Despite his fruity tones, Eton education and attempts to perfect the image of a bumbling dolt, Boris Johnson is an astute populist.
It’s his gift for mass communication, and an ability to attract support from both sides of the political divide, which makes David Cameron so nervous.
But the Mayor of London’s steady progress towards a bid for the Conservative Party leadership has bounced into the buffers.
His decision to invite Rupert Murdoch as a personal guest to the Olympic swimming finals was uncharacteristically clumsy.
Johnson once dismissed phone hacking as ‘balderdash.’
Potential supporters may now be thinking he’s as stupid as he looks.