The Paddington Trail

05 Dec
December 5, 2014

Boris PaddingtonQuite what UKIP would make of Paddington Bear, we’re not sure. A Peruvian immigrant taken in by a London family, the newly orphaned bear  arrived in the UK illegally (he stowed away on a boat) and, as far as we recall, doesn’t work for a living. Presumably the Brown family also claim benefits for him.

Anyway, his status as an immigrant notwithstanding, there’s a new film coming out featuring the loveable character. Ahead of the release of the new movie, the Paddington Trail has been unveiled in London. Fifty lifesized Paddingtons will be unveiled at landmarks across London to mark the launch of the film – and each of the bears has been designed by a celebrity.

Benedict Cumberbatch has created a Sherlock Bear (of course) while Hugh Bonneville’s Paddington tells the story of marmalade. Michael Sheen’s is a Shakes-Bear while David Beckham’s effort is, naturally, Golden-paws.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Boris has designed a bear with London scenes all over him imaginatively named The Bear of London. Rather than his trademark duffel coat, Bozza’s Paddington sports Big Ben, a cable car, the Gherkin, the Palace of Westminster, the Post Office Tower and (homage to the bear’s creator), a Tube sign saying Bond Street. And, if you look closely enough, you’ll see a familiarly tousle-haired blond figure, pedalling away on a Boris bike.

The aim is to get fans of Paddington on the hunt to find all 50 of the bears. And, on a more serious note, many of the bespoke-built Paddingtons are to be auctioned off to raise funds for the work of Action Medical Research (Paddington has been helping them for more than three decades), as well as ChildLine and the NSPCC.

“Paddington had the good fortune to be found by Mr and Mrs Brown, who gave him love and a safe space to grow up,” says Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC. “And that’s something that every young person deserves.”

You can find out more about the Paddington Trail here and if you want to catch Boris’ bear, you’ll find him neat the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. If he hasn’t been deported by the Border Agency, of course.

 

Boris turns Good Samaritan

04 Dec
December 4, 2014

Boris ballBoris was on a plane this week, as we’re sure he is for many of his weeks. But this time, a drunken passenger was disturbing him. Boris sat next to him, tried to appease him, and then had to make a rapid withdrawal when things to took a turn for the awkward.

Here the full skinny on the episode.

Boris. What a guy.

Lizards and lycra

30 Nov
November 30, 2014
Picture from The Daily Telegraph

Picture from The Daily Telegraph

I daresay that there are many people that would scuttle into the undergrowth if the Mayor of London tried to grab their behind. We don’t have any evidence to support this [Please say ‘allegedly’ – Boriswatch Legal Advisor] although there has been one incident of rear-touching-scurrying-action on the latest stage of Boris’ World Tour.

The Mayor is in the Far East on a UK trade mission and one of the stops involved an encounter with a large lizard at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Apparently, London’s Kew Gardens has a long history with its Singaporean cousin as it provided 22 para rubber seedlings in 1877 – kick-starting south east Asia’s rubber industry.

“Poor little lizard, being chased around,” said Mr Johnson who, according to the Telegraph, ‘gave the lizard the fright of its life.’

Pestering lizards is not all that Boris has been doing on his trip. The Mayor took his ‘portly figure’ (as the Mail called it) on a bike ride with the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, a man who ended up leading his country after taking office as the Governor of its largest city (a career path that Bozza will have no doubt noted with interest).

Boris said: “‘I’m delighted to be back in Jakarta. I want to try and help cement our strong bilateral relations with Indonesia and further discussion on trade and business opportunities between two great and growing capital cities.

“I’m looking forward to sharing our experience of running the Olympic Games with the president as Indonesia prepares to host the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.”

Next stop: Bothering a crocodile in Malaysia. Probably.

The Churchill Factor

29 Oct
October 29, 2014

Would Winston Churchill have bombed the Islamic State? Well, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever really find out an answer to that question but, according to the man who has written a new book about Britain’s wartime leader, he most certainly would.

Boris has used an interview to promote his new book The Churchill Factor – presumably not a guide to cheaper car insurance – to claim that the security sources in the UK are monitoring ‘thousands’ of terror suspects and that the ex-PM would have taken ‘personal charge’ of the situation.

“Let’s ask ourselves this question: would Churchill now be authorizing air strikes on Isil? I think he would be. He was a great believer in air power,” claimed Bozza. “I think he would be appalled by the spectacle of these cowards executing journalists, and I think he would have wanted to do something to set them back a long way, and if need be, to neutralize them altogether.

