For a leader who has handled the coronavirus crisis as badly as most journalists say he has, Boris Johnson remains remarkably popular. So what’s his secret, asks John Rentoul

Never show your fear. Peter Mandelson explained how he maintained his reputation as someone who stayed calm in a crisis in an interview last week with Matt Forde, the author of Politically Homeless. It was one of many fascinating insights from someone who understands politics better than most. It was particularly striking to hear him say: Im rather proud of being a role model for young gay people.  
It was in that context that he talked about fear. He has never hidden his sexuality, but equally he has never until now made anything of it. In the interview, he recounted the moment in 1998 when Matthew Parris, the gay former MP, outed him on Newsnight in 1998. Mandelson was watching the programme at home and didnt bat an eyelid when Parris said he was gay.  
The comment provoked a media storm, however, and Mandelson said that Alastair Campbell, Tony Blairs press secretary, wanted him to issue a clarifying statement, which Mandelson was reluctant to do. The prime minister decided against it, saying it would give the story another push, but Mandelson was besieged by the media every time he went out, and had to tell himself he had nothing to be ashamed of and never show your fear.