Is Boris Johnson credible PM material?
Following a triumphant “summer of sporting success” (already the most overused phrase since the “credit crunch” was coined), inches of column space are being devoted to salivating over this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Nominations though for a hypothetical Political Personality of the Year Award are somewhat thinner on the ground. However, the hands-down winner to date is one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – commonly known as ‘Boris’ or by the portmanteau ‘BoJo’ – for his leading role in the gripping drama that was London 2012.
Gags aside, one serious question needs addressing: could Boris’ ballooning popularity be converted into a serious campaign for Tory leadership and more importantly, a candidacy for Prime Minister?
Obviously such a quest would face at least two major obstacles in 1) David Cameron and 2) avoiding that old political chestnut: controversy.
Make no mistake, Cameron’s feathers are as ruffled as Boris’ unkempt blond hairdo at present. Boris’ gold medal Olympics/Paralympics closing parade speech on The Mall was as much a PR success as his zipwire fiasco during the Games. Johnson also gained hit points over his old Bullingdon Club comrade when calling for him to pack a punch and come clean over his views on the Heathrow third runway saga. As such it is Cameron who chases Johnson’s Eton coattails in current ratings polls.
Controversy though has long been the downfall of Johnson. When the Hillsborough disaster report was belatedly published last week, Liverpudlians were reminded of the damning article that appeared in The Spectator under Johnson’s nose while editor back in 2004. Johnson was forced to apologise by the then Conservative leader Michael Howard, calling it a “kick in the pants.” Said article has circulated on Twitter coupled with the hash tag #JFT96 (Justice for the 96).
Outspoken remarks and infamous quotes are also one of BoJo’s trademarks which see him frequently wading into troubled waters. Lest we forget he once labelled Tony Blair a “mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet” and denounced the Liberal Democrats as “not just empty [but] a void within a vacuum surrounded by a vast inanition.” Party leadership scuffles in Boris’ eyes are akin to ‘Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing’. PR superstar one day, PR disaster another.
Suppose Boris does get promoted and win a general election – what would Barack Obama or the Chinese Premier make of the spluttering British representative? Undoubtedly BoJo would end up deliberating over the origins of wiff waff with his Asian counterpart at UN summits, provoking a diplomatic storm and a cease in all trade. At least in Cameron we have a credible and sincere statesman to represent us on the international political scene, not a maverick. I’m no Tory, just a realist.
Yes Boris is a cult figure in British politics but there he must remain. Even his staunchest of fans must accept Boris is more a comedian than a politician. The nation’s sides collectively split when he stumbled headfirst into an unfortunate German’s particulars in a televised charity football match. His famous guest/host appearances on Have I Got News For You will go down in the archives as some of the best episodes. Few will forget either when he succeeded in vanquishing boiled eggs to Room 101. What’s more, BoJo is a whopping hit in the webiverse. Cyber versions of the bumbling buffoon even exist, dedicated to trailing his every move and tongue slip.
As for his time in office as the Mayor of London, Boris deserves all the plaudits he gets. His Barclays Bike scheme for one has proved a sensational hit in the capital. So how does Boris himself see his chances of becoming The Godfather of Whitehall? In his own words they are – “only slightly better than my chances of being decapitated by a frisbee, blinded by a champagne cork, locked in a disused fridge or reincarnated as a olive”. In summary, balderdash and piffle, total poppycock!Tagged in: BoJo, boris johnson, Bullingdon, conservative party, david cameron, tories
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