Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The great myth of Boris

Do you believe in the tooth fairy? Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Boris Johnson?  You may think his is a rather odd question but it seems to me that there are two Boris Johnsons. There is the one which exists in the minds of Tory activists and there is the real man. If you read some of the tweets coming out of camp Boris, you'd think that Boris is a mythical hero retrning from exile to reestablish the British Empire and lead us all to a wonderful fluffy future.

Here's a few examples from a member of team Boris who I had the misfortune to have a conversation with on Twitter

Boris is very good natured. Very very good quality. Have you ever heard him be nasty about anyone??

You R likely to have lefty friends tho. During Mayoral elections, lots of lefties voted Boris, he has cross party appeal.

Polling showed 60% of Labour voters thought he does a good job. Have a link!

I know because he wud destroy Labour if leader, they R really panicking. Boris Johnson

But is Boris really charming to all? Well last week we posted this blog which amongst other things showed clips of Boris discussing having someone duffed up and also telling someone to get stuffed. (click here for full details )

Are Labour "running scared"? Not being a member of the party, I don't know but I'd be surprised. I think Boris is someone who gets London, but what about the rest of the country? I am not so sure.  I suspect that up and down the country, the voters in the marginals willneed a little bit more convincing. Those of us in London forget that the rest of the country is a bit different. They don't take too much notice of London and are most certainly not likely to be too aware of any of Boris's perceived victories. Are Londoners that awre of the provinicial Mayor who got elected for dressing up as a Monkeys achievements? Nope. It is supreme arrogance to assume that the rest of the country have much more interest in Boris. Of course local Tory parties will have Boris fans, but the party is a tiny organisation nationally. One has to suspect that Boris would actually galvanise the core Labour vote in many marginals. It is a fact that Labour struggle far harder than the Tories to get their vote out, however Boris may just inspire people to turn up. Of course the Tories will point to the London Mayoral elections, but they won't have the mistakes of Ken Livingstone and the staunch suport of the Gilligan lead Evening Standard to help them.

I think his bumbling humour has a limited shelf life. As Mayor he can turn up, tell a joke, splash some cash and depart. As Leader he has to spend half his life upsetting people, many in his own party. It is a different gig. 

The claim that "lots of lefties" vote Boris is laughable. What is certainly true in London is that many of the local jewish community, who normally vote Labour, wouldn't touch Ken with a bargepole given his perceived antipathy for them. They voted Boris to see the back of Ken. Outside of London, I doubt that a single proper "Leftie" would touch Boris with a bargepole.

The concept that 60% of voters think Boris has done a good job is also a highly subjective claim. If you asked the average London Labour supporter if they thought Boris had done better than they expected, most would say yes. Many of us suspected that he'd screw up an be kicked out after the first Mayoral election. It was clear to me that Labour screwed up by selecting Ken again. Hi scampaign was lacklustre. It seems that Ken has a blind spot with Boris. He can't seem to understand why anyone would like him or vote for him, so concequently ran an extremely amatuer campaign.

In the event that Boris was leader of the Tories, he'd face a different prospect. He'd be exposed to weekly challenges such as those where he lost his temper with Dismore. He'd have all of those Tory MP's who feel betrayed when they don't get the plum jobs sniping. He'd not have the sweeping executive powers of Mayor. Whilst Boris gets away with all sorts as Mayor, as Leader of the Opposition or Prime Minister, every word is analysed to death by all manner of media.

It is vcry sweet that the likes of Angela, who seemingly does nothing except tweet 24 hours a day, are so enamoured with Boris. It is highly entertaining, but when you look more deeply at what such groupies have to say, it all falls down at the first hurdle when you dig a bit deeper. 

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