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Bojo fo' Lo' M'o'
July 16, 2007 1:46 PM   Subscribe

"Even the greatest cities have further greatness in them. I will stand for a greater London and for putting the smile back on London's face." Boris Johnson announces his candidacy for Mayor of London, though he is yet to be endorsed by the Conservative Party. Though decidedly right wing in his views (this clip, perhaps more than any other summarises his view on Europe, for example) his very English brand of buffoonery lends him unique appeal (though not universally).
posted by nthdegx (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I once saw him disheveled and dressed as a tramp in a Victoria Station cafe. He wasn't in disguise, that's just how he looks.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:59 PM on July 16, 2007


He's great on TV shows and all that, but wouldn't things turn a bit horrific if he was in an actual position of power?
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ken showed today - he said something like "Boris will make a great candidate for the Conservative Party, and a terrible Mayor of London" - that he'll make mincemeat of Boris. At least he better, because he's exactly right: Boris is the Tories' best chance, but under that buffoonary lurks a fairly reactionary beast. But he'll raise a smile or two.
posted by criticalbill at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a Northerner, I find it hilarious that this oaf might be Mayor. Criticalbill is correct, Boris is to the right of sensible and uses his oafishness to avoid answering tough questions.
posted by quarsan at 2:17 PM on July 16, 2007


Still, he did save ancient history A-level from extinction.
posted by greycap at 2:18 PM on July 16, 2007


"but wouldn't things turn a bit horrific if he was in an actual position of power?"

Such as being the editor of a magazine, MP or member of the Shadow Cabinet?
posted by nthdegx at 2:28 PM on July 16, 2007


So the general feeling is likely to be - funny bloke but in charge of one of the world's biggest cities? Nah.

Ken must be laughing his arse off. Maybe Paul Dacre could run against him?
posted by i_cola at 2:30 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know who else was to the right of sensible and used his oafishness to avoid answering tough questions?

Hint: I'm not talking about Hitler.
posted by grouse at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mussolini? Are you talking about Mussolini?

No, of course not; the fascists got the trains running on time; neocons can't even do that.
posted by boo_radley at 2:39 PM on July 16, 2007


He's not a candidate yet - just applied for shortlisting by the Conservative Party. The sort of reaction he's getting here (which is also my reaction) may mean he doesn't make it onto the ballot paper.
posted by athenian at 2:43 PM on July 16, 2007


Thing is, if you ever see him speak in the house - and I'm not a Tory supporter in any way - he's articulate and intelligent. I'm not convinced that his image, from the hair to the stammering, isn't just a deliberate ploy.
posted by liquidindian at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2007


"but wouldn't things turn a bit horrific if he was in an actual position of power?"

Such as being the editor of a magazine, MP or member of the Shadow Cabinet?


Yes, because that worked out so well, didn't it?

I mean, I find BoJo highly entertaining, but mayor of a 9 million metropolis? Fuhgetaboutit. I mean, I'm not going to say that he couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery (in fact, I suspect he could organise a piss-up about anywhere), but he really isn't the most able manager, is he?
posted by Skeptic at 3:42 PM on July 16, 2007


Wasn't Ken considered a lunatic before his mayoralcy?
posted by Joeforking at 3:45 PM on July 16, 2007


Considering that Livingstone got no small part of his votes from the "it'll annoy the government and could be quite funny" camp, I wouldn't go dismissing Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson out of hand.
posted by Luddite at 3:52 PM on July 16, 2007


As a Northerner, I find it hilarious that this oaf might be Mayor

As a Northerner, I vow to do everything in my power to aid Boris in his quest for mayordom.

No, really. I love him.
posted by cardamine at 3:59 PM on July 16, 2007


Wasn't Ken considered a lunatic before his mayoralcy?

maverick, not lunatic... but Ken ran London between 1981 and 1986 as head of the GLC, and was so successful that Thatcher had to abolish it to get rid of him.

Considering that Livingstone got no small part of his votes from the "it'll annoy the government and could be quite funny" camp, I wouldn't go dismissing Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson out of hand.

