1997 article predicted the UK’s political future – apart from Boris Johnson learning Welsh
A 1997 article in the Independent is being hailed as having predicted the UK’s political future – apart from Boris Johnson learning Welsh.
The article ‘the cabinet of tomorrow?’ by Stephen Castle and Ariadne Birnberg looked through a crystal ball at who would be running the Westminster government by the 2020s – at that point, almost a quarter of a century in the future.
The predictions for a Conservative government included Boris Johnson, Nadhim Zahawi, Chris Grayling and Chris Pincher, none of whom were MPs at the time.
It also included Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland, then only a councillor for Dyfed Council, who left the government in Wednesday’s reshuffle.
Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister, Nadhim Zahawi Secretary of State for Education, and Chris Pincher Minister for State for Housing. Chris Grayling was Secretary of State for Transport until 2019.
The prediction was not however perfect, however, as it also including John Bercow, who was Speaker of the House of Commons until 2019 but left the post having fallen out with the Conservative party over the issue of Brexit.
The article is also remarkably prescient in its description of Boris Johnson, then a candidate for Clwyd South at the 1997 General Election.
“Precocious associate editor and columnist for the Daily Telegraph, 32- year-old Johnson has been called the ‘rising star of the write, not right’,” the article says.
“After indulging his taste for politics and intrigue as president of the Oxford Union, Boris exercised his ‘belief in freedom’ as a journalist, Eurobashing and penning paeans to British ‘ordinariness’.
“Not shy in clashing with party lines, Boris would ‘renegotiate EU membership so Britain stands to Europe as Canada, not Texas, stands to the USA’. Pericles, state-builder and negotiator of Athenian autonomy, is his hero.
“He is another one of our panel who is unlikely to make it to West- minster until 2002. He is standing in Clwyd South – but he is rumoured to be learning Welsh.”
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