“He was a great believer in air power – don’t forget he invented the RAF…so I think he’d do exactly what the Prime Minister is doing.”

The Mayor also used the interview to reveal that the number of potential terrorists being monitored by Google the security services is in the thousands – far more than had originally been thought. He said: “In London we’re very very vigilant and very very concerned. Every day – as you saw recently, we had to raise the threat level – every day the security services are involved in thousands of operations.

“There are probably in the low thousands of people that we are monitoring in London.”

So what would old Winston have done if he’d discovered an Islamic State person plotting in London. We’ll he’d have gone down and had a jolly stiff word, according to Boris.

Citing the example of the Sidney Street siege in 1911, when police became involved in a gunfight with a group of anarchists, he said: “If you look at his handling of the Sidney Street siege…Churchill goes down there personally.

“He would have taken personal charge of counter-terror in London, no question. Had he been Home Secretary now, he would be absolutely appalled to think that these people could be carrying British passports and yet be loyal to another state.”

Perhaps that’s what we need, Bozza? Pop round and give them a piece of your mind, eh?

UKIP converts are “nutty”, apparently

01 Oct
October 1, 2014

Never one to shy away from a topic, Boris let out a great literary bellow in his latest Telegraph column:  Any Conservatives thinking about joining rivals UKIP “must be utterly nuts”.

One of the great things about Boris is that he doesn’t talk like a politician. Some people claim this is “on purpose” – of course it is, and it’s a brilliant way to get people engaged in what sometimes are boring topics.

So in an effort to stem the tide of UKIP converts – he doesn’t want to end up leading a party of sizable delapidation, does he – he’s given a big shot across the bow.

We at Boriswatch Towers are looking forward to his speech at the Tory conference this week – we’ve got a mug of hot cocoa and popcorn set aside for the big event.

The Sinking of Boris Island

09 Sep
September 9, 2014

FunafutiSpare a thought for the 10,000 people who live on the remote Pacific island of Tuvalu. The country’s highest point is just 15 metres above sea level and so, as climate change results in rising sea levels, it’s only a matter of time before the beautiful islands disappear without trace.

Now, it may only exist in the minds of architects, planners and the London Mayor, but another potentially beautiful island sunk without trace this week. Slightly closer to home than the Polynesian nation, it was the Airports Commission rather than global warming that did for Boris Island, the proposed site of the answer to London’s desperate need for more airport capacity.

The commission said that after a detailed study it had concluded that the proposal for a new four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary had “substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits”.

The commission chairman, Sir Howard Davies, said: “The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time‑consuming to surmount. Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70bn to £90bn, with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30bn to £60bn in total.”

Naturally (as it was his pet project) the Mayor was less than impressed with the commission’s verdict which leaves just Heathrow and Gatwick expansions as the viable options. Boris said: “In one myopic stroke the Airports Commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall.

“Gatwick is not a long-term solution and Howard Davies must explain to the people of London how he can possibly envisage that an expansion of Heathrow, which would create unbelievable levels of noise, blight and pollution, is a better idea than a new airport to the east of London that he himself admits is visionary.”

So, it looks like the plan is dead in the water. Or perhaps Boris can take heart from Tuvalu’s infrastructure? Despite its size and relative poverty, the Funafuti International Airport offers travel to and from Tuvalu with carriers including Air Pacific. If they can find a way to build a decent airport on their remote island, it surely can’t be beyond the wit of man to find a spot for a new airport in London? Can it?

Back In Da House

29 Aug
August 29, 2014

Boris and Dave 3Let’s be honest: it was the worst kept secret in politics. Finally, Boris has announced that he does plan to stand as an MP in 2015, ending years of speculation as to whether he would return to the House of Commons.

Even when the announcement was finally made, the Mayor danced around the issue like a child skipping around a maypole. In a speech, he said that he “can’t endlessly go on dodging these questions, as I’ve tried to do”.

“We’ve danced around it for an awfully long time. As you know the Prime Minister said he’d welcome me back. It was very kind of him to do so. I haven’t got any particular seat lined up but I do think in all probability, since you can’t do these things furtively, in all probability I will try to find somewhere to stand in 2015.

“It is highly likely I will be unsuccessful in that venture, by the way. You can never underestimate the possibility of things going badly wrong. But I will try that.”

The announcement means that Boris will effectively have two jobs for a period as his second term as Mayor of London does not end until 2016.

