Is Boris Johnson the natural successor to the Tory throne?
Since the end of the Second World War, Great Britain’s political architecture is one that has seemingly been in a consistent flux in what the public wants and expects from our politicians. With a change of government seemingly a foregone decision each election at times during the early post-war period, it has always taken a visionary to take charge of their party and reshape the political landscape – the most prominent of these being Thatcher and Blair’s governments. One thing that has remained however is this public conception that politicians cannot properly represent them because simply put, they are not public people – to use the vernacular term, they are not ‘common’. Arguing against this can be difficult because let’s face it, not all of us are Eton educated nor Oxford graduates, but from this small group of privileged individuals one name does spring to mind who could defy this conception – Boris Johnson.
Arguably one of the most captivating politicians of the twenty first century, this man has managed to leave a lasting impression on the British public with his unconventional mannerisms and appearance that is so much of a contrast from the rest of his Tory colleagues that’s it’s a wonder why some of them tolerate this. The short answer is they have to, Johnson is fuelled by a mixture of pure ambition coupled with piecing intellect, the man gets the job done time and time again already holding three General Election victories and has twice overcome the competition in the London Mayoral Elections. A perfect blend of old Tory class and the Cameron-era moderniser, Boris could be the ideal figure the Conservatives are after, but could he ever lead the party?
Of course this isn’t the first time this question has arisen with the Mayor of London’s response being “not a snowball in Hades’ chance”, so well fitting with his unconventional characteristics. But are we really to accept this answer as a solid premise for the future of the party? Mr. Johnson is, if not anything is a forward thinker. He has proved that in his time studying at Oxford and if any of you ever happened to catch channel 4’s documentary ‘When Boris Met Dave’ you’ll know that he had his career thought out from the start, before Mr. Cameron had even considered a career in politics so it would certainly be the next logical step and the final stepping stone in marking his political premiership on the United Kingdom.
That is not to say that Cameron is just going to step aside, I certainly do not think he has any intention of stepping down as leader anytime soon, nor that he is doing a bad job seeing as he has managed to modernise the party in a way none of his predecessors have achieved. But the recent tensions within the coalition government over the House of Lords has left people wondering over the fate of the Lib-Con government and with yet another disappointing performance in the local elections you have to believe that if Cameron once again fails to secure a Commons majority in 2015 he could be forced out by his own party. The grumblings in his party are becoming more and more frequent with many of his MPs frustrated that he is allowing so much leeway to his Liberal ‘partners’ and not leading a Conservative government so-to-speak.
Nowhere in any legislation is there a clause stating that the Mayor cannot hold office in Parliament, Ken Livingstone represented Brent East between 2000 and 2001, so if this was the route the Classics graduate desired then we should see him announcing his candidacy sometime in 2014, a year before the general election. Supposing all goes to plan his final obstacle would be the current Chancellor, the man who is widely viewed as the Tory Gordon Brown to Tony Blair. Now the case for George Osborn will be entirely dependent on the outcome of 2015, in the midst of this global recession if we haven’t seen any substantial growth or indicators that Britain’s economy is back on track then Labour and the public will almost certainly unleash a full scale assault on the gentleman’s creditability and his ability to govern. In short the job description of party leader is to bring into or ensure the continuation of the party’s right to govern, if the public are not going to recognise a candidate’s credibility then the party is going to reject their leadership aspirations.
Now the point of this article was not to slander the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor, but merely to enlighten you to the notion that public opinion still matters, and that if we take a Conservative who frequently outperforms the rest of his party and put him against colleagues who the people are disenfranchised by then the outcome is quite clear. Not only does Boris represent what many Tories of the right-wing see as a return to the traditional way, but he is also a figure who conducts himself just as well, if not better than Blair in the media. So “not a snowball in Hades’ chance” you say? Well it may not be snowing in Hades, but the climate is certainly shifting here in the United Kingdom.