“If we are victorious in one more battle … we shall be utterly ruined.”
Like the good intellectual that he’s vigorously pretended not to be of late, Boris Johnson will probably know that line. It’s from the Greek historian Plutarch’s account of the battle that gave us the phrase “pyrrhic victory”, the kind of victory won at such cost that you almost wish you’d lost.
In theory, Johnson woke up on Friday morning having won the war. After David Cameron’s announcement that he would step down come October, Johnson is now the heir presumptive – albeit at this stage very presumptive – to the Tory leadership, perhaps only four months away from running the country.
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