Love him? Or hate him. I am enjoying the Marmite analogy…
I have my own views on Boris’ politics. But the power of the charisma, the affability mixed with the sharp mind…means that even those who are ultra-cynical about the fella, even those who consider themselves to be committed Commies can be fallable.
A few months ago me and mine were hanging out in the Kalahari – the African bush. No phone, no TV, no internet access. All good fun – once we had gotten over the initial shock of being back there again. We managed to convey the lack of telecommunications to our nearest and dearest back in Blighty and every now and then – when we hit a town – we were able to pick up the odd message.
And a so-called friend of ours had sent us a gabbled email. Something along the lines of “Hope you’re having a great time! Must be weird not having access to outside world news etc. Bet you haven’t heard about Boris Johnson! He’s been a tragic accident and things are looking v bad for him.”
End of quick message.
We didn’t have a strong enough signal to find out more about Boris. Instead, we spent the next few days saying things to each other along the lines of;
HIM: I wonder what happened? I wonder if he fell off his bicycle and went under a London bus or something.
ME: Either way, it’s awful. I mean – I don’t agree with his politics and all of that….
HIM: And the acting like a total twonk thing – that was always SO transparent…
ME: But even so – it’s just dreadful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I quite like him. In a sort of….
HIM: … Perverse kind of way?
ME: Yeah. That. I hope he pulls through. From – whatever happened.
HIM: Let’s try and ring your dad when we can get a phone signal or something.
We spent the next few days begging African friends to try and find out the info on this ‘London Mayor with Yellow Hair’. Whom they had never heard of. But the Namibian papers were either not interested in Boris J. Or they also thought that he was a bit of a twonk.
And then we managed to get a phone signal and I called up my dad.
Phonecall to Manchester:
ME: Hi dad! Gotta be quick – costs a fortune from here!
DAD: Hello back. What time is it there? What’s the weather like there? It’s spitting here! Spitting, I tell you!
ME: Never mind the Peter Kay jokes, Dad. What’s happened to Boris Johson?
DAD: No idea what you’re on about. He’s still as bloody annoying as ever.
ME: So he… hasn’t been fatally wounded in an accident with a pigeon in Trafalgar Square, or anything?
DAD: Not what I know of. Anyway. What do I care about London? They can do what they want down there. Nowt to do with me.
So that was it. End of Big Filthy Lie about Boris Johnson, which our ‘hilarious friend’ decided to spin for us whilst we were On Incommunicado.
It certainly taught me a thing or two:
1) Rumour can be a powerful thing
2) You think that you dislike a politician but when push comes to shove – you discover that you may have a secret soft spot for them (Durr…! I *do* mention the guy in my book…go figure!)
3) You think that you’re trying to raise your kids not to be too partisan, but even your kids catch on (‘I never like the bad blue party – but the jolly mayor wasn’t so bad. I’m sorry that he drowned on the Underground thing.’)
To conclude. Boris Johnson is clever, clever. And capable of shrugging off the amiable buffon image.
Watch this space.