A discussion of The Boris Phenomenon on The PRmoment Podcast

On the PRmoment podcast this week we talk about The Boris Phenomenon: Why don’t scandals, seemingly broken promises and political failings seem to affect Boris’s popularity in the same way other politicians would suffer.

Here with me to discuss this is public affairs grandee Lional Zetter who has been a member of the Conservative Party for 30 years and long time, but now retired, PR Agency Dr - Richard Houghton. Richard is a member of the Liberal Democrats and I think it’s fair to say is currently somewhat bemused by UK politics.

For context, despite the controversy around Brexit, the difficulties of the last 2 years of leading the country through the COVID pandemic, and a decent number of gaffs since he became PM in 2019, the Tories have a 1 point lead according to Opinium’s latest poll.

Boris’s approval rating is 30%, compared to Keir Starmer’s at 29%.

Boris’s disapproval rating is 50%, compared to Kier Starmer’s at 37%

Before we start, thanks so much to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

For those observant amongst you, you’ll have noticed The PRmoment Awards 2022 have now opened for entries. Take a look at the home page of the awards microsite for more information on the categories and the entry deadlines.

Lionel and Richard, welcome to the show

2.30 mins Lionel on The Boris Phenomenon.

3.30 mins Will Boris lead the Tories into the next election?

4 mins Is Boris’s Teflon coating beginning to scratch?

Richard Houghton on The Boris Phenomenon: “His lack of connection with the truth and lack of concern around loyalty make him a highly effective campaigner—look at how he did the Brexit campaign. Almost fact free, appealing to the emotions—he’s damn good at it.”

5 mins Is Boris a better campaigner than he is a communicator?

Lionel Zetter: “Governing actually bores him, that’s why he doesn’t pay sufficient attention, that’s why he doesn’t do his homework and that’s why he occasionally gets caught out”.

5.30 mins Richard Houghton: “The implications of his inability for details are pretty serious. This phenomenon has some pretty rough edges to it.”

6 mins Is Boris enjoying his time as Prime Minister?

8.30 mins Why Lionel believes Boris is not a Conservative, he’s a libertarian.

9.30 mins But why does the UK public not seem to care more about Boris’ indiscretions?

11.30 mins “So far Keir Starmer hasn’t been able to deal with Boris.”

14 mins Lionel talks us through his “dull: interesting theory” on British Prime Ministers.

16 mins Why even Cummings, once part of Boris’s inner team, can’t land a punch on Boris.

17 mins How charisma and self belief are at the heart of The Boris Phenomenon.

19 mins Why Boris has changed the rules of politics in the UK.

21 mins A charming man but a bad human being?

Lionel Zetter: “Politicians on the whole don’t tend to be very nice people.”

22 mins Do good people make good Prime Ministers?

25 mins What would it take for Starmer to beat Boris at the next election?

“The unending, insatiable demands of the National Health Service could cause a rift in The Conservative Party. By the end of this parliament the NHS will take around 44% of government expenditure.”

30 mins Is Boris a lucky general?