Boris Johnson has had an undistinguished first year as Prime Minister. Johnson's other hero, alongside the great wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, is the outstanding Athenian statesman Pericles. Pericles was famous for defending Athenian democracy, so much so that his critics called him a populist.
There is little doubt that Johnson, whether he has modelled himself on Pericles or not, is a modern-day populist - and a very shrewd one at that.
It was he who fathomed the popular mood of the English working-class voters prior to the general election in December 2019.
It was he who laid waste to the traditional Labour strongholds in the north of England. He captured the zeitgeist of the normally anti-Tory Labour voters, who viewed the European Union with suspicion and disdain.
It was they who gave the Conservative Party its 80-seat majority, the biggest electoral success since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. They were responsible for rejecting long-serving stalwart Labour MPs, such as the "Beast of Bolsover", Dennis Skinner.
Johnson's genius was to reinforce their belief that Brexit was good and that he would deliver Brexit for them come what may.
He understood that they had made a firm decision in the June 2016 referendum to leave Europe and that he would honour their democratic decision.
Partially remaining in Europe was the product of a Labour Party that was confused and divided over Brexit. It was controlled by a politically correct elite in metropolitan London, out of touch with grassroots thinking in the wider country, especially in their own red heartlands.
That elite in Parliament and outside were wrapped up in their own absurd ideological squabbles and led by Jeremy Corbyn, who saw himself as a latter-day parliamentary Che Guevara, but who was out of touch with the real thinking and feelings of Labour voters.
Because of its belief in the focus groups and social media echo chambers, Labour thought the "buffoon" Boris Johnson would crash, but that he did not do.
His shock victory was not predicted and was reluctantly acknowledged by a stunned Opposition and a disbelieving media on election night.
It was similar to the shock that impacted the Democrats in the USA whenever the populist Donald Trump was surprisingly elected President, defeating favourite of the liberal media Hillary Clinton.
Love him or hate him, Johnson's populist anti-European insight confounded opponents within his own party, like former Chancellor Philip Hammond, in addition to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
His outstanding success has been a massive triumph for the Conservative Party, but a disaster for Britain and Northern Ireland as the UK tragically leaves the European Union under his premiership.
His jingoism and breezy optimism, as well as his affected buffoonery, is seen by his detractors as proof of his unfitness for government, when in fact it is all theatre, a political conjuring trick to please his support base and to confound his opponents.
He may act the fool, but he is no fool and has considerable political skills in communicating a clear message, which his listeners will understand and act on.
He is a prolific and talented writer, who can deliver an effective message. The mistake that his opponents have made is to underestimate him.
The first few months of his premiership was marked by a ruthlessness in purging 21 Tory rebels who wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
This move cost him his majority in Parliament, but laid the way for an inevitable general election in December, successfully based on his promise of getting Brexit done.
But his victory and his huge personal endorsement has now been superseded by the terrible impact of the coronavirus pandemic and, in particular, Johnson's perceived poor handling of it.
His initial, rather dismissive, attitude has coloured the public's negative perception of his handling of this major peacetime hyper-crisis.
This was reinforced by his over-protective and forgiving attitude to top aide Dominic Cummings when he violated, at least in spirit if not technically, the lockdown restrictions.
This both angered and alienated the public, who were themselves wearied by the lockdown and its privations.
But unlike his great hero Churchill, Johnson has not risen to the challenge of the greatest national crisis in modern times.
He has shown poor leadership and has lost touch with the ordinary voter, deeply worried by threat of the pandemic.
Alas, poor Pericles succumbed to an unidentified virulent plague in Athens in 429BC. At the time of his death his star was very much on the wane.
By contrast, in 2020AD Johnson has survived the contemporary plague of coronavirus, but his political star may wane further if he does not reassert the leadership that he once successfully displayed.