Boris must win, and go on and on
Nationally, the Conservative Party is trailing Labour in opinion polls: the latest YouGov poll puts the Tories on 29 per cent and Labour on 40. Yet Boris leads Ken by 52 to 48, as though he belonged to a different party. Perhaps he does: as an ‘Independent Conservative’ he is unafraid of arguing with the Prime Minister and unconcerned by the whips. But there is more:
He has managed to convey a sincerity, a feeling of authenticity that has somehow eluded many leading Conservatives. Despite having a background nearly identical to Mr Cameron’s, he has persuaded voters to trust him. It may be because Mr Johnson is not ashamed to declare his commitment to core Tory values... he stresses his commitment to reducing tax levels, and his determination to do everything he can to help small businessmen. This, no doubt, helps to explain why he has gained a following among voters who belong to ethnic minorities, many of whom are entrepreneurs. He is also unapologetic about taking a hard line on crime, an approach that also appeals to this constituency. Perhaps what Mr Johnson does not say is as important as what he does. He does not spend his time trumpeting the virtues of wind farms, or increasing overseas aid, or promoting single-sex marriage...Boris is the people’s politician: he (almost) invariably speaks and writes manifest common sense, and has a rare gift for a politician – he is lovable. No matter what his faults and failings, there is something profoundly warming about his personality, and he makes London smile. In an era where the medium is the message, he is a very portly medium indeed, through which the message of Conservatism may be amply expounded. And everyone has heard of Boris. Like Diana, he has the aura of first-name familiarity about him; not such a one that may breed contempt, but one that endears people to him; one that makes people feel that they somehow know him. There is something cultic about him; to use the vernacular, he has mojo, he creates his own mystery which inevitably yields a loyal following. In that sense, Boris belongs to the people, and God knows that modern politics desperately needs politicians with whom the electorate wants to engage; politicians who can lead and create disciples.
London is tired of Ken Livingstone’s manipulation, evasion, cunning and deceit. The antidote is a straightforward dose of honesty and commonsense. As far as His Grace is concerned, no-one but Boris can rid us of the anti-Semitic appeaser of Islamism and promoter of all that is corrupt and rotten. Ken Livingstone is the past: Boris is the future.
And that is not merely the view of this Anglican Tory: it is the view of Labour Peer Alan Sugar, who says Ken Livingstone ‘is a driven, power-crazed egomaniac who will do anything to regain the power he once had’. He thinks him to be an anti-Semite who is ‘playing a dangerous game’, and tweeted: ‘I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone, I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections'. And Labour Peer Lord Winston branded him a ‘tricky customer with extremely unhealthy views’. And Labour’s election chief Tom Watson told Labour members to ‘hold your nose’ and vote for Ken Livingstone.
Good grief. If this is what senior Labour figures think of their candidate, Boris really is the only choice. He's good for London, good for the country, and good for the Conservative Party. He must go on, and on.