The feel good factor is to politicians what the lost ark was to Indiana Jones. Much coveted, difficult to find, and once found, very tricky to keep hold of.
The latest politician to don the fedora and crack the bullwhip is Boris Johnson, the man who, back in 2012, achieved the ultimate in feel good by delivering the Olympics – and with it, the greatest show on earth.
The message here is not inferred, it is crystal clear – that Boris will do for the UK what he did for London. And in large part that means empowering it to feel good about its future.
The naysayers have been incandescent over the link.
His predecessor Ken Livingstone made the point that it was his administration that should get the credit, proving that success truly does have many parents, while failure is always an orphan.
Meanwhile, back at the fun palace of Westminster, Amber Rudd sniffingly rebuked the eager beavers at Team Boris, saying “enthusiasm and optimism are not sufficient”.
Team Hunt, where the sensible grownups hang out, is not the place for daring dreams of “do or die”, but rather it is measured and sober. Just the setting you want when the headteacher looks over half-moon glasses to tell you that you’re a disruptive dreamer.
For those of you suddenly driven to a panic attack with memories of past school reports, that is indeed the desired effect.
But not so fast. Isn’t it the very lack of dreamers and visionaries that most people feel is the biggest problem with politics right now? Those with the ability to think differently about seemingly intractable problems.
Apple founder, Steve Jobs, had advice on this. He said “it’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy”, thus evoking the swashbuckling spirit of the entrepreneurial adventure.
Of course, many in government are quick to make the oil and water point – that the lessons of business don’t transfer because they don’t mix.
A lot of this comes down to attitudes to risk. Fair enough. A government with lives to protect and economies to grow is right not to see itself as a player at the startup casino wheel, where success and failure are just table stakes in the journey.
However, the avoidance of risk has been the painful experience of the last three years. Tentative and iterative, a period where momentum has proved near impossible.
Meanwhile, the pursuit of opportunity was at the heart of London and the UK in 2012 – united, at ease, safe, fun, a beacon for the world. It’s easy to forget that in the run up, the Olympics were a risk that looked in great danger of not paying off.
And it is the attitude to risk and opportunity that at least partially explains why Boris is the marmite of British politics.
He is either viewed as a visionary or reckless, a winner or fantasist. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg wrote of Boris having “a plan that is full of ifs and buts – either heroic or foolhardy”. All of this speaks to Britain’s self-confidence in an uncertain age.
And while Brexit has sapped much in the way of the nation’s energy, there is much more to it than that. Technical, social and climate change will either imprison people or inspire them to new heights to deliver solutions. And it’s our attitude and adaptability to this change as people that will decide the future wealth of nations.
In his recent visit to London, Google supremo Eric Schmidt made the point that the rise of the machines doesn’t mean the end of jobs. It just means creating jobs that you can’t do yet – and those who adapt most quickly will win.
It was the spirit of the “win” that made Boris the natural born mayor – he created the motivating mood music which empowered a great many others to get on and make things happen.
It’s a given that having Boris as Prime Minister will strike discordant notes across the corridors of Westminster and Brussels. But there will also be a tune that we haven’t heard for sometime – and that’s the positivity from within government that it can win through.
There is no perfect outcome for Brexit, with or without a deal, but there must be a harmony of sorts.
Startups call it minimum viable product. For our next Prime Minister it will be, in the first instance, minimum viable unity.
Without it, we are joyless and at odds. Positivity and optimism are therefore not merely sufficient, they are the essential lifeline to the future.
For it was Boris’s hero Churchill who made the point that attitude is a small thing that makes a very big difference.
And Indiana Jones would have surely doffed his hat to that.