The confirmation if his plans to return have set the Westminster conspiracy theorists into overdrive with many believing that he is positioning himself for the Tory leadership as and when David Cameron chooses to stop down. However, Bozza denied this, saying: “No. I don’t want revert to weasel mode here.”

One likely destination for the Mayor is the constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. The safe Tory seat has become vacant after Sir John Randall announced he was leaving Parliament, and a new candidate will be selected by mid-September.

Once back in Parliament, Boris is likely to be the main challenger in a future Tory leadership contest with George Osborne expected to be his closest rival. David Cameron – on holiday when the announcement was made – seemed unconcerned, however. He tweeted: “Great news that Boris plans to stand at next year’s general election – I’ve always said I want my star players on the pitch. “

Boris is coming BACK!

06 Aug
August 6, 2014

borispmIt has long been trailed by Boriswatch, but the great man has confirmed – he will be seeking re-election as an MP in 2015. He’s going to “give it a crack”. We’re going to “throw a party in celebration”.

Now, seasoned Boriswatchers will know that the story doesn’t end there. He will use his virtually guaranteed political seat to launch a bid for leader of the Conservative Party, and then – Prime Minister?! Can we dream?

 

Boris: “Tony Blair Has Finally Gone Mad”

19 Jun
June 19, 2014

Boris giggleI suppose it would be reasonable to assume that Boris Johnson is no fan of ex-Labour leader Tony Blair. Now, though, Boris has given the ex-Prime Minister both barrels by claiming that Blair ‘needs professional psychiatric help’.

In an interview with Sky News, Blair claimed that the current instability in Iraq was caused not by his war but by a failure by the West to deal with the situation in Syria (as if waltzing into that country like we did elsewhere a few years back would have been a great idea).

Blair told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan: “Some people will say ‘well if we hadn’t removed Saddam in 2003 we wouldn’t have the problem today in Iraq and the reason I think that is profoundly mistaken is this: since 2011 there have been these Arab revolutions sweeping across the whole of the region – Tunisa, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, next door to Iraq in Syria – and we can see what would have happened if we left Saddam there in 2003.

“We have left Bashar Assad in Syria. The result is that there have now in the last three years in Syria been virtually the same number of people killed in Syria as in the whole of Iraq. You have had nine million people displaced from Syria, you have chaos and instability being pushed across the region.”

It would be fair to say that not everyone agrees with the ex-PM – and Boris, in particular, had a few harsh words to say. Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, the Mayor of London said Mr Blair and then-US president George W Bush had shown “unbelievable arrogance” to believe toppling Saddam Hussein would not result in instability.

He even went as far as accusing the ex-Labour leader of having sent British forces into the bloody conflict in part to gain personal ‘grandeur’.

Bozza said: “Somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it, or at least to accept the reality of the disaster he helped to engender. Then he might be worth hearing.

“I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.”

And Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, said the handling of the campaign against Saddam was “perhaps the most significant reason” for today’s violence.

Spraying Boris in the Face

16 Jun
June 16, 2014

Boris wetIf you offered the political classes (and the general public) the chance to spray water at Boris Johnson you’d imagine you’d need half the Metropolitan Police on hand to cope with the queue. Now, though, some lucky blighter is going to get the option to blast Boris with a water cannon after the Mayor agreed to face the Met’s newest weapon.

The Mayor has controversially agreed to buy three water cannons from the German Federal Police for the Met at a cost of £218,000. This is despite water cannons never being used on the British mainland and despite the Home Secretary having yet to agree to their use.

Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has pledged that water cannon would be “rarely used and rarely seen”. And, to prove that the cannon is safe, Boris has agreed to face it himself. When interviewed by Nick Ferrari on LBC, the Mayor accepted the dare. Boris said: “Man or mouse. You’ve challenged me, so I suppose I’m going to have to do it now.”

He told presenter Nick Ferrari: “I can see all my press people pulling their hair out over this, but never mind, it’s got to be done. Thanks for that one.”

The purchase of the cannons has proved controversial with Labour and the Liberal Democrats condemning it as ‘reckless’. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat leader on the London Assembly, said: “There is no evidence to defend the provision of water cannon in London.

“After three hearings at City Hall the case against the use of water cannon was compelling. London Assembly Members, across the political parties have expressed their total opposition to one of the worst aspects of European policing being adopted in London. The Mayor’s refusal to listen or engage with evidence presented to him is shameful.”

Reports that Ken Livingstone is to be given control of the water cannon have yet to be confirmed…