Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Boris Johnson: As Funny as a Crutch

At any given moment there can only be a handful of people among us able to harbour not merely the idle dream but also the realistic hope of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain. Sadly, it's rare that one can find much to approve of in any of the individuals comprising this elite band. For some time I've considered Harriet Harman the most risible personage lucky enough to be up there (on the unavoidable strength of her position as Deputy Labour leader.) But of course I'm forgetting that there's someone who could make our nation look yet more ludicrous in the eyes of the world, and that's the current Mayor of London, who is unable to keep his blithering gob shut or his mug far removed from cameras whenever (as at Tory Party Conference) the stage permits him to lumber about in the manner of some populist political hero.
Interviewed on Newsnight by Jeremy Paxman last night, Johnson didn't come across much worse than the enervated Paxman himself, who clearly needs a new challenge in life. But then Paxman doesn't aspire to Number 10 Downing Street, whereas Johnson's clearly irrepressible desire to upstage his 'friend' Cameron on any fit occasion, now or in future, is a glaring reveal - glaring, one might say, as a fat arse riding out of a pair of Union Jack underpants.
You would think that Johnson's 17 months as London mayor had been some barrage of bold initiatives and achievements. As it is, I can't think of a thing he's done other than to make Ian Blair's position untenable and then boast about it, cheered to the rafters by his toadies. Perhaps, then, what drives Johnson onward to greater heights is pure self-confidence - one might call it a sense of entitlement? It would be useful, then, if he ever said anything intelligent, or could at least stop himself sounding like a blithe cocktail of Prat + Snob. But a lot of people - indeed most Tories, it would appear - think he's a tremendous wit, per his irrepressible glibness on the subject of any part of this country lying north of Watford.
Still, I suppose such prejudice doesn't disqualify one from being Mayor of London; and you might get extra points, plus much love from free-market Tories, if you defend the City of London to the death, even in the teeth of our Great Crash as provoked by investment bankers buying and selling toxic junk and clearing fat bonuses for it. Boris is still quick as Dickens to shout out whatever pumped-up percentage of our economy is attributable to the City, as if that preponderance for making toxic junk (rather than useful goods and commodities) had not now been exposed as part of our problem. Likewise, Boris is a big booster for all the riches the City gives back to the country in taxes, as if the City didn't steal a far bigger slice of what it 'earns'. But of course he's only parroting the bankers. In his long-gone pomp Sir Fred Goodwin used to say the same thing endlessly, boasting about how much of what RBS 'earned' duly kicked back to the Exchequer. Bullish, assured, thrusting people like Boris and Sir Fred - we shouldn't really stand in their way of their ambitions, should we? Clearly their phenomenal confidence betokens an actual competence of which you and I could only dream... So let 'em have it, eh?

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