commission in Brussels and found his voice as a critic of Eurocentrism. Again, Johnson faced accusations of playing fast and loose with the truth to serve his own ambitions and goals. Fellow journalists criticized his stories as being peppered with lies and misrepresentation aimed at discrediting unity. But the stories had emotional resonance, and they connected with a Conservative-leaning audience.
Johnson began to branch out into television appearances, not on serious news programs, but on more popular entertainment shows. He cultivated his sloppy but posh persona on satirical, comedic shows and gained a following with a wide swath of viewers.
Johnson began leveraging the platform he built as a journalist and entertainer to jump-start his political ambitions. He was elected as a Conservative member of Parliament in 2001 and thus began his ascent to Prime Minister.
Along the way, he also held office as the Mayor of London and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Theresa May.
I get the feeling that becoming prime minister was always the goal for Johnson, and that he didn’t just bumble his way into that role by accident. From his days at Oxford, he was crafting the connections, and character that would best serve his ambitions.
Moxie thrives on palace intrigue.
Keeping track of who double-crossed Johnson and whom Johnson has double-crossed is at least as difficult as keeping track of who fought on which side during the War of the Roses.
He seemed well-positioned to run for Prime Minister in 2016 until his previously supportive friend and Oxford classmate Michael Gove flipped on him and threw his support behind a rival. That rival’s candidacy fizzled, and Theresa May went on to win. In a bid to neutralize Johnson, May appointed him to the most powerless role of Foreign Secretary.
Boris had been one of the leading voices for Brexit, Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. May failed to deliver on a Brexit deal and was forced to resign as prime minister. Johnson saw his chance. He ran for the office on the promise that he would deliver the Brexit deal, and he won.
Johnson did deliver a deal that looks remarkably like the deal May had put together.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic that has come to his own door — Johnson and several members of his administration have tested positive — he must execute the deal!
It will take moxie to defeat coronavirus and shepherd the United Kingdom into a new era.
If anyone has the moxie to do it, it’s Boris Johnson!
Boris Johnson’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson