Our Prime Minister | Dr. Rakib Ehsan

During the Prime Minister’s struggles with COVID-19, which have now left him receiving intensive care, I have found myself worrying over a politician that I used to have very little time for.

In fact, I would be lying if I said that I have not directed unsavoury remarks towards our PM in the past. At times, in typical Johnson fashion, the PM has spoken recklessly on socially sensitive matters. This includes drawing comparisons between niqab-clad Muslim women with law-breaking bank robbers, and approving pieces which offer the view that the people of Liverpool possess an inherent psychology of victimhood. My socially conservative beliefs are fundamentally at odds with some of the PM’s personal life circumstances over marriages and children; the current PM lecturing former Labour leader Ed Miliband on matters of family loyalty, was especially amusing.

But here are some truths about our Prime Minister. When obstructionist forces in the political, media, legal, and academic establishments were intent on blocking the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and overturning the 2016 referendum result, this PM stood firm – fighting on to enact the democratic instruction provided by the British people.

Photo by Allan Migdall on Flickr.

As leader, the PM has helped the Conservative Party establish itself as the leading electoral force among the British working classes. While Labour and the likes of its new leader Sir Keir Starmer were formulating its anti-democratic second referendum policy, Johnson was setting camp in Blue-Collar Brexitland, looking to build ties with working-class, pro-Leave voters – many of whom have traditionally beeninstinctively anti-Tory. The PM was heckled during a trip to Yorkshire, even being told by one gentleman to “get out of my town”. Now constituencies such as Wakefield – a West Yorkshire seat which had consistently returned a Labour MP since 1932 – are represented by Conservative parliamentarians following the 2019 General Election.

At a time when the Labour Party had abandoned swathes of blue-collar communities – many pro-Brexit, economically left-of-center, and culturally conservative on issues such as immigration – the PM provided an appealing electoral alternative. Based on a cutting “Get Brexit Done” message, the Conservatives offered a dynamic blend of “red and blue” politics. This incorporated comprehensive state investment in infrastructure projects and the restoration of frontline police numbers reduced under previous administrations, as well as the introduction of a regimented points-based immigration system.

This politician of considerable wealth and privilege spearheaded a campaign which led to the largest Conservative Party majority since 1987 – with the Tories now being able to “blockbuster” its way from Redcar in North-East England, all the way across to Clwyd South in North Wales. The “Tory Tsunami” brushed Labour aside in former coal mining seats such as Bassetlaw in provincial Nottinghamshire, constituencies which firmly sit in ‘steel country’ such as Scunthorpe, and post-industrial Welsh towns such as Wrexham. The Tories are now the leading party even in County Durham – home to the annual Miners’ Gala.

While it remains a mystery to the identitarian, grievance-obsessed leftists, there is a certain quality that the PM has which makes him as popular as he is among the British working classes. It is the same quality which helped him be a twice-elected Mayor of London. I found myself moved by a video which has recently done the rounds on Twitter of the PM, donning a floppy woolly hat, doing a bit of shopping in Milad Supermarket – a grocery store in Maida Vale, West London. After effortlessly chatting with the shop-owners about how the business was doing, Johnson took time for photos and conversation with excited customers who followed him out of the supermarket, before he rode off on his bike. Here was a man in his element – at a supermarket which, quite frankly, a good number of liberal-left, middle-class, anti-Johnson types would think is beneath them to be in.

The PM’s appeal lies in the fact that he makes no pretence of perfection – like many other human beings, he is deeply flawed, and is certainly intelligent enough to know this. But what he is not guilty of is a contemptuous attitude towards working-class British folk. Nor is he guilty of endless virtue-signalling on matters of immigration, crime, and terrorism. And while many politicians on the Left are struggling to demonstrate effectively the impression that they love and hold a great deal of affection for Britain, the PM undeniably comes across as the optimistic patriot.

Irrespective of your politics, which party you traditionally support, or the way you voted in the UK referendum on EU membership, there is no denying that the PM himself has become a body politic.

To lose a prime minister in the middle of a national health crisis brought on by a global pandemic, would be a crushing blow to national morale. At a time where anxieties and insecurities are rife, these would be exacerbated beyond measure with the demise of the nation’s charismatic and optimistic leader.

The PM is no doubt flawed. His weaknesses are well documented. And more times than not, he has proven to be a master of trivialisation.

But when all is said and done, he is ours, and I, for one, will pray for his recovery.

God Bless the Prime Minister.

Dr Rakib Ehsan is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. Follow him on Twitter: @rakibehsan

Photo by BackBoris2012 Campaign Team on Flickr.

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