Author Archive for: Chief Boriswatcher

Boris, One Direction and the Squirrel

30 Sep
September 30, 2013

Grey squirrelSince he became London Mayor, Boris has had plenty of ideas. Some of them have come to fruition – the return of the Routemaster bus, the bicycle hire scheme – while others have been, er, less well received (floating airports, for example).

In a new and fascinating interview with the Financial Times, the Mayor has brought to the public’s attention one scheme which we weren’t previously aware: the reintroduction of red squirrels to London.

As you may know, the problem with red squirrels can be summed up in two words: grey squirrels. The wretched grey squirrels came over here from the USA (immigrants, if you will). Bigger and hungrier than their red cousins – and carriers of a disease that’s harmful to the reds but doesn’t affect them – the grey squirrels have gradually taken over to the point where they can’t survive in the same environment. If a grey squirrel gets to the Isle of Wight for example – and it would have to swim the Solent to do so – it won’t last long.

[Thanks for the biology lesson. Can we get back to the point? – Boriswatch Ed]

Boris wants nice red squirrels but London is full of the grey ones. And, the pesky nutmunchers can be mean. Bozza told the FT: “One of the singers in One Direction was attacked by a squirrel in Battersea Park and was actually disabled.” [“London Fan Goes Nuts For Niall”, presumably – Boriswatch Headline Chief]

Whether ‘disabled’ is the right word we’re not sure, but the teen-pop band’s Niall Horan was attacked by a squirrel, as Bozza says, and tore ligaments in his knee. Now the Mayor wants less pop-star bothering animals to live in the Capital.

“One of the few mad ideas that I’ve not been able to put into practice was to reintroduce the red squirrel,” says the Mayor. “I got absolutely obsessed with it for a while but they told me it would basically involve creating a huge aviary patrolled by G4S security people to shoot all the grey squirrels that tried to get in.”

Mass squirrel culling, an enormous aviary and armed security guards in central London. Perhaps it may be better if Boris concentrates on other issues and lets evolution run its course, eh?

Rated 15 for strong language

22 Sep
September 22, 2013

Boris annoyedThe Mayor’s Question Time is an opportunity for members of the London Assembly to quiz the mayor about aspects of his policy and governance. Boris is normally pretty adept at fending off awkward questions from the floor…until a recent meeting where it would be fair to say that he lost his rag somewhat.

The Mayor of London is pushing ahead with plans to close 10 fire stations and axe over 500 jobs in London’s fire service. Clearly, this has not gone down well with firefighters, the public (who are concerned about losing fire cover) and several members of the London Assembly.

The meeting started off badly when Bozza was heckled and called a ‘liar’ by firefighters in the public gallery. And, according to the Huffington Post, when one heckler said the number of deaths from fire in London was going up, Boris retorted that this was ‘completely wrong’ before muttering ‘b*ll*cks’ under his breath.

As the cries of outrage continued, he said: “One death from fire is too many; I won’t be shouted at from the gallery, I am not being interrupted … when I am simply explaining the number of deaths from fire has come down.”

Bozza was then quizzed by Assembly member Andrew Dismore about the proposed cuts. “How can cutting fire stations, cutting fire engines, cutting fire fighters posts not be a reduction in fire cover?” Dismore angrily demanded.

A visibly annoyed Boris insisted he was in fact improving services, replaying: “Because we’re improving cover – As I’ve said several times.”

Interrupting the mayor, Dismore said he had “lied to the people of London.” And this is when it all went rather to pot.

“Oh get stuffed,” the Mayor grumpily muttered.

Boris then apologised immediately, saying: “I’m sorry, I apologise to, to, to … It just popped out. I’m very sorry,” seemingly forgetting Dismore’s name.

Swearing under his breath? Telling a fellow politician to ‘get stuffed’? What’s next? An 18-certificate Twitter rant? A part in a Quentin Tarantino movie? Doing a Prescott and getting the fists out…?

