Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Boris: A safe pair of hands?

Boris Johnson was back in the news today for giving a hint as to when David Cameron might be stepping down. Apart from that contribution, no doubt as welcome to Cameron as any of Johnson’s other needling comments, not much else of interest was forthcoming from his interview with Der Spiegel. He may or may not support leaving the EU. Doesn’t want to put anyone off.

Johnson’s trajectory has been unexpectedly re-calibrated since he returned to Parliament where other Tory MPs, particularly the new intake have briefed against him. I suspect that his star began to lose its twinkle when he was bested by Ed Miliband on Andrew Marr’s sofa just before the election. Under calm questioning and teasing from the new, ‘cool’ Miliband, Boris – who was sat with his legs thrust so far apart one had to assume he’d just been brought back from the vet – crumbled in on himself and was only able to respond with a world record attempt for longest stammer.

But the article today raises another interesting issue. Johnson is talked about as, perhaps not a serious, but a genuine possibility for the position of prime minister. His ambitions are clearly pointed that way and his protestations otherwise have grown less over the years. And yet we are asked to consider Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister as some kind of personification of doom.

The reason is that Johnson, for all of his philandering, lying, thuggish behaviour and casual racism (and these links are just choice examples of each), doesn’t challenge the economic orthodoxy. Corbyn on the other hand has fresh new ideas that could transform the way things work and are aimed at helping the whole of society, not just the richest few. But it is, of course, the honest, straight-speaking man with the egalitarian ideas who is demonised and not the stuttering, incoherent, bumbling clown.

Unfortunately elections are almost always won by appealing to voters’ wallets. Can Corbyn convince people that he won’t hit theirs?

[Image: Wooly Matt]


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