Every prime minister is at risk of short-termism, neglecting grand strategy for daily tactics. It’s one of the inherent tensions of the job: the person who should be thinking about the long-term interests of the country is also expected to manage its crises on an hourly basis. The ship’s navigator must hold the wheel.
Boris Johnson is unusually vulnerable to this criticism. Journalism is poor training for long-term thinking. The lives of newspaper hacks are defined by deadlines just hours away and a restless desire to move on to the next story, some new thing that might catch the reader’s flickering gaze.
My 20 years as a full-time journalist, some of that spent editing the PM’s columns, sharpened my reflexes but shrank my mental horizons.