Fit For A (Future) King

10 Aug
August 10, 2013

What do these things have in common?:

  • A cot blanket embroidered by Spanish nuns
  • A collection of Roald Dahl stories
  • A three year old apple tree
  • A tricycle in the style of a London bike hire cycle

Yes, that’s right. They are all the main prizes in the brand new National Lottery Saturday night show.

[They’re not really. They are the gifts bestowed upon the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby, Prince George, by leading political figures – Boriswatch Ed]

Ed Miliband bought the tree which, according to the Telegraph, ‘currently has apples on it and it was grown at a London orchard project called BEST, or Brent Eleven Streets.’ Nick Clegg bought the embroidered cot blanket and David Cameron invested in the Roald Dahl collection (available for £15.99 online).

Having bought William and Kate a Barclays bike hire themed tandem for their wedding, Boris has now added a tiny Boris-trike to the family collection.

Although, when asked about the gift, the Mayor seemed, er, a little unsure. “I don’t know actually,” he said. “I’m using the present tense because I think it has gone. I’m looking around…I think it has gone. I’m not certain actually. I’m afraid I haven’t personally been out shopping. I imagine it’s a beautiful blue.”

Asked if the tricycle is sponsored by Barclays he said: “It might well be. That was what I was told. Thank goodness. It’s not in my briefing. I wasn’t briefed on baby presents.

“My memory is and I’m glad it has been confirmed we are sending Prince George a beautiful, bouncing blue tricycle to get him on the bike at the earliest possible opportunity and to acculturate him to the joy of cycling.”

The Mayor added: “It will be beautiful whatever it is.”

Later, City Hall revealed a picture of the tricycle in all its glory.

Boris TrikePainted in the same blue colour scheme as the regular bikes, it carries the number 220713 to represent the Prince’s date of birth as well as his name in place of the cycle-hire logo.

A gift fit for a Prince, clearly.

Still The Favourite, But Beware The Gove

04 Aug
August 4, 2013

Spectator Magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year AwardsA new poll of Tory members has found that Boris remains the most popular choice to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party. But, while the Mayor of London was the clear favourite in May, he’s now being reeled in by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

A survey of more than 700 grassroots members by the ConservativeHome website found that 21 per cent want Bozza to succeed Mr Cameron. However, 20 per cent now favour Mr Gove, while 16.5 per cent inexplicably want Theresa May, the Home Secretary. 15 per cent would like William Hague, the Foreign Secretary to return as leader of the party while 14 per cent think that hell will freeze over and that they’ll get David Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary.

It’s quite a change from the last poll just three months ago. Then, Bozza was the clear leading choice on 30 per cent with Mr Gove on 7 per cent, Mr Davis and Mr Hague on 16 per cent and Mrs May on 12 per cent.

In a stance reminiscent of Jim Hacker in Yes, Minister (shortly before he became PM) Mr Gove insists he does not want to be prime minister and is not cut out for the job. However, the Independent reports that some Tory MPs believe he does not want to be seen as angling for the leadership and could be persuaded to stand if there were a vacancy.

Still, Boris is the man to beat. And: Michael Gove. Really?

Three Airport Options

18 Jul
July 18, 2013

Isle of GrainFor a while, the Mayor’s new London airport of choice was the so-called Boris Island in the Thames Estuary. Now, however, the Mayor has unveiled a new set of options for increasing the capital’s airport capacity and has thrown his weight behind the Isle of Grain option in north Kent.

The Mayor was launching Transport for London’s evidence to the Davies Commission, which is evaluating airport expansion options. As well as calling planned expansion of Heathrow and Gatwick ‘intellectual culs-de-sac’, he lambasted politicians for failing to provide more airport capacity earlier, saying: “We’ve been sitting around like puddings for the past 40 years doing nothing. We have squandered decades and other countries are eating our lunch”.

Transport for London has whittled down 16 options to three, each with four runways. “The Isle of Grain best combines regeneration with connectivity,” said Boris. A rail link would reach central London in less than half an hour. The other options are a new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary, and massive expansion at Stansted.

