London Mayor Boris Johnson’s prospects for becoming the UK’s next prime minister received a major boost from the country’s former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, who in a new book compares him to the UK’s first Jewish prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli.
In an excerpt published in the Daily Mail, Hurd writes that Johnson’s greatness—much like Disraeli’s— derives not from political achievements or principles, but from character and wit. Furthermore, writes Hurd, Johnson shares Disraeli’s reputation for ‘wicked’ behavior with women, and candidness.
At first noting Johnson’s public missteps, including an affair and insulting the people of Liverpool, Hurd writes “But, one way or another, Boris has nonetheless done today what Disraeli did in the 19th Century, namely raise the level of interest in politics up several pegs.”
Hurd’s book, Disraeli: Or The Two Lives, studies how the prime minister established a permanent hold on the Conservative Party despite being a “bankrupt Jewish school dropout and trashy novelist.”
He writes: “He held few principles which he was not ready to alter for the sake of immediate tactical gain…
“If Disraeli were alive today he would despair at the lack of courage and bravery among our political classes. These days we are subjected to parliamentary performances that border on banal.”
Mr. Johnson is “the most prominent exception who proves the rule,” Hurd writes.