STORYTELLING can sometimes offer us greater insight than dry analysis. One anecdote I read recently convinced me that Boris Johnson won’t be as terrible a prime minister as he is predicted to be.

In 2006 the radio presenter Jeremy Vine was at an event where Boris Johnson was the after-dinner speaker. With minutes to go before he was due on stage, Mr Johnson arrived, sweating and spluttering and asked "Jeremy, where exactly AM I?’’

He asked for a pen and paper because he hadn’t prepared a speech. Jeremy Vine recalls seeing the words SHEEP and SHARK on Johnson’s scrawled notes and feeling a sense of dread about the disaster that was sure to follow.

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It was anything but. Mr Johnson’s frenzied demeanour and ignorance about what event he was at brought down the house. They loved him, despite his hectic delivery. Maybe because of it.

Mr Vine was both impressed and relieved. ‘"Something about the chaos of it – the reality, I suppose – was utterly joyful. The idea that this was the opposite of a politician, that suddenly we had an MP in front of us who was utterly real, who had come without a script or an agenda and then forgotten, not just the name of the event but his whole speech and the punchline to his funniest story – I watched in awe.’’

Eighteen months later, Jeremy Vine was at another awards ceremony where Mr Johnson was again the after-dinner speaker. Again, he was late. Again, he wrote notes minutes before going on stage. Again, he "forgot" what event he was at. He delivered the same anecdotes and "forgot" the same punchlines to the same jokes.

It was then that Jeremy Vine first saw the famous bumbling Boris persona that we are now so familiar with and realised – it is all an act.

Boris Johnson has played the long-game with his loveable buffoon shtick. He has a safety net against his own foibles, one he stitched together himself through decades of boundary-pushing faux eccentricity.

Having low expectations of a politician offers them a cushion against their own incompetence. Boris Johnson knows this. After all, he has spent decades playing the clown and reaping the rewards. The personality traits we ascribe to him: colourful; a character; authentic; real – are nothing more than excuses.

During the leadership contest, when neighbours of Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds called the police after hearing a loud altercation, Mr Johnson emerged from the controversy largely unscathed.

He steadfastly refused to answer questions on the incident, and gradually, the media simply stopped asking. It’s difficult to conceive of any other politician who could have shrugged off such bad publicity with such ease.

So, we should be cautious about assuming that Boris Johnson will be his own undoing or that under the glare of the top job, his ineptitude will finally be laid bare and parliament and voters will act accordingly.

So much is already priced-in when it comes to Boris Johnson that any whiff of seriousness or diligence will be hailed as him confounding expectations, rather than simply acting with the gravitas that any other prime minister is expected to.

He will brush his hair and ditch the jokes. Until, that is, he needs his fall-back persona to get him out of answering tricky questions. He will pitch himself as a unifying prime minister and the right-wing media will dab away their tears of pride and proclaim: "My, my - our boy has finally become a man.’’

Our current political climate will help. The over-arching sense of chaos as we hurtle towards the October 31st deadline will afford him the opportunity to not only play to his base, but to stretch the norms of the office of prime minister.

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The suspension of disbelief that Brexit has unleashed will be to his benefit. UK politics is a place where fiction can be sold as fact, experts are the enemy and news is only true when it affirms our world view. For a calculating and duplicitous figure like Boris Johnson, things couldn’t be better.

It’s easy to draw parallels between Donald Trump and our incoming prime minister. Both are narcissists. Both have colourful private lives and tell lies with ease and without shame.

Both men are bombastic and have an over-blown sense of self. But where Donald Trump really is as politically naïve – and frankly, stupid – as he appears: Boris Johnson is not.

His act is a rouse and a distraction from the power-hungry, shrewd politician underneath. Worst of all – we know this about him. We solved the puzzle many years ago.

In his first speech and cabinet reshuffle, we will get an insight into his Brexit strategy.

If the desire to leave on October 31st truly is do or die then we can expect him to ramp up the rhetoric around No Deal: both in the need for planning, and the need to respect the "will of the people’’ and crash out on World Trade Organisation terms.

With that comes the question of how. There are ongoing backbench discussions about the mechanism for stopping Prime Minister Johnson taking the unprecedented step of proroguing parliament. The feasibility of such a measure is hotly debated. Should he take that most drastic step then he could face a fatal vote of no confidence early in his premiership.

Boris Johnson famously prepared two speeches during the EU referendum: one supporting Leave, the other Remain. In the end, he surmised that backing Leave would best help his political ambitions.

His only immovable belief is in himself and his career. Given that, we could see him willing to break the promises he made during the leadership campaign to protect his grip on power.

In this scenario, Mr Johnson would be at pains to stress that No Deal is still on the table, but it is not his preferred option. Instead, he might announce a concerted effort to renegotiate elements of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in the hope that some minor changes and a dollop of bluster and salesmanship will help him get it through the House of Commons.

Add into the mix the shortening odds of a general election and we’ve got a politician famous for calamity beginning his tenure under precisely those conditions.

Those without values or principles are always difficult creatures to predict and Boris Johnson is no exception. What do know for certain is that the bar is set so low for Prime Minister Johnson that it will take very little effort or talent on his part for him to step over it.