Johnson will be formidable to beat.

He’s capitulating to a political position that eats into populist positions on the right and on the left.

Boris Johnson is once again morphing, and becoming decidedly more liberal. But no, he won’t be becoming a Cameroon anytime soon, he’s becoming something altogether different.

Johnson is keeping certain positions from his prior Cummings-era incarnation. He’s maintaining authoritarian and populist rhetoric and actions on asylum seekers, law and order, immigration, and hard Brexit. These are all places where the public’s views are decidedly to the right. These positions serve the Tories well because Labour can’t embrace them without betraying everything they stand for, and they can paint Labour as soft on ___ insert vulnerable group here ____.

Same time, he’s becoming Keynesian on investment, taking up the mantle of climate change (albeit green washing and empty commitments so far) , big cash splashing on public services, and softening his style to the style of a One Nation Tory. The public are on board with this approach (they agreed with most of Labour’s 17 and 19 policies) and it detoxifies the Tory brand as cruel bastards while simultaneously eliminating Labour’s strengths.

If I had no political principles and were advising Johnson how to hegemonize the political sphere for the next decade, I’d advise this approach almost to the letter. He’s tacking to the centre while maintaining the extreme positions that resonate. If Trump had this nuanced a strategy (as opposed to trying to replicate a 1960s whitelash strategy) he’d be looking forward to four more years of shafting his country from the Oval Office right now.

Despite much speculation on whether this crisis would finish Johnson, he’s made it through (albeit scraped it), and as of right now looks most likely to lead his party into 2024, if he so wishes. Sunak’s star is beginning to wane.

Is Johnson beatable in a general election? It really, really remains to be seen, and we have no idea what positions he and Starmer will have moved to by 2024, all this will become clearer over the next few years. The irony of this whole thing is the Tories have found a governing strategy that works as soon as Cummings leaves; not a coincidence.

The fight for Labour just got a whole lot harder.