Insofar as he has a strategy, Johnson’s plan is all based on the power of a lie, or to use the polite term, a bluff. The bluff is a no-deal Brexit. The basic belief of Johnson and those around him is that the way to get a great deal out of the EU is to pretend that you are quite happy to crash out without one. But bluffing only works if you do not already have a reputation as one of the world’s biggest bluffers. In this poker game, Johnson doesn’t have a tell. He is the tell. To put him into No 10 is to erect a neon sign over Downing Street that says: “Don’t believe a word of it.” The knowingness that Johnson has exploited to such great effect works within a circle of collusion.
The new PM’s rise to No 10 is the carefully managed product of three decades of a show stage-managed by and about himself, says author and columnist Fintan O’Toole