Nah. Maybe the first time round, but Ken's done too well. I hope.
posted by criticalbill at 4:08 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


My daughters are somewhere to the left of Ken Livingstone, but they *love* Boris Johnson. That amiable cuddly buffoon act has real sex appeal -- which is probably why he's always getting caught on the nest with someone who isn't his wife.

Speaking of which, didn't Stephen 'Shagger' Norris run for Conservative Mayoral Candidate a few years ago? What is it about this job that attracts the tory adulterers?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:09 PM on July 16, 2007


Does he even live in London? I've only seen him a few times on Election night coverage, usually, and he seems like a wannabe country squire type, and not urban at all.
posted by amberglow at 4:20 PM on July 16, 2007


He is clever and entertaining tho (but that doesn't make for a good mayor anywhere)
posted by amberglow at 4:21 PM on July 16, 2007


Can I Have Mayor.
K Thx Bye.
posted by Boris Johnson at 4:36 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


He is clever and entertaining tho (but that doesn't make for a good mayor anywhere)

No, never.
posted by watsondog at 4:37 PM on July 16, 2007


You know, I'm from Toronto, now living in London.

Let me tell you about a Toronto mayor named Mel Lastman.

He was the mayor of one of Toronto's suburb/boroughs in the '90s, but was primarily known for being the annoying spokesperson on the commercials for his furniature business. "Who is better than Bad Boy? NOOOOOOOBODY!" He was also known for being pretty amusingly loony.

Somehow, he was elected Mayor of the new megacity of Toronto once it was almagamated out of several original boroughs.

Among his hilights.

Here's what I think happened. People got to the polling station and thought "Heh, know what'd be funny? If I voted for MEL LASTMAN! HAHA! Surely nobody else will, and it'll be funny to be the 1 vote beside his name on the evening news."

I think this very thought was repeated by a million different people at the polling station.

As a result, he won.

Twice.

Please don't do that, London, please. I don't want that to happen in my adopted home, too.
posted by generichuman at 4:37 PM on July 16, 2007


What is it about this job that attracts the tory adulterers?

access to hotter chicks.
posted by cell divide at 4:38 PM on July 16, 2007


amberglow, yes, he lives in Islington; though he obviously also has a house in his constituency.
posted by atrazine at 4:39 PM on July 16, 2007


Maybe Lembit Opik could run too and then the debates could be held on "Have I got news for you"
posted by srboisvert at 4:57 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


It all worked out quite well for Jesse The Body Ventura, didn't it?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:04 PM on July 16, 2007


generichuman,

I feel your pain.
posted by joedan at 5:10 PM on July 16, 2007


amberglow, yes, he lives in Islington; though he obviously also has a house in his constituency.

You'd think Islington would be too Labour/lefty for him, no? He can't afford Belgravia or something like that?
posted by amberglow at 5:16 PM on July 16, 2007


(is Belgravia a real place or from books? Should i have said Mayfair, or is that fake too? Kensington? Sloan Sq.?)
posted by amberglow at 5:17 PM on July 16, 2007


Don't worry, you're good.

Honestly? I'd love to see Boris as mayor, even though I realise he'd probably mess things up. Which is probably what quite a few other people think - his persona as a comical buffer is quite endearing, as is also perhaps the view that he doesn't really seem to care what people think. He's like the Tories' Prince Phillip - always putting his foot in it.
posted by djgh at 5:37 PM on July 16, 2007


There is a huge diffrence in the kind of power that a legislator has and the kind of power that executive has. The legislator can't really fuck things up too much on their own.
posted by delmoi at 5:55 PM on July 16, 2007


amberglow writes '(is Belgravia a real place or from books? Should i have said Mayfair, or is that fake too? Kensington? Sloan Sq.?)'

Belgravia would have the advantage of being much closer to the Houses of Parliament than all the other places -- which is why many politicians have traditionally had their second homes there. Kensington, Knightsbridge and Sloane Square are all a short walk away.