Two out of three passengers using a new four-runway airport will be expected to arrive by public transport, compared with just 40 per cent at Heathrow at present.

All three  of TfL’s new options call for the closure of Heathrow, with the aim of creating a new London borough for 250,000 residents.

A spokeperson for Heathrow said: “It seems extraordinary that any Mayor of London would propose forcibly buying and then closing Heathrow. The Mayor’s proposals would leave 114,000 people facing redundancy, cost taxpayers more and take longer to deliver than building on the strength we already have at Heathrow.”

So, which is your preferred option? An expanded Gatwick or Stansted? A third runway at Heathrow? Or a brand new airport to the east of London? Let us know your thoughts.

One of those medieval pigs with an apple

03 Jul
July 3, 2013

Boris LBCThis week saw the latest step in Bozza’s attempt for World Domination. His brand new monthly radio show, Ask Boris, debuted on radio station LBC and gave listeners the opportunity to quiz the Mayor on a range of issues.

According to the Daily Telegraph, it took a while for Boris to work out who was actually presenting the show. “Early on he noticed with some alarm that a man sitting on the other side of the studio kept butting in to ask him questions.

“Hang on,” spluttered Boris. “Are you allowed to keep interrupting me like this?”

“Yes,” said the man.

“OK, fine,” said Boris meekly. “I hadn’t realised that.”

Having established that the man – better known to listeners as Nick Ferrari, of LBC’s breakfast show – was his co-host, Boris grew in confidence.”

The Mayor fielded questions on stolen bus stops, fracking and illegal immigrants. And, at one point, he claimed that “London is one of the best cities in the world to have a stroke,” – a claim we all hope we’ll never have to personally verify. Other choice phrases included ‘one of those medieval pigs with an apple’, ‘thing had a warp in in, like a spoon’ and ‘I think it was Johannesburg airport’.

He also claimed that: “Labour put in a load of wind farms that failed to pull the skin off a rice pudding.” [I’m not sure that’s what they are designed for – Boriswatch Environment Editor]

All in all, the Telegraph said that ‘it was great fun to listen to’. Much like the Mayor in general, eh?

New balls, please

25 Jun
June 25, 2013

Sometimes, researching what the Mayor’s up to can be tough. He’s not always falling over in rivers or slagging off Northern cities or hanging by his nethers up a zipwire. No, sometimes it’s fairly mundane political activity, meetings and boring stuff.

So, when you see a headline like this, it’s as if you’ve been given a gift from the Tory gods:

“Boris Pulls Amazing Faces When Playing Tennis.”

I mean, what’s funnier than watching Bozza gurn himself into a stupor at Queen’s Club, eh?

Evidence A:

Boris Queens Club 1

Evidence B:

Boris Queens Club 2

Evidence C:

Boris Queens Club 3

No further questions, your honour. Etc etc etc.

Big Whiff-Whaff Without The Table

05 Jun
June 5, 2013

Boris tennisBoris has always loved a bit of bat and ball action. Ahead of the 2012 actions, the Mayor famously remarked: “I stand by my assertion that whiff-whaff and ping-pong are one and the same thing, with the ‘whiffs’ predating the ‘pongs’. Regardless of semantics though, it is a sport of which we should be proud and I look forward to watching it in 2012.”

And, earlier this year, the Mayor was challenged to a game of whiff-whaff by none other than the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton. Writing in the Spectator, Ms Middleton said: “I’m informed that Boris Johnson, former editor of this magazine, wants to be ‘whiff-whaff’ world king even more than he wants to be Prime Minister.I’m also told the Johnsons are almost as competitive as the Middletons.

“So I’d like to lay down a challenge to the Mayor.My only stipulation is that I can use my favourite Dunlop Blackstorm Nemesis bat, which I used when I played in the Milton Keynes U13 National Championships, don’t you know.

