L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

17 July 2007 Blog Home : July 2007 : Permalink

Detested by Polly

It seems that Boris Johnson, famous for his jogging (both upright and not), is to stand for mayor of London. This is causing much distress amongst those who like having a newt fancier as Mayor of the London. The BBC covers his announcement with a helpful summary of his colourful past as does the Grauniad, and the BBC. the Grauniad and the Independent's news coverage all include the pre-emptive strike by the newt lover with the Independent giving the most coverage:

Mr Livingstone said Mr Johnson would be "seriously damaging for London".

He said: "He (Mr Johnson) has the 567th lowest record in Parliament in terms of the number of votes he bothers to attend - which puts him in the lowest 20 per cent of MPs.

"To put someone in charge of London with such a right-wing record, who has no experience of managing anything practical at all, and who has shown no serious interest in even the most important issues confronting the capital, would not be a joke but seriously damaging for London."

Looking at Mr Johnson's voting record, Mr Livingstone said: "He did not bother to vote in the House of Commons to defend the Freedom Pass for free travel for older people. He did not even bother to vote on the Parliamentary Bill in favour of Crossrail - the most important transport project for London.

"He strongly supported the war in Iraq until this turned into a disaster. He voted against amendments that would have allowed unmarried couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, to adopt children. He voted in favour of hunting.

"On nuclear issues, Johnson voted in favour of replacing Trident and did not bother to attend the votes on nuclear power in 2002 and 2006."

Mr Livingstone also questioned the Tories' stand on affordable housing, free bus and tram travel for under-18s, and the congestion charge.

If the Grauniad fails to properly quote Red Ken, it does manages to redeem itself by bringing up the most gratuitous toff reference:

If elected, he could one day be mayor at the same time as Mr Cameron, his friend from Eton and Oxford, is prime minister.

And then in the battle to attack Boris the Grauniad wins hands down because they also go after him in the comment section. Their leading columnist, Polly "Pot" Toynbee has a wonderful piece entitled: Boris the jester, toff, serial liar and sociopath for mayor. Just in case it wasn't obvious Ms Toynbee makes it clear she is somewhat anti-Boris and Tim W explains why this appears to be the case. The Polly hit piece is a true gem. Ms Toynbee's goves come off and she explains in detail why Mr Johnson is unfit to run a whelk stall let alone London. This is classic "read the whole thing" stuff but I suspect that Ms T may end up regretting her tirade. For example this section:

Jokes make outrageous views acceptable, but the general tenor of Borisisms reveals his political cast of mind - the endless mock cockney attacks on "elf'n'safety", on children's car seats or, notoriously, Liverpudlians wallowing in their victim status. He hints at utter contempt for the NHS, with USSR comparisons. Though liberal on matters of sex (what else could he be?) and drugs ("I'm instinctively inclined to liberalise"), his politics are right off the Cameron scale. Here he is on education: "I am in favour of selection ... So is every member of the British ruling classes"; and on universities: "I believe passionately in academic inequality."

Just before the grammar school row he complained: "We have taken away the old ladder of social mobility, the academic selection that used to form a way out for the bright children of poor families." How will London parents react to the tone of this? "Masters of the Universe" should "endow new schools for improving the education of our feral children to reduce the risk of being despoiled of their squillions by a hoodie". As a rabid Europhobe, how would that play with the Olympics or the Tour de France?

I'm sure that the media liberal voters of Islington and Notting Hill will indeed reject anyone who says such things, but what about the cockneys of Stratford or the city lawyers, accountants etc of Peckham or Wandsworth? One suspects that many people like the Suspect Paki would agree with his NHS diatribes, even if they disagree with him on Iraq etc. and I reckon a lot of people will agree with him when he talks about grammar schools. [Aside: it is possible Ms Toynbees hatred for the Grammars is because she failed her 11plus ]. It is far from impossible that the victims of the "feral children" agree with Mr Johnson that a better education might lead them away from a life of crime. Who knows, if they master joined up hand-writing perhaps they can read "media studies" at some second rate polytechnic and then become Grauniad columnists?

If I were Mt Johnson I'd be reading the diatribes by Polly and others on the left andf mining them for quotes. 'Boris Johnson attacks "elf'n'safety" - Polly Toynbee' might make a good campaign poster. If as is far from unlikely, council taxes rise in London because of the olympics, Mr Johnson's sarcasm on the subject may end up being another plus point no matter whether it peeves the Europeans...

All in all I find it telling that such venom has been unleashed because it seems to me to be a clear sign that Ms T thinks the wheels are going to come off her ZANU Labour bandwagon.