Whither Boris?8th August 2012
Image from The Daily Mail
The Olympics circus is in full swing and, as expected, Boris is bouncing – and occasionally dangling – for London and Team GB.
Boris – he of the redundant surname – has contributed massively to the gaiety of the nation pre and post his arrival in City Hall; his combination of faux buffoonery and genial insouciance has been ideal for the largely nugatory role of Mayor of London. In short, his 21st century take on one nation conservatism (rarely involving a large ‘c’) has proved a winner with voters. But, when his time is up – assuming he’s had enough of it by 2016 – where will he go?
It looks like he’s the favoured choice to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader. All we can hope is that the fiercely ambitious Boris resists the siren call. Why? Because he’s not, temperamentally, a leader. Despite his charm and affability, Boris is a Michael Heseltine-type politician; i.e. a loner. His ministerial career, cut short by his extramarital dalliances, was ineffectual and, despite his wit and erudition, he was a poor performer in the House of Commons. Yes, he was a much-loved constituency MP, but Tiggerish bonhomie does not a statesman make. Can you see him facing down the nurses, horse-trading with Heads of State or sending the troops into battle?
It’s plain that he loves to be loved, but putative or actual Prime Ministers must be prepared to be reviled at home and abroad; it’s the default setting for high office. Boris is, first and foremost, a cheerleader; someone to lift our spirits and leaven our cynicism. He shouldn’t be allowed to waste his talent for inspiring others in an occupation which, by its very nature, is governed by opportunism and self-serving expediency.