Eaton Place, the residence featured in 70's historical soap/drama Upstairs, Downstairs is in Belgravia. However, I doubt someone like Boris could afford to buy there these days. According to the Telegraph, one house in Belgravia fetched £30m last month.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:22 PM on July 16, 2007


I hope he gets nowhere near to becoming Mayor, personally. His brand of jolly-fellow-well-met buffoonery is just as false as Cameron’s brown-cord conservatism and Blair’s sniff-back-the-tears sincerity, IMHO, and it makes me sick how certain people (especially students) who would not bargepole his dodgy politics in a second if they knew them usually give him a free pass cos he’s funny on Have I Got News For You (which he is, he’s always great on it). Don’t forget how he seemingly gives Taki’s abject racism a free pass each month. That’s pretty much indefensible.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 1:57 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ken has made the job his own, essentially for as long as he wants it, by promoting a cult of mayoral personality. Being a "personality" of some sort is now a prerequisite to be elected as mayor of London - and I don't think there are many specifically london-centric personalities who could run. The other parties have spotted this, so we had Archer's attempt at running for the Tories and Simon Hughes for the Lib Dems (the closest thing they have to a personality in london).

Portillo anyone?
posted by patricio at 2:02 AM on July 17, 2007


Boris vs Germany

One of the strangest sights I've ever seen was sitting in the Tiny Tree Tent at Glastonbury at about 4am when Billy Bragg and Boris Johnson walked in together, arms linked and both laughing their heads off. Billy Bragg wondering in in that situation ain't quite so odd, but Boris Johnson had to be the person I least expected to see at that moment. I think they were making a show together but I never did find out what about; whether it was the festival or summat else.
posted by vbfg at 2:16 AM on July 17, 2007


I agree with Patrico , think it would take someone like Portillo to challenge 'Red Ken' , but im sure i heard on the radio yesterday that Portillo wasnt interested.
posted by burr1545 at 2:17 AM on July 17, 2007


Don't forget, the last time he stood for election was for the Rectorship of Edinburgh University. He came third, behind a former Scotsman editor and a Green MSP. I'm sure the good people of London are at least as bright as Edinburgh undergrads.

Also, here's the classic pic of him and "Dave" Cameron at the Bullingdon.
posted by imperium at 2:24 AM on July 17, 2007


The key thing to understand about the Mayor of London is that the job has very little power but a great deal of informal influence. That's why the Mayor has to be a skilful political operator, someone who can capitalize on the prestige of the job and turn it into real power. Livingstone is the ideal person -- he loves power, loves wheeling and dealing, loves making things happen. (And, to be fair, the power isn't just an end in itself -- he also has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve with it. I admire him for that.)

And Boris? Boris is clever and ambitious, but he's not really interested in playing the political game, he lacks the stamina for it, gets bored too easily. And his political instincts are libertarian, opposed to big government and central planning, which puts him at odds with everything the Mayor's office stands for. He'd be a disaster in the job -- but I think, and hope, he'd be totally unelectable.
posted by verstegan at 2:44 AM on July 17, 2007


Polly weighs in. She's quite right if you ask me.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 3:02 AM on July 17, 2007


Ah jesus Polly almost makes me want to vote for him
posted by criticalbill at 4:31 AM on July 17, 2007


But with this kind of support Boris can't lose...
posted by patricio at 5:26 AM on July 17, 2007


For years I've listened to right wing types saying, 'Underneath that buffonish exterior, Boris is a very clever chap indeed.'

I often wondered when he was going to put his master plan into action, as his activities as an MP and at the Spectator mostly seemed designed to shore up the buffoon disguise.

Could now be the time? I'm guessing no.

What's more, I think Polly is right to say that he'll remind people of Cameron's poshness and entitledness in a way that won't help the Tories come the election.
posted by Mocata at 5:52 AM on July 17, 2007


LOL Patricio! Mike fucking Read!

Polly starts well but she totally loses it towards the end; she just doesn't produce the evidence. One thing about Boris is that he says what he means so when he says he's in favour of "academic inequality" it sounds bad, if you're a liberal columnist, but most of people won't blink. As for "endow new schools for improving the education of our feral children to reduce the risk of being despoiled of their squillions by a hoodie" well thats what Labour say as well, if less colourfully. He's hardly whittering on about prisons and the lash...
posted by criticalbill at 7:15 AM on July 17, 2007


The funniest 'Have I Got News for You' with Boris as host. Part1, part2, part 3.
posted by piscatorius at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2007


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