AFTER deciding to write this week’s column on Boris Johnson’s Newcastle rally, I dreamed that Donald Trump was blocking the doors of Echo Towers, refusing to let me into work until I apologised.

The boundaries between the world’s most prominent blond buffoons are blurring so rapidly that my subconscious can no longer tell them apart.

Incredibly divisive campaigns both sides of the Atlantic are threatening to irredeemably change the lives of millions – and they’re headed by red-faced and ranting men not exactly revered for taking a thoughtful and measured approach to life.

If you’d muted your telly and squinted when watching the news, you’d have been hard pushed to tell the difference between last Saturday’s Boris spectacular and a Trump rally.

I was there and the Americanism was palpable, the cult of personality in full swing.

There was chanting, placard-waving and silent, beaming youngsters dotted inexplicably around the stage.

There were protestors, PR teams, expensive AV equipment and media ranks, phrases repeated thrice a minute and three-minute interview windows.

There were eyebrows raised over seating arrangements, with not enough chairs for a fully ticketed event providing easy camera shots of ‘standing room only’ crowds.

Amid all of the pomp was a frothed-up audience, largely middle-aged and – judging by the cheers – minds already set.

An elderly lady to my left was concerned about immigrants from ‘Agastan’ putting strain on the NHS, a man behind me, arms folded, said he never got behind causes but if this one saw the immigrants kicked out, he’s all for it.

Boris was preaching to the converted, and preaching he was.

The man knew his audience, knew his character and played it with aplomb.

There may not have been a wall to fend off Mexicans but there were frogs from France and immigration-tackling promises, barmy Brussels bureaucrats and bent bananas aplenty.

Following the speech, there came a media trudge through a warren of corridors to a transparent bridge.

It provided the perfect opportunity for a solitary pro-Brexit campaigner to raise his placards on the street below and allowed Boris to gaze statesmanlike out over Newcastle.

Away from the glare of TV cameras, Boris is more intense and quick to interrupt, affable persona flickering on and off, gaze steady and intent unwavering.

The man’s consistently on message and he knows how to use Boris the lovable buffoon to great effect.

I left that rally worried that personality will win over politics, that votes will be cast for Boris and his blustering, not for the future of the UK.

I worry over statistics and facts being lost in a whirlwind of intense campaigning, fear mongering and divisive sentiment, much of it founded in disproved myth, manipulation and dodgy maths.

Loudly playing on populist - often disproved - EU tropes Boris had the majority of a North-East crowd eating out of his hands.

But some were asking how much London’s mayor actually cared about the North-East.

His much-publicised hecklers weren’t there to discuss the EU, they showed up to tell a Tory he had no right to ask our region for favours in the midst of cuts to the most vulnerable and significant job losses.

When I highlighted the impact of cuts on culture in the North-East, he simply gazed out across Newcastle and said “It all looks fine to me” before making quick reassurances that all would be well in non-EU utopia.

In a clunking analogy, Boris said the EU was the emperor “with no clothes”, but I worry that Boris could be that emperor, using his larger-than-life persona to merrily dismiss anything that conflicts with his politics and power play.