Why Boris Johnson’s career in journalism could be the key to his successful premiership

The profession gives you skills that serve political leaders well, especially at a time when presentation matters. I would also say that, for better or worse, our prime minister is already showing us how

Mary Dejevsky
Thursday 08 August 2019 19:28 BST
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeats his Brexit plans: 'We are going to leave the EU on the 31 October'

Since Boris Johnson became prime minister, his past as a journalist has largely been held against him. Almost the only positive appraisal of his first career came – well, it would, wouldn’t it? – from his former employer, which lauded him as “the first Telegraph journalist since Winston Churchill to lead the country”.

Even erstwhile colleagues have taken a dim view of someone who essentially changed sides, from the reporter to the reported-on. And journalism, after all, comes with its own baggage: in successive league tables of public trust, journalists have long languished at the bottom, along with estate agents and politicians. Johnson ticks two of those boxes.

Now I am not going to go into the vexed question of whether journalism is a trade or a profession or a craft. Nor am I going to argue the merits or otherwise, of Johnson’s particularly florid brand of journalism – from straight bananas in Brussels to burqas in Britain. But I am going to argue that journalism can be a good, even excellent, preparation for a prime minister, especially in this day and age, and that some of the upsides are already apparent. How so?

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