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Can all-new, upgraded, Boris 3.0 save the Tories from a system crash?

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Welcome to Boris 3.0, the updated model rolling off the production line. New Boris is attracting switchers from the Remain wing of the Tories and has solidified his base among Leavers (obliterating hardcore Brexiteers in the first ballot of MPs). All of this has happened for the oldest reason in the political playbook. Barring an act of God of the sort insurance policies exclude, Johnson is about to win the leadership race. Victory is a currency that buys time and favour for the blond mop that wears the crown, at least while everyone else is reeling from it.

That leaves the question of whether the Conservative Party and Johnson himself can figure out how to use this time and favour to avert disaster over a no-deal Brexit economic rupture. For all the dislike and outright scorn Boris attracts, he brings energy and purpose to the sagging project of the Tories in government. And the collective consciousness of his party does not believe anyone else has as good a chance of beating Labour.

In many ways, the Johnson ascendancy and the Rory Stewart insurgency are two sides of the same coin. A lot of base political metal needs to be turned to gold to save Tory seats at the next election. Each of these two characters is, all differences aside, a symptom of a desperate desire for a better recipe than has been on offer. Both preach a need to connect to voters — a trait that eluded Theresa May. Both want to bring a finality to the Brexit question — just a different kind. And being Old Etonians, they definitely do not want to do it........

© Evening Standard