Boris Johnson for PM – Madness

You went wild. The athletes went wild. The press has gone wild. Even the PM is going wild, albeit wild with anxiety. But you should be anxious also, so should the athletes and the press too.

As Union Jacks fluttered in the wind on a typically British overcast day, you would be forgiven for thinking that a world war victory rally was taking place. The man at the forefront of the patriotic party was not the country’s leader, nor its greatest Olympic hero but the capital’s mayor and now PM pretender. But while Boris Johnson attracts cheers as David Cameron solicits boos do not think that their difference in popularity is echoed by their ability as leaders. Boris is a man who spouts out more hot air than an industrial furnace.

In his 2008 mayoral election manifesto he said he would “design developments to combat crime”. By 2011 instances of burglary, robbery and theft had all increased. The summer riots can’t have helped those statistics but he had also promised to make London a safe place to live, “by protecting the public spaces”. The Met messed up when they lost control and admitted to responding too slowly. Their disastrous performance caused Boris to be heckled by crowds in Clapham Junction. “But where were they?” shouted one local woman. ”No one was there to defend me.” Boris bumbled a reply: ”I know, I know, I understand – that is why we are putting many more police on the street.” He didn’t mention that he had already increased police presence, as promised in 2008, but put them all on public transport. Or maybe he just forgot about that fact like he forgot to make good on his promise to protect public spaces.

Then again he could be an expert at knowing when to say something and when not to. Boris said he would strive to “help more Londoners afford their own home” when he wanted to be elected as London mayor. Yet strangely, as mayor, when the government wanted to reduce the number of affordable homes, which would prevent up to 2 million people becoming homeowners, he fell rather silent.

Perhaps he was being a good boy and toeing the party line. After all, David Cameron is a good friend who goes a long way back. Not, however, when David wants to build a third runway. Heathrow is currently operating at 99% capacity, meaning it is vulnerable to delays. As mayor, Boris wanted to “put the commuter first” by “making journeys faster and more reliable”. As PM pretender, he now wants to make commuting into London slower and less reliable because a new runway “would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution.” But Boris did not stop there. He also claimed a third runway would result in “a serious reduction in the quality of life” for many people. But he must have forgotten that, again as London mayor, he wanted to improve our quality of life by making “our transport system better”.

By now, we shouldn’t be surprised. Boris often says a lot of different things about the same thing. The Home Affairs Select Committee expressed concern when he gave no fewer than four different accounts on his conversations with David Cameron about the arrest of Damian Green MP in 2008. To be fair it’s easy to forget what you said in 2008 when you were all friendly with David and George, who at the time were hoped to freshen up British politics. Now that that they are part of a stale government you have to say very different things. Luckily, Boris is very good at that.

So good in fact that he would eradicate Labour’s generous 11% lead, according to the Sun, if he became leader of the Tories. The Sun would say that though since they hold similar views with Boris about many things – the Hillsborough disaster being one of them. As editor of the Spectator, Boris accused the “drunken” Liverpool fans of having “mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground” and backed the Sun for “daring to hint at the wider causes of the incident”. In his defence, he later apologised and admitted his comments were “sloppy”. But then again he has said a lot of different things about the same thing many times before. I don’t believe a word he says anymore and nor should you.

 

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