The man who would be mayor

I have to admit something: I’ve been studiously ignoring Boris Johnson, the Tory candidate for London mayor in the upcoming 1 May elections.

But I was given a bit of a rude shock when I glanced at a headline proclaiming that his lead over Ken Livingstone had been cut in half. It was news to me that he was in the lead at all. Surely it was clear he was a joke candidate when he proposed scrapping the admittedly unpopular but nonetheless almost new ‘bendy buses’ in favour of revamped Routemasters? (A plan that we now learn would cost £100 million – great use of public funds, Boris!)

However, just in case any readers are considering a vote, this report from Compass paints a rather different picture of the man aspiring to be mayor than, say, the BBC. Although the BBC notes his offenses to the city of Liverpool and Papua New Guinea, here are some more quotes:

‘What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is

said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth,

partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of

flag-waving picaninnies; and one can imagine that Blair, twice

victor abroad but enmired at home, is similarly seduced by

foreign politeness.

‘They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s

will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human

flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon

smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white

British taxpayer-funded bird.’ (Daily Telegraph 10 January 2002)

Conservatives: ‘accept that material inequality is inevitable, and

that trouble comes from too zealous an attempt to change

this.'(Lend Me Your Ears p126)

‘We seem to have forgotten that societies need rich people,

even sickeningly rich people, and not just to provide jobs for

those who clean swimming pools and resurface tennis courts.’

‘She [Polly Toynbee] incarnates all the nannying, high-taxing,

high-spending schoolmarminess of Blair’s Britain. She is the

defender and friend of everyone whose non-job has ever been

advertised in the Guardian appointments page, every gay and

lesbian outreach worker, every clipboard-toter and pen-pusher

and form-filler whose function has been generated by mindless

regulation. Polly is the high priestess of our paranoid,

mollycoddled, risk-averse, airbagged, booster-seated culture of

political correctness and ‘elf ‘n’ safety fascism.’ (Daily Telegraph

November 23, 2006)

‘When I shamble around the park in my running gear late at

night, and I come across that bunch of black kids, shrieking in

the spooky corner by the disused gents, I would love to

pretend that I don’t turn a hair…

If there is anyone reading

this who has never experienced the same disgraceful reflex,

then – well I just don’t believe you. It is common ground

among both right-wingers and left-wingers that racism is

“natural”, in that it seems to arise organically, in all

civilisations.’ (Lend Me Your Ears p210)

‘none was hotter than the shadow social security secretary,

David Willetts. Round and round he twirled, squiring one Tory

filly after another, until flushed and satiated they could take no

more. Around him we moved in our admiring orbits, old

beldames, jigging white-haired captains of industry, but none

was faster than Willetts… Why was the evening such a

success? There is one measurement I hesitate to mention, since

the last time I did, I am told, the wife of the editor of the

Economist cancelled her subscription to the Daily Telegraph in

protest at my crass sexism. It is what is called the Tottometer,

the geiger-counter that detects good-looking women. In 1997, I

reported, these were to be found in numbers at the Labour

conference. Now – and this is not merely my own opinion – the

Tories are fighting back in a big way. ‘ (The Spectator 10

February 2001)

‘Like much of western Europe, Britain faces a demographic

quandary. In the words of a recent UN interview the

populations of EU countries are “melting like snow in the sun”…

No one knows whether this is caused by the

fecklessness of the modern British male, or by women’s

liberation; or whether it is because divorce has become too

easy.’ (Lend Me Your Ears p395)

‘Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to

increase… Indeed, high Chinese culture and art are almost all

imitative of western forms: Chinese concert pianists are

technically brilliant, but brilliant at Schubert and Rachmaninov.

Chinese ballerinas dance to the scores of Diaghilev. The number

of Chinese Nobel prizes won on home turf is zero, although

there are of course legions of bright Chinese trying to escape to

Stanford and Caltech… It is hard to think of a single Chinese

sport at the Olympics, compared with umpteen invented by

Britain, including ping-pong, I’ll have you know, which

originated at upper-class dinner tables and was first called

whiff-whaff. The Chinese have a script so fiendishly complicated

that they cannot produce a proper keyboard for it.’ (Have I Got

Views for You p277).

‘if gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue –

then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be

consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or

indeed three men and a dog.’ (Friends, Voters, Countrymen


‘Notice the way Peter Mandelson is pictured out on the town

with his boyfriend; not that there is anything wrong with that,

perish the thought, just that it would have been unimaginable

before the last election.’ (The Spectator 29 April 2000)

And he’s less of a bigot the BNP candidate that got pulled from the elections how, exactly?