Archive for category: Mayor

The Ghost of Mayor Ken returns

19 Mar
March 19, 2009

boris-ken-415x275The thrashing of Ken at the Mayoral election was a joy to behold. And it looks like we’re going to get another showing – Ken has announced that he will run for Mayor in 2012!

Boriswatch is fairly confident that he will have a tough fight on his hands – recently, Sir Alan Sugar was touted as another potential contender. This is shaping up to be  a hell of a tussle – may that best blond-haired man win!

Beijing Boris

21 Aug
August 21, 2008

“Had London done it, I’m not sure we would have done the switcheroo with the girl with the braces.”

Fresh from a troublesome flight, Boris’s final answer to the collected media in Beijing on hid fact-finding mission this morning pleased Boriswatch no end – the old Boris is still lurking under the City Hall officialdom he is displaying so impressively. The main thing that struck me in his answers at the conference was the honesty that he showed. Rather than telling everyone that everything is fine and organised and glossing greatly over any potential cracks – as we are used to with high-end politicians – he candidly revealed the pressing matters that he and his team are hoping to iron out, including how on earth we can accomodate the extra traffic in London during the Games. He’s sharing the process and the concerns with the country, and that’s something I’m sure most of us will appreciate.
Inadvertently, China have dealt the London Games a blow – their exceptionally organised way and willingness to spend as much money as needed have left the London Olympic committee green with envy. London will have to run like clockwork just to avoid any poor comparisons with China’s immense efforts…

Boris’s first 100 days

10 Aug
August 10, 2008

Dire days were expected when Boris came to be Mayor of London. “A dodgy campaign”, said many. “A fool who’s swindled the public”, warned others. My good friend Mark was even interested to see whether London’s transport system would still be functioning on the Monday after the result. But, as Andrew Gimson notes in The Telegraph this weekend, Boris’s foes must be severely disappointed.
Boriswatch, in all fairness, was hopeful but apprehensive. Boris’s two main personality prongs have always battled to gain control of the Boris bandwagon – the cheery, jovial wit who could charm the world but struggled to be taken seriously; and the intensely clever figure whose intellect had continually pushed him up the greasy political pole. Which would win?
Well, it sames that the intellect has won, which is great for Boris’s profile but does provide a little less column inches (don’t suppose you’ve noticed? Ed)
I had the privilege to visit City Hall a couple of months ago for a look around his office and a hearty discussion on Boris-based online adventures. His team were excited, enthusiastic and looking forward to the task ahead. They were, to put it sympathetically, sweeping out the cobwebs of the organically grown City Hall that existed under Ken Livingstone. There were departments doing virtually identical things. There was a culture of late arrivals and early departures in the working day. And there were many people who were firm Ken supporters, mainly because Ken gave them a job. This is all being spruced up, and City Hall will be much better value for money for Londoners. Londoners themselves, at least those who weren’t firm supporters before, seem to have warmed to the new administration too.
As the Telegraph’s article concludes, for a man who less than four years ago was sacked from his shadow front-bench post by the then Tory leader, it is a pretty astonishing comeback. Ken, it is whispered in Hall corridors, is certain to want to plan his own comeback in 4 years. Has the last 100 days changed his mind, do you think?

Boris quashes rumours, says goodbye to Henley

14 May
May 14, 2008

Boris has answered the growing question of when or even if he would relinquish his seat at Henley. He has written a letter to the local newspaper saying goodbye to the constituents.
Here is the text:

Dear all, — When I set out on my mission to unseat Ken Livingstone more than nine months ago, there were all kinds of risks.
There was a considerable risk that I would be thrashed by the Great Newt.
And then there was a risk that I would win ­— and therefore lose Henley, just about the loveliest seat in the House of Commons.
At the time, I have to admit, it seemed a pretty small risk. London has 74 parliamentary seats, of which only 19 are in Conservative hands.
Were the people of London really going to go for a Conservative mayor?
Well, they have. I am writing this from ex-Mayor Livingstone’s eyrie in City Hall, and it is time for Henley to find itself a new MP.
It will be a huge wrench for me. I want to thank you all for putting up with me for what has been the seven happiest and most productive years of my professional life.
I think we got some good things done. We have removed the threat to Townlands, the Chilterns Resource Centre is thriving. I can think of at least one local pub that might have gone under had it not been for our campaign.
Even in South Oxfordshire there are people who are in desperate need and who find it difficult to cope with the cost of housing. It was a privilege to help.
Above all, I really did enjoy my surgery. In about 25 per cent of cases I found that we really could make a difference to someone’s life — and sometimes a very big difference. I think that was pretty good going.
In fact, the more I think of it, the more jealous I am of the brilliant new MP you will shortly discover. He or she will inherit the second most heavily wooded constituency in England (fact) and far and away the most attractive.
He or she will represent a town with the second oldest theatre outside London, a distinguished museum, a book festival, and the world’s most glorious annual celebration of pointless aquatic exertion!
He or she will also have the joy of some of the nicest and kindest constituents you could hope to meet — as well as some of the most eccentric. So thanks for having me, folks.
And especial thanks to those doughty few who came to campaign in London over the last few weeks — no doubt at least partly motivated by the hope of getting rid of me!

