But he is a liberal.
Consider his reasons for supporting Barack Obama in the upcoming US elections. He writes:
And then there is the final, additional reason, the glaring reason, and that is race. Huge numbers of voters, whether they admit it to themselves or not, will hesitate to choose Barack Obama for President because he is black. And then there are millions of white Americans who will undoubtedly vote Obama precisely because he is black, and because he stands for the change and the progress they want to see in their society.
After centuries of friction, prejudice, tension, hatred - you name it, they've had it - America is teetering on the brink of a triumph. If Obama wins, then the United States will have at last come a huge and maybe decisive step closer to achieving the dream of Martin Luther King, of a land where people are judged not on the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
If Obama wins, then black people the world over will be able to see how a gifted man has been able to smash through the ultimate glass ceiling.
If Obama wins, then it will be simply fatuous to claim that there are no black role models in politics or government, because there is no higher role model than the President of the United States.
If Barack Hussein Obama is successful next month, then we could even see the beginning of the end of race-based politics, with all the grievance-culture and special interest groups and political correctness that come with it.
If Obama wins, he will have established that being black is as relevant to your ability to do a hard job as being left-handed or ginger-haired, and he will have re-established America's claim to be the last, best hope of Earth.
Consider the way Johnson frames this. On the one side there are the bad guys, the whites who won't vote for Obama because he is black. On the other side there are the good guys, the whites who will vote for Obama precisely because he is black and because he stands for change and progress.
So the point of the election is not to select the best candidate, the one who will conserve what is best in the American tradition, but for whites to prove something about themselves, namely that they are non-racist and in favour of more modernist "change and progress".
How is this genuinely conservative?
Note too that Johnson defines the American past in terms of "centuries of friction, prejudice, tension, hatred". But finally, with Obama, a "triumph" over this past is a looming possibility.
Again, what kind of conservative would so limit his appreciation for American history and culture to prejudice and hatred? It is subversive in the extreme to read a national history in these terms. It is an act of delegitimation rather than conservation.
Then there is Johnson's argument that Americans should elect Obama because that would smash a glass ceiling and provide a role model for blacks all around the world.
Is it really the case that a US President should be elected to encourage the aspirations of Africans? Would someone who really cared about the fate of the existing American tradition really make this a priority?
A genuine conservative would not make smashed ceilings a principle for electing presidents.
Then there is Johnson's shallow claim that electing Obama would make race irrelevant in the world, thereby ending race-based politics, political correctness and a grievance-based culture.
This is much the same as believing that by electing Hillary Clinton, feminist women would realise that there was no office denied to them, thereby finally putting an end to a feminist inspired gender war.
Nothing of the sort happened when Margaret Thatcher was elected and why would it? Feminism has its roots in the modernist mindset, something that can't be overturned by a particular election result. Furthermore, why assume that feminist women would abandon a movement which gives them advantages in their pursuit of power? Why would feminist women agree to a level playing field when they have the benefit of positive discrimination legislation, quotas, public funding, university departments and so on?
Feminism is much more likely to lose position when men begin to set limits on what they will accept.
It's the same with the ethnic grievance culture Johnson refers to. When white Americans accept the premises put to them, namely that the American tradition is illegitimate because of its racism, and that whites must redeem themselves of guilt, and that any inequality is due to an institutional racism perpetrated by whites on the "other" - then the demands placed on white Americans will only grow.
Finally, there is Johnson's claim that an Obama victory, by making race not matter, will re-establish America's claim to be "the last, best hope of Earth".
I can't believe that a genuine English conservative would look to any foreign nation to be the "best hope" for the world. Was the song "Land of Hope and Glory" really composed for some other country?
Nor would a genuine conservative make the principle of non-discrimination the "telos" of the world - the end-point to which history is progressing and on which the moral fate of the world depends.
A conservative wishes to conserve his own tradition and to build on what is best in this tradition. He isn't likely to focus on a single, abstract, political telos, but on the health of family, community and nation.
On this basis, Boris Johnson is not a genuine conservative.