ROWS of uniformed police officers flanked Boris Johnson as he made his first speech of what the Government has described as the unofficial election campaign.

It was a jarring sight and symbolic of the monumental week of politics we have just endured.

None of this is normal. Despite the maddening attempts to justify the lengthy prorogation of Parliament at a time of national crisis, it is not normal.

Michael Gove being unable to answer with a clear and resounding “yes” when asked whether the Government would obey the rule of law, is not normal. And purging your party of 21 MPs on the same day as you lose your parliamentary majority is not normal either.

Given the turbulent events of this week, we should perhaps not be surprised that Boris Johnson used police officers to decorate his rambling and incoherent campaign speech. It had the whiff of Trump about it and signalled the direction that Johnson is preparing to go.

On this, he has confounded my expectations. When he won the leadership contest, I wrote in these pages that Boris Johnson would soon put on another costume. I surmised that – given his lifetime’s ambition was now in sight – he’d stop the bumbling buffoonery and slip into a new persona. That persona, I had imagined, would be one of seriousness. I assumed that he would – at least in his first few months – play the statesman role.

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On all this, I was wrong. Boris Johnson didn’t decide to play dress up in a prime minister costume. What we have witnessed this week is the mask finally slipping and the real Boris Johnson – the man we have been warned about – coming to the surface.

It has been unnerving, to say the least. Under scrutiny he has reacted with fury and shown a worrying lack of control. He snarled and shouted his way through his first parliamentary sessions as Prime Minister. With his lip curled as he lobbed insults at the leader of the opposition, it became clear that the Boris pantomime was now over.

Sonia Purnell, author of Just Boris: A Tale of Blonde Ambition, warned us of this during the leadership campaign. As somebody who has worked alongside him, she described him as “temperamentally unsuitable” for any position of power.

“Boris Johnson can change from bonhomie to a dark fury in seconds. His normally jokey demeanour flashes into a sarcastic snarl, his skin reddens and blotches, his eyes dart into an intense narrow glare and on the worst occasions his lips curl back to reveal wisps of spittle. The all-out favourite to be our next prime minister has the fiercest and most uncontrollable anger I have seen. A terrifying mood change can be triggered instantly by the slightest challenge to his entitlement or self-worth.”

This begs the question why, after decades of using performance to advance his political career, Boris Johnson has chosen this moment to lay bare the nicks and edges of his character.

The answer is power – and powerlessness. He’s got the job but doesn’t know what to do with it. He doesn’t care about Brexit, which was only ever a vehicle to get him where he needed to be.

Then there is the powerlessness of his situation. No prime minister has ever found themselves so irreconcilably hobbled and weak so early in their premiership.

The opposition parties, after finally co-ordinating themselves into a force to be reckoned with, are now in control. For a man so used to getting his own way, this will sting. Add into that mix the complete lack of respect that MPs – including many in his own party – have for him and it’s no wonder that the thin-skinned, narcissistic Johnson is starting to unravel before our eyes.

We saw Boris the clown when he wanted to be loved. As Prime Minister, he has adopted populist rhetoric and strong-man imagery in a bid to be feared.

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The problem he faces are many. But from all we know about his personality I’d venture that it’s not Brexit and whether he will be able to deliver on his October 31 pledge that is keeping him awake at night.

His primary concern will be how he is viewed by the public and his colleagues. His presence is booed and protested everywhere he goes. He is not loved.

His macho posturing is met with laughter and ridicule from those it is designed to intimidate. He is not feared. We may have known who the real Boris Johnson was long before he decided to show us, but that doesn’t negate the vulnerability of his position.

He is a limping and rudderless prime minister without a plan and without a clue. He has shown himself utterly incapable of the responsibilities of his office and without the respect of those who hold his fate in their hands.

The misery of his untenable position should be of no comfort to anyone. For the time being, he is our prime minister and we will suffer the consequences of his erratic behaviour in the coming weeks and he tries desperately to cling on to power.

If those around Boris Johnson continue to facilitate his prime ministerial tantrum, they will soon come to regret it.

There is nothing more dangerous or unpredictable as a person who craves power beyond all else feeling it slip away from their grasp.