With best wishes,


Boris – what the Sunday papers are saying…

04 May
May 4, 2008

Now that Boris is top of the political agenda for journalists of all persuasions, Boriswatch takes a look at what the broadsheets are saying about the new Mayor of London.

Tory paper, the Sunday Telegraph, disscusses (predictably) the wider implications of Boris taking London in terms of national politics. The article quote Boris hinting that tackling crime on public transport will be his number one priority. Bozza’s exact words were “I’ve been elected on a clear manifesto to clear up crime, particularly on the places for which the Mayor is directly responsible, on public transport.” Plans apparently include stopping people drinking cans of Stella (and I’m a regular offender here – so I’ll stop doing it immediately Boris – I promise) on the Underground and putting PCSO’s on tubes.

In the Labour-leaning Obersver, Jo Revill, talks of Bozza’s first 100 days as being a “baptism of fire” and speculates that Boris is consulting Bob Diamond, of Barclays Capital, to head up a new ‘Mayor’s Fund for London’ to spend on community projects. Watch those bankers now Boris, don’t let them palm off any of those dodgy American mortgages on you!

Simon Jenkins devotes his Sunday Times column to matters Boris, pointing out that Blair made the job ‘Livingstone-proof’ – keeping central government control over a number of areas that are of interest to Londoners and the incoming Mayor. Will Jacqui Smith clash with Bozza over his plans to tackle crime in London? Police throughout the UK work in accordance with Home Office policy such as the National Intelligence Model. Boris will need to get Police Chiefs on side if he is to make the Met prioritize on the delivery of his manifesto pledges. Will he have what it takes?

Finally, John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday, takes a slightly comical look at what a defeated David Cameron might be saying in 2012. “It was all Boris’s fault” he quotes an imaginary Dave C as saying to his missus. It’s all a bit of a wet dream if you ask me, but amusing all the same.

Happy Boriswatching!

Boris and Ken slip out the back…

03 May
May 3, 2008

Having spent all evening Boriswatching down outside City Hall it must be said the immediate aftermath of the election was a bit of an anticlimax – despite the absolutely splendid result.

By midnight a few hundred or so people lined the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of their candidate. Whist Paddick and Berry left via the front door, at just after one in the morning the police informed the crowd that Boris and Ken had left the building.

Perhaps it was the loud baying mob of creatures wearing BNP rosettes that put them off, perhaps they were in a hurry to catch last orders or perhaps the final stage of the handover consisted of Ken showing Boris his secret escape hatch or underground whisky store. Who knows for sure, however the next few months should prove to be an orgy of interest for Boriswatchers.


02 May
May 2, 2008

He’s done it! Undercover word has reached us (7pm) that Boris has won the race to be Mayor of London, scoring a commanding lead over his rival Ken Livingstone. It will be confirmed soon.
This is a new golden era for Boriswatchers everywhere. He has attained one of the highest political positions in the country, and is the powerful Conservative politician in the land.  I’ve been privy to the many, many messages of support coming into Boris over the last few weeks, and it’s clear that many people – even in other countries – will be ecstatic.
I’m off to crack open some much-needed bubbly and celebrate this momentous day. Cheers, Boriswatchers!

Celebrate with a Boris t-shirt!

UPDATE 8.30pm: The Evening Standard, Sky News and The Telegraph have now called it for Boris!

Here is David Cameron’s response to the election of Mayor Boris:

Mayor Boris – Has he done it?!

02 May
May 2, 2008

Can we dare to break out the champagne, ladies and gentlefolk? Should we uncross our fingers yet? Boriswatch noticed that the commentators on the BBC election coverage last night were talking as if Boris had won – and it seems that some commentators and bookies have decided the outcome already. AND IT’S A GREAT ONE!
With 40% of votes counted in each of the 14 electoral areas, Mr Johnson has the lead in 9 while Labour’s Ken Livingstone is ahead in five. Here is some of the latest chatter:

UPDATE: Follow ConservativeHome’s Boris-leaning live blogging of the results, or their interactive chatroom. Visit Ken-leaning live blogging at The Guardian.

