Naked Politics Blogger
Now that current Mayor of London and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Boris Johnson has jumped off the fence and come out swinging for Brexit, the undulating rumour mill that he has his sights set on Number 10 has started up again, as he is accused of basing his stance on populist political posturing rather than concern for the future of Britain.
But the question remains: can a politician who is best known for standing on a platform of silliness really be a serious contender for the top job in British politics?
Boris is sometimes called the Heineken Tory, a play on their slogan as he is deemed the Conservative who can reach parts of the electorate the other stiff old suits can’t thanks to his charm, humour and ruffled hair. Where other Tories are still seen as posh in a sort of unapproachable way, Boris is more down to earth loveable rogue, combining the likeability of Hugh Grant in his early Richard Curtis films with the aristocratic idiosyncrasies of Lord Bath of Longleat. In our modern world of televised and ever increasingly americanised politics, the recognisability factor that Boris has is certainly a coup for him.
Apparently, as a child Boris stated that he would like to be the ‘world king’ and he has undeniably done well as Mayor of the capital, being elected twice. However, with the election of a new mayor only a few months away and Boris not standing, it certainly seems unlikely that he will be happy to fade from the limelight, away from the front benches. But how sincerely can we take the supposed Prime Ministerial ambitions of a man who has got very publicly stuck on a zip line, ridden around cheerfully on a tandem with Jeremy Paxman and made a rather bizarre cameo on EastEnders.
Indeed it is not only his actions but words that make it hard to see Boris really being able to represent us on the world stage, from saying that ‘voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts’ to telling the charity Education Action that his favourite word is carminative, which describes a herb or drug meant to bring on flatulence…
His accounts of others on the political scene are no less lively, he has called George W Bush ‘a cross eyed Texan warmonger’, Tony Blair ‘a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet’ and more worryingly Nigel Farage ‘a rather engaging geezer.’
We also must not forget that job Boris lost after he made up a quote for a story when he was working at The Times. An interesting thing to do especially considering the fact that such behaviour would seem at odds with Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics that he purports to be so fond of, telling the Adam Smith institute it was one of his favourite books. Skulduggery on the job is probably not one of Aristotle’s approved moral virtues.
Boris though is no stranger to writing. In fact he is quite the author, with many books and columns under his belt. Indeed his debut novel is called Seventy-Two Virgins: A Comedy of Errors and he was named Pagan Federation of Great Britain National Journalist of the Year in 1998, for some mystical reason.
Though I think there remains good reason to remain sceptical about Boris’s ability to actually lead this country, at least his name lends itself to a good Portmanteau, BoJo was practically made to be hash tagged. Though of course his actual name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, which kind of makes it sound like he is related to one of those pseudo Russian meerkats who try and flog you insurance on the TV.
Many feel Boris is more about popularity than performance, and comedy rather than competence and he himself has previously stated that ‘My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars or my being reincarnated as an olive.’ Ian Hislop has called Boris our Berlusconi, commenting that he is the only ‘feel-good’ politician that we have. However I worry it might not feel so good if Boris was actually Prime Minister; at the end of the day being PM is more nose to the grindstone than clown foot in mouth.