Mayor Johnson

The Boris story

Andrew Gimson, the Telegraph’s parliamentary sketch writer, has added another chapter to his biography of Boris Johnson which covers his race for the London mayoralty. Read it here. It is a riveting read. He describes Boris’ Prince Hal moment thus:

Boris himself understood that to win, he had to grit his teeth and make concessions. He broke decisively with the self-destructive style of politics he had learnt from his father Stanley, in which absolutely everything has to be treated as a joke.

It is not that Boris became serious – in my view he has always been seriously gifted, energetic and ambitious – but that he began to evince an unexpected steadiness. Gone were the gaffes on which the press feasted. In their place was a grasp of policy the equal of Ken’s, allied to a far greater determination to do something about questions, such as knife crime, on which Ken had nothing new to say.

This was all pretty obvious back in March when the press turnout for Boris’ housing policy launch at RIBA on St Pat’s day was a bit thin. As I said then:

The press have learnt by now that they won’t get many jokes, that Boris will stay relentlessly on-message and that they can get the whole speech and all of the referenced and footnoted research straight off Boris’ website. They have learnt they don’t need to turn up because Boris will stick to the script.

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