PoliticalBetting: PaddyPower Pays out on Boris

DemocracyForum: Livingstone has Lost, says Portillo

48News: Boris “ahead in mayoral race”

Kevin Maguire: Mayor Johnson?

Independent – Waiting Game

Telegraph: It all points to a Boris Johnson win

Telagraph: Boris Johnson poised to become Mayor

5 reasons to vote Boris for Mayor of London

25 Apr
April 25, 2008

Boris SeriousHere, Boriswatch presents 5 reasons why people should vote for Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.
1. Boris doesn’t need the job.
Eh? Alright, I’ll explain. What does the Mayoral race give Boris that he doesn’t already have? Money? Nope – before his decision to stand, he enjoyed huge earnings (at least £500,000 last year, most of which he’ll have to give up should he win). Fame? Nope – Boris is one of the only politicians known by their first name, and who is the most easily recognised politican in the UK. Popularity? Nope – Boris has consistently been the most popular politician over the last 10 years.
The only thing Boris is fighting for is the opportunity to enhance London. He knows what needs to be done, and he’s hoping that Londoners give him that chance. He doesn’t need the Mayoral post – but he eagerly wants to help.
On the flipside, Ken has frequently said that defeat will mean the end of his career – and thereby he slips in a more mercenary reason for keeping his job.

2. Boris speaks his mind.
Politicians have a slimy persona in public life. They are renowned for smoke and mirrors; for squirming out of touchy topics, for saving their careers but eroding the main arguments of the day. Boris is the only one – literally – that is known for raising above that messy quagmire of claim and counter-claim. If he has feelings on a topic, he will say them and debate them. He stands by his convictions. Whenever I discuss him with friends and colleagues, people can see a reassuring breath of fresh air about him. And, even if some people disagree with some of his views, isn’t that better than not knowing whether they’re being taken for a ride?

3. A new Mayor brings new ideas.
Ken is getting past it. Sure, he has had ideas and implemented them – but he’s now played all his cards, scrapped the barrel and the ideas have been found wanting. The Congestion Charge had a marked effect when it was introduced – but 50% of the revenue goes into running the system, and the traffic is now almost as bad as before the charge, and getting worse. The Greater London Assembly have spent millions of London money on over 300 foreign trips in polluting aeroplanes, but Ken still tries to cosy up to the Green Party’s Sian Berry for a few extra votes.

4. He’s proving he’s not a buffoon…
… and surprising the lot of us. The one big, easy accusation from Boris’s opponents is that he is a clown who can’t run a whelk stall. Boris, to be fair, has played up to that in recent years – but he has shed that exterior, exposing the high intellect and common touch that was always lurking within. He’s been described by The Guardian as “one of the shrewdest financial minds in Westminster.” There’s very little joking around, although we all know there’s a moment of mirth never far from his lips. Many believe that the campaign masterminds have not so much banished Boris’s outer clown as coaxed out the big Bozza’s inner self.

5. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Nobody now underestimates Boris Johnson. Ken, in fact, never did. But if you’ve reached this far in the post and still see Boris as a figure of fun in a stall full of whelks, then I can do little more for you. If you can’t see the benefits of Mayor Boris and still think he’s a buffoon, then you are entitled to your view.
Your decision, in that case, boils down to this. Who would you prefer to run one of the largest cities in the world – a clown who thinks he’s an intellectual, or an intellectual that thinks he’s a clown?

As The Telegraph says, For All Our Sakes, Boris Must Win. As The Sun says, we all must Back Boris. He’s a charmer who must win, says the Evening Standard. Do your bit, Londoners – imagine the possibilities!

Has Boris Johnson turned serious at last?

14 Apr
April 14, 2008

Has Boris Johnson turned serious at last? asks The Telegraph, in an article that neatly responds to our recent “Boring Boris” post. It’s an excellent piece, full of amusing anecdotes and witty repartee, both of which we’re currently missing from Boris.
It also contains an excellent quote from Andrew Gimson, who authored The Rise of Boris and seems to have taken over the Chief Boris Commenter title from Boriswatch recently. “Boris, ” he says, “has always been a man of indefatigable ambition, who pursues the glittering prizes with unfailing energy. He is one of the most competitive people I have ever met. He is serious about becoming mayor and if elected he will be serious about making a success of being mayor. We should not allow the plain fact that he is also serious about cracking jokes to distract us from these truths.”