Alan Hayman is a former BBC correspondent with more then 40 years' experience in broadcast.

Lazy, incompetent, dishonest and dissolute. That is the acid verdict on our current leader-in-waiting from newspaper columnist Simon Jenkins.

So was he being a tad too hard on the Right Honourable Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson MP (Eton and Oxford)?

I think so, and here’s why. To my mind, being lazy has been an asset – and not a vice - for most peacetime Prime Ministers.

The record suggests that lazy PMs have done far less damage than the hyperactive busybodies among our post-war politicians.

Take Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the last aristocrat to have the job, and possibly the laziest PM of the 20th century.

Lord Home was bored and baffled by all that stuff about taxes, industry, schools and hospitals.

So he let other people get on with it, while he dug the gardens at the back of Downing Street.

The result? The roses bloomed, life carried on more or less calmly and we staged no pointless invasions of other people’s countries on his two year watch.

Some years later, along came Sir John Major, the Brixton boy from a music-hall family who no-one could call an aristocrat.

In Cabinet debates, he would reportedly ask timidly: “And what if we just did nothing?” Good question, Prime Minister!

Sadly, Sir John did not manage to block the rushed blunder called the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Back in 1991, pitbull terriers were biting people (who’d have thought it?) and the tabloid press was screaming for action to stop them.

So a law was pushed through by one Kenneth Baker (memorably played by a slimy slug in Spitting Image, ITV’s satirical puppet show).

It left our local magistrates no freedom to apply the law sensibly and soon the tabloid press was screaming instead for Dempsey the pitbull and other doomed canines to be saved from destruction by the courts.

It took another six years and a good deal of public money to sort out the resulting mess.

So coming back to the present, will Mr Johnson prove a hyperactive or a lazy premier if he gets the job?

One thing is clear: He will most likely have just 99 days in office before the night of Hallowe’en, when we are due to leave the European Union – with or without an EU deal.

That may mean that inertia during Brexit - our greatest peacetime crisis in modern times - isn’t really open to him.

Civil servants are already drawing up lists of options for the next PM to choose from.

Will he find the self-discipline to study those brimming red boxes of Government documents late into the night?

Essex University’s much-missed politics Professor, Anthony King wrote of Margaret Thatcher: “If one is to control others, one must first exercise self-control. The Iron Lady was above all, iron with herself.”

Iron self-discipline has not been Boris Johnson’s most notable quality thus far.

But perhaps he may rise to the challenge of trying to run the United Kingdom, instead of writing well-paid weekly newspaper columns, conducting noisy domestic feuds, and getting stuck on zipwires.

Time will tell.