05 October 2006

Boris Johnson - Eccentric or Prat?

Those who know me, know that I am NOT a Tory - at least of the Thatcher kind. I sit somewhere in the middle ground - perhaps a ground that used to be occupied by the Lib Dems until they lost touch with reality. Neither am I a supporter of privileged private school educations - especially Eton.

So, on the surface, I should think that Boris Johnson is a complete idiot who represents the worst type of private-school delusional right wing views imaginable.

Recently, Boris has come under sustained fire for a number of "gaffes", encapsulated here in the Guardian recently.

William Hague - former Tory leader for my American friends - called him eccentric in a niceish way.

But I actually think "eccentric" is an unfair term and shows just how politically correct our politics have become, stifling debate because we won't call a spade a spade. Do we have to label people as eccentric just because they say something controversial. Boris may be eccentric, but not for much of what's he's said.

A couple of years ago, Boris was forced to eat humble pie in Liverpool after criticising the people for wallowing in "disproportionate grief" over the murder of Ken Bigley in Iraq. But, Boris was absolutely right. I am, of course, a scouser, and therefore able so say such things (another indication of our politically correct society when only a person of that group is allowed to criticise it). Liverpool is a wonderful place, and there are wonderful people there. But for too long it HAS wallowed in self-pity. It would rather receive handouts than do what it has to (I can list a few other parts of the UK similarly). I made my decision as a teenager to get the hell out of there, and I have no regrets. Score 1 to Boris.

Now, Boris also got criticised for making remarks about that wonderful pillar of the establishment, Jamie Oliver. So much so, that the Tories were forced into allocating time at their conference to introduce an emergency motion praising Mr Oliver. Whether you support Jamie's school dinners campaign or not (is there ANYONE who is against in an argument that goes something like "would you like good, wholesome school dinners, or crap?"), one can't help thinking that Mr Oliver's own self-publicity had just a little to do with the whole scheme. The people who should be praised are those who have fought unsung for such changes since times when Jamie Oliver was himself still at school. But who are, of course, ignored by the very media who will only give the airtime to a celebrity.

Politics needs Boris Johnson like it needs Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell, and, dare I say it, Anne Widdecomble to name a few. Heh, maybe even that dour Jack Straw could make it into that group if he continues to say what needs to be said.

And, I'll take the Tories more seriously when they don't resort to spin to protect the reputation of a celebrity who is quite capable of looking after himself.

Boris, I'm not going to agree with you on many things, but on the prat vote, Jamie Oliver wins over you anytime. And, you may be eccentric, but not because of these things. Keep speaking out!


Anonymous said...

Well, there's a reason why Boris is one of the most popular Conservatives around, and that's probably because he speaks his mind.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily make sense, but at least he's reacting honestly to whatever situation he finds himself at the time, a marked contrast with certain other politicians' verbal habits.

Of his most recent comments I think I find the implied argument for Scottish independence the most amusing...

Anonymous said...

The Spectator's anti-Liverpool attack in the wake of Kenneth Bigley's murder was written by Simon Heffer you twit.

Boris Johnson can be a bumbling fool, but an article of that nature is not really his style. He took responsibility for the article, to this credit, as it had appeared in the magazine he edited. That said, it does appear that he had failed to read the thing before it went to press.

Naturally, your distance from and ignorance of modern-day Liverpool can explain the fact that you do appear to know that there was little "mourning" in Liverpool for Bigley's murder, outside of those members of his family that still lived in the city.

I'm guessing that your in your self-loathing disdain for a city of which you no longer appear to know very much about (for example, the city currently has a booming economy) you are really telling us a lot more about yourself than you would ever now be able to about Liverpool.