Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, MP for Henley, journalist, historian, author and everyone’s favourite upper-class twit is being considered as the Conservative candidate for London’s mayor. After being questioned on whether he would like to run in 2008 against Mayor Ken, Boris enthusiastically harumphed, "Being Mayor of London would be a fantastic job and anyone who loves London would want to consider the possibility very carefully." He went on to state that he does not have leader David Cameron’s backing.
Londonist got to thinking about this revelation and couldn’t help but raise an interested eyebrow. If this were to come to fruition we are gleefully anticipating a good old fashioned, traditionalist Right versus hard-nosed Left battle reminiscent of the days of Thatcher versus Foot (only slightly less scruffy and one sided). All we need to see now is Dr David Owen, the Bryan Ferry of politics, sashaying into the centrist ground literally wooing the voters with his brooding, deep voice and untameable flick.
Could Boris beat Ken? Why not! He is a committed MP for Henley, reiterating his commitment to his constituency under questioning from the press. He definitely has a passion for London and has a pied a terre in South West London that he famously locked himself out of whilst proclaiming to Journalists he was “saving his marriage” after news broke implicating him in yet another affair. He is occasionally a clever politician and can sometimes be quite charming in a bumbling, old English eccentric style. What his policies would be is a mystery, although we know his is a committed cyclist (green), has a Turkish great grandfather (immigration), a noted TV personality (media friendly) and is never afraid to state an opinion, no matter how ill-informed or mis-judged (Livingstonian)! Unsurprisingly, the unofficial word from Tory central is “Draft Boris!” and there is already (of course) an “I’m backing Boris” Facebook group. Boris-Watch is keeping a keen eye on proceedings and practically cooing in delight at the prospect.
Surely it's good news for the Conservatives, having been turned down by a quite few candidates already inclusing Lord Coe and former Met Police chief and hard-liner Lord Stevens. The deadline for Mayoral intent applications is 16 July followed by an open primary then a shortlist drawn up by 3 August. The winner will be announced at the Tory conference in September.
Who knows what to expect in this contest? If Boris did run for the Tories you can expect great quotes, tremendous gaffes, a good old fashioned, political fight and almost certain offence caused to many. Liverpool probably being top of the list again.
Image taken from the talented (nice dream)'s flickr photostream under the creative commons license.