As Barack Obama's strategist David Axelrod says in that excellent best-selling tome, Winners: And How They Succeed, "conventional wisdoms are almost always wrong."

As the author of the said tome, which draws on common lessons from winners in politics, business and sport, I was happy to hear this morning that my incessant challenging of that most recent conventional wisdom – that Boris Johnson would be our next Prime Minister – has been proven to be correct.

It is not just that he who wields the knife so rarely wears the crown (a conventional wisdom that may yet see off Michael Gove too). It is more, as I have said in interview after interview since last Thursday's national catastrophe, that Johnson went overnight from loveable rogue to divisive hate figure for many of the people who used to quite like him because he is a bit of a joker.

It was while doing such an interview at College Green on Tuesday, for Channel 4 News, that I heard the unmistakable sound of angry demonstration heading down towards us from Parliament Square.

As I talked, about Labour's travails as Jeremy Corbyn refused to do the decent and obvious thing that people who cannot lead ought to do when they are leaders only in name, I assumed it was another pro-JC protest whipped up by Momentum.

But then I heard the football style chant "if you all hate Boris, clap your hands." Then Hey Jude, but with 'E' instead of 'Hey' and 'U' instead of 'Jude'. It was all rather moving. Young people making clear (though I do wish more of them had voted) that they were not taking Brexit lying down. Here is some footage I filmed at the time.

Brexit protesters insult Boris Johnson and chant pro-EU songsAlastair Campbell

But Johnson, having been the prime mover who took a right wing media/Nigel Farage campaign from being outsider to actual winner, most of the ire was reserved for him. He had indeed gone from popular to hated by the same people overnight. The language was vivid and the mood very angry.

None of that on its own will have bothered him overly. Though friends of his tell me he was genuinely shocked by the protest outside his house on the morning after the result was known, he will still have felt he was in poll position to take over from David Cameron.

But the other big points from Winners – and how glad I am now that I resisted the pressure to add David Cameron to the front cover when he won his surprise majority last year – is that leaders without strategy fail. And leaders unable to build teams fail.

It was interesting that this teamship point was the one Michael Gove appeared to single out in his second frontal stabbing of a close friend and colleague in a few weeks. You can't say he lacks steel, though there are plenty of other leadership qualities missing.

The strategy point is the most important. It is surely clear beyond any doubt now that Johnson's sudden conversion to all out Farageism was simply a device to lever himself into the top job. The reason he looked so shell-shocked by victory is that he did not expect or want to win the fight he was leading.

Like Jeremy Corbyn, I expect, he was hoping for a very narrow Remain win. Big enough to end the argument and prevent the damage to the country he has always known Brexit would bring, but small enough to reduce Cameron's power and status, confirm Johnson as a mover of opinion, and the darling of the Tory activists.

That is why during the campaign they did not even bother to have answers to the difficult questions that only now are entering public and political debate. It is why he felt so relaxed about seemingly racially abusing the US President, making himself unpopular with EU leaders, winding up left-leaning Tories. He was pretty confident of winning back the disgruntled Tories through charm and wit, and confident too that most of the EU leaders would be gone, along with Obama, by the time he took over.

But because he and Gove actually won – provoking that 'oh shit, what do we do now?' moment that has gone on for days – the lack of a plan has underlined the lack of any sense of strategy. It is lack of strategy that led Cameron to this mess and the wrecking of his legacy. And it is lack of strategy that has led Johnson to this moment of downfall. It is lack of strategy that may well see off Gove too.

The thing Theresa May has to watch is that her smooth victory as the John Major-Angela Merkel figure becomes the next conventional wisdom. She has to show she can fight, and show deeper understanding of all the issues than she does in The Times today.

The lack of leadership shown by Johnson and Gove since 23 June has been little short of horrific – and another reason why their star is falling. Never off our screens for the days leading up to the vote, confident and cocky and full of witty one-liners as could be expected for good copy writers.

Then, they vanished. Not showing their faces in the Parliament whose sovereignty this has allegedly all been about. Not facing the media to be questioned about the blatant lies they told. Not even trying to make contact with the prime minister to assess what role they might play in settling the pound, the markets and the mood of a nation they had helped to divide.

Michael Gove Boris Johnson
Michael Gove and Boris JohnsonChristopher Furlong/Getty Images

So if you can't do strategy, you can't do leadership. And if your vision of teamship is to make people laugh by bumbling and ruffling your own hair, then it becomes blindingly obvious why the conventional wisdom about Johnson was wrong. Our political processes have a way of stopping totally unsuitable people from reaching the very top.

Johnson may think, given Winston Churchill, in whose steps he imagines himself walking, with characteristics he imagines himself sharing, had many setbacks along his remarkable road, that he will be back and one day the crown will still fall upon him. I doubt it. This has been defining for him, just as the result has been grotesquely defining for the country.

So now the spotlight moves much more sharply to Gove. How many ironies can we cope with all at once? The man who said he was not up to the job of being PM now pretending he is made for it. A campaign supposedly about the people deciding who leads us immediately followed by another in which our Prime Minister is chosen by the ageing, shrinking, tiny band of (largely) Brexiteers that makes up the membership of the Tory Party.

A campaign that was allegedly about standing up to unelected elites in which the front runner has been knocked out by the Australian-American billionaire who owns the Sun, and the EU-grant trousering sociopath who edits the Mail. No elitism there, eh Mr Murdoch and Mr Dacre? Or Sir Paul as he hopes to be once the hubby of his columnist Sarah Vine is installed (this is sounding more and more unlikely Michael).

So as the protests which will not die move to the media barons and to Gove, where does it leave the country? And is Theresa May the answer? She certainly looks and sounds the part.

But I think she was wrong to close the door so firmly either on a general election before 2020, or indeed another look at the whole issue of what we think we voted for last week.

It is not sore losing to say that to me, Brexit remains a question of 'If' not 'When'.

The biggest political decision we made was taken on the basis of lies, myths and a stunning lack of detail about what would actually happen if we left. As that becomes clear, which is starting to happen, the desire and the demands for the actual changes as opposed to the theoretical changes to be put before the people – or, even better, before their elected representatives in Parliament – will not fade as quickly as Johnson has.

It is not sore losing to say that to me, Brexit remains a question of 'If' not 'When'. All the noises coming from the Tory leadership race show they are all in the main thinking about that and not about the country. That is how we got into this bloody mess. The country is having pretty considerable buyers' remorse as the wreckage continues to wash up. It is not a done deal if the country decides the deal is a total contradiction of our national interest once the consequences are clear.

Theresa May was right that there will need to be an entire government department devoted to this, and that David Cameron's Unit in the Cabinet Office under Oliver Letwin is inadequate for what is now needed.

Here is another irony. We are going to need an awful lot of very good 'unelected bureaucrats' to do the detail under political leadership of the most complex negotiations in our history. What a shame this government has continually done them down and seen off many of the brightest and the best. Strategy and tactics just keep on crashing.

And meanwhile Labour... What more is there to say, other than that we are fast becoming an international joke. That is why suddenly, the thing that made Johnson the phenomenon he was – 'he makes me laugh' – just isn't very funny any more. But at least, unlike Corbyn, he has accepted he cannot do the job he thought he might be able to do, and for now has gone. Thank God.