“Bring it on, Boris.”

While that monumental sporting occasion has yet to take place, Bozza is set to ditch the table in favour of a larger form of whiff-whaff when he joins a host of stars for a charity tennis match [‘Thimp-thump’? – Boriswatch Sports Ed] at the Queen’s Club.

The Rally against Cancer event will follow the final of the Aegon Championships on 16 June. Andy Murray and former British number one Tim Henman are set to face each other in a special doubles match with celebrities – including Michael McIntyre, Jonathan Ross, Sir Richard Branson, Eddie Redmayne and the Mayor of London – rotating as their partners.

Bozza said: “Given the LTA’s generous decision to donate £10 for every ace, their bank balance will look a little thin after I’ve finished with Mr Henman and Mr Murray!”

Public has ‘right to know’ about Mayor’s lovechild

22 May
May 22, 2013

Boris LatinHe has long had something of a reputation for being a ladies’ man, and now the Appeal Court has ruled that the public has a right to know that Boris had an extramarital affair with a woman who later gave birth to their daughter.

The Guardian reports that ‘three senior judges decided on Monday that voters were entitled to be told that the mayor of London conducted a “brief adulterous affair” with the woman who later gave birth to their daughter, now aged three.’

Helen Macintyre, a professional art consultant, has lost her legal battle to keep secret the paternity of her daughter in a ruling that could change the privacy rights of public figures in England and Wales. While Bozza’s fatherhood of Macintyre’s daughter was first revealed by the Daily Mail in July 2010, it has since been the subject of a legal battle at the high court.

Lawyers for the Daily Mail had argued that it was in the public interest to name Boris as the child’s father because it ‘went to the issue of recklessness and whether on that account he was fit for public office’.

The Court of Appeal said: “It is not in dispute that the legitimate public interest in the father’s character is an important factor to be weighed in the balance against the claimant’s expectation of privacy.

“The core information in this story, namely that the father had an adulterous affair with the mother, deceiving both his wife and the mother’s partner and that the claimant, born about nine months later, was likely to be the father’s child, was a public interest matter which the electorate was entitled to know when considering his fitness for high public office.”

The mayor’s official spokesman said: “We don’t comment on matters pertaining to the mayor’s private life.” Probably just as well, otherwise they might have to take on more staff….

Boris Joins Reading Festival

18 May
May 18, 2013

EminemSince 1971, the Reading Festival has been one of the UK’s most important events. Over the years, The Jam, The Ramones, Meat Loaf, Nirvana, The Stone Roses and the Beastie Boys have played at the Festival but, until now, one name remained conspicuous by his absence.

Now, 2013 will see Boris Johnson at the Festival. Bozza will headline the Saturday night alongside Eminem and Chase and Status, with other acts on the bill including Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down.

And, the festival will move from its Reading home to Trafalgar Square for one year only. Boris made his announcement at  Battersea primary school St Mary’s and executive headteacher Jared Brading said: “We will definitely be taking our pupils to the Trafalgar Square festival. It will be a wonderful opportunity to combine Reading  with a great day out.”

The Mayor said: “I hope as many Londoners as possible can make it to Trafalgar Square for the giant read-a-thon packed full of literacy-boosting activities and famous book lovers.”

[Are you sure about this?  – Boriswatch Ed]

Oh. The Get Reading festival, set to take place on 13 July, is part of a major literacy campaign being led by the London Evening Standard and has been organised in partnership with the e-reader firm Nook. Turns out Bozza won’t be doing The Real Slim Shady or American Idiot after all.

Boris said: “I would like to see a London where kids are no longer illiterate at age 11. The target must be to stamp out illiteracy of 11-year-olds, and this is where the Standard‘s literacy campaign has done such pioneering work. Think of the potential – almost one in five kids are leaving primary school unable to read or write, think of what they would go on to achieve, think of the economic benefits that would bring to London if we could turn that round and turn these kids onto reading.”

That’s ‘reading’ not Reading. Ahem.