Napoleon was more concerned whether someone was lucky than with their military prowess and then there’s Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry persona taunting baddies as to the number of bullets he’d fired and asking if they felt lucky.
Johnson has done well in the polls, both his personal ratings and the Conservatives have improved.
He has to resolve Brexit and Europe is the rock on which many Conservative leaderships have foundered.
Contingency planning for “no deal” is underway and the EU27 are also undertaking activities, but Macmillan’s “events” mean this shouldn’t be the preferred option. The worst case scenario would be a death attributable to “no deal”.
The current Commission; Barnier, Tusk, etc, are on the way out so Johnson is now dealing with people who could have a different perspective.
We seem to have had “ping pong” diplomacy, the UK proposes something, the EU finds fault and bats it back. If the underlying philosophy is to be unhelpful this is understandable.
Change the philosophy, get round a table to agree what has to be achieved (ends) and then how to get there (means) and progress can be made. If this is now the environment a positive outcome is possible. Then some smart PR ensures no one loses face.
There is speculation about an election.
Team Johnson are probably commissioning polling in key seats and testing messages. There may not be a preferred date – yet – as there are things they don’t control. It’s unlikely that a confidence vote would be lost but Remainers could gain control of the order paper.
A post-Brexit election, with a deal, is lowest risk as Johnson’s Corporal Jones should beat Corbyn’s Private Fraser.
The Fixed Term Parliaments Act empowers incumbents, the opposition’s refrain is always “bring it on” so prevarication would lose them credibility, and a pre-Brexit election has advantages.
A shorter campaign than 2017’s would reduce Corbyn’s ability to build up momentum and Labour would be forced into an unambiguous Brexit position, probably Remain, which would cause a split as at least 26 MPs are against this.
The ”trigger ballot” system, with a reduced threshold, to decide whether Labour MPs can be challenged is underway, meaning many are looking inwards. This matters to Corbynistas as the parliamentary party is currently largely Corbynsceptic.
The unpredictable factor is the Brexit Party; a political party, but not as we know it! Lessons were learnt from UKIP’s early 2010s growth when too many undesirables generated negative media coverage. Centralisation facilitates message control and registered supporters, unlike members, have no status or say. Parliamentary candidates are required to set up a campaigning infrastructure in their allocated constituency, but parliamentary election literature can be produced and distributed centrally.
The case for a deal with the EU is overwhelming and would be an all round win-win, but is there the will and could Johnson get it through Parliament?
An election before 31 October, whether chosen by, or forced upon, Johnson would be very uncertain.
How much Brexit Party support could he attract? There are some Brexiteers who, after three years and numerous broken promises, have lost faith in the Conservatives.
Assuming Labour becomes a Remain (but split) party, but with a lifelong Eurosceptic leader, how much support could they recover from the LibDems?
These should be the questions Team Johnson are trying to answer but I don’t feel lucky enough to head for the bookmakers!