Cornered about his old campaign manager, Boris recounted Lynton Crosby’s advice to stop talking about airports earlier:
In an interview about airports, naturally.
As Guido’s Sun column revealed yesterday, the mop-topped Mayor of London is going bald. Brand Boris is reliant on his giant blond bouffant, yet his appearance on last week’s Question Time revealed a growing bald patch at the back and a deliberate effort to comb his locks forward. It was all a bit Donald Trump:
The age old rule in British politics is that bald men in the television age do not beat rivals with a full head of hair. Think Tony Blair versus William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, nor can we forget Maggie versus Kinnock, in every election the slap-head loses. Could Boris be a modern day version of Samson? Better get shift that leadership campaign up a gear…
In his continued quest to be all things to all people, the Mayor has come out the side of the crooked in the Standard:
“What I feel … this is going to get me into trouble, but I do feel a certain amount of sympathy with all these poor MPs who end up thinking they are having some jovial lunch in which they are hysterically exaggerating their ability to do things. As if an MP would tell you whether he is actually any use or knows anyone or if there is any point in his existence, honestly.”
He also dealt with a little person-al matter at his 2020 Vision launch earlier. In his own special way. Discussing the fact that London’s population has risen by at least 380,000 since he took over, the Mayor added “no thanks to me”.
He also quipped that he would not be the one to cut the ribbon on Crossrail 2 as Mayor, “or anything else”.
Cue hilarity in the room…
Quotes via Pippa Crearer
Andy Coulson has surfaced for the first time since his Downing Street walk out in 2011 to dispense some pearls of wisdom for those he left behind. Writing for July’s GQ, he gives “his ten-point masterplan for saving David Cameron and stopping Labour in 2015”. And he sticks it to Boris too. Guido is sure the advice will be welcomed with open arms…
Despite awaiting his September trial, Coulson has clearly been keeping one eye on the ball:
“The prime minister must push [Miliband] to take positions: expose his strategy (to keep his head down, silently hope that the economy continues to go wonky and, well, just be the other guy), challenge him to take a view on the tricky issues opposition politicians love to duck….I’m struck by how detached the opposition front bench appears to be from their leader…I just don’t think they rate him very much. And if they don’t there’s a good chance the public will feel the same way once they get to know him properly.”
He’s even got even stronger words for Balls:
“The prime minister should pray Ed Balls remains shadow chancellor until the election…Appointing him as George’s opposite number was the Miliband gift that will keep on giving… The Tories must look for the divisions and make the most of them a) because they are most certainly real – always a plus – and b) because it’s history repeating itself. We are in this hole at least in part because of the shamefully dysfunctional Blair/Brown relationship. Labour’s Two Eds dislike each other and each thinks he is smarter than the other. The Conservatives should imagine in some detail how it would work if they actually won…and share that vision with the British public.”
Other than what might come out at the Brooks and Coulson trial, the Tories other favourite topic of parlour conversation is Boris, and Coulson does not disappoint there either. The Mayor’s card is marked, it seems. Coulson reckons Boris wants the job but won’t tarnish the brand by moving against the PM.
“Number Ten’s Boris strategy should be simple. Support his good ideas, advise privately on the bad ones, but only engage publicly if absolutely necessary – and celebrate Boris’ considerable successes. Boris Johnson desperately wants to be prime minister and David has known that fact longer than most. When Boris asked me to pass on the message that he was keen to stand as mayor of London, David responded, “Well, if he wins, he’ll want my job next.” If proof were needed that our PM is a man untroubled by self doubt, it came in his next sentence, “So I think he’ll be a bloody brilliant candidate for us”… Stabbing David, or anyone else for that matter, in the back would be distinctly off brand – just not very Boris. He would much prefer to see David fail miserably in the election and ride in on his bike to save party and country.”
A little revenge, perhaps, for Boris saying at the height of the phone-hacking scandal that he had warned Dave and George off hiring the former Screws editor. You have to wonder what might be in that diary…
This paragraph from an online case report contains a striking miss by the person whose job it was to anonymise the Court of Appeal’s recent judgement regarding the paternity of a child born out of wedlock to someone “in high public office”:
54. The “fade factor” relied on by Mr Price carries little weight in this case. First, much that has been published by the media in relation to the claimant’s paternity remains available online. It is also included in Just Boris, a book written by Sonia Purnell.
“There’s a man called Ken Livingstone, I think he has something to do with London. You must get rid of him.”
Dodgy Darius Guppy, last heard asking Boris for the address of a Screws hack he wanted to give a bit of a kicking, has let rip at Eddie Mair in a great scoop for the Speccie this afternoon:
“And then Mr Mair attacks the Mayor of London for agreeing, when in his mid twenties, to supply a friend – me – with the address of a News of the World journalist so that the journalist in question can be given the hiding which most of us secretly admit such people deserve. Tell me, Mr Mair, if a piece of tabloid scum wished to smear members of your family, what would you do? Cry? Report him to the Press Complaints Commission? As we all know, Mr Johnson never provided me with any address and it is perfectly clear from the tape recording in question that he was simply placating a friend he considered to be letting off steam. But while this may rightly exonerate the Mayor of London, my own line has always been somewhat different – and consistent: my only regret being that I was never able to finish the job.”
He seems pretty angry still, and has some harsh words for the his old chum:
“The jokes and fun were all very well but the Boris Johnson I knew liked ideas and ideas are what we need now, more than at any time since World War II. The rest of the now prominent nonentities among our contemporaries – the politicians in particular – were simply incapable of ‘big’ or new ideas to an extent which, as a widely-travelled man, I have seen in no other society. It is upon ideas therefore that I suggest he focus, not on an office to which no honour attaches nor any real power. So too he must cherish the mother of his children and the family God has given to him. A career has been made by pretending that Ian Hislop is actually funny and a general dumbing down.”
Just what the Mayor needs to make this story go away.
So Eddie Izzard has finally gone on the record with what he has been telling people for yonks: that he wants to be the Labour Mayor of London. Guido reported this nearly a year ago. The transvestite comedian hardly has a good track record when it comes to campaign though. Recently his friends expressed an interest in Hampstead, before he was promptly stopped in his tracks by an All Woman Shortlist. Not even his skirt could get round that.
Izzard played a key role in helping the yes team lose the AV referendum, having previously campaigned for Britain to join the Euro, and was just about the only celebrity to enthusiastically back Gordon Brown in 2010. He also stumped with Ken last year, putting the final nail in the coffin of that campaign. His Mayoral rivals like Seb Coe, David Lammy and Sadiq Khan should not be too worried.
Boris has tried the political equivalent of getting his dad over when the other boys in the playground are being mean to him. Stanley Johnson has let rip with Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning:
“I thought Eddie Mair’s interview was about the most disgusting piece of journalism I’ve listened to for a very long time. The BBC sank about as low as it could. If grilling people about their private lives, accusing them of guilt by association and openly abusing them is a legitimate interview, then frankly, I don’t know where we are coming. On the one point, which he started off with, the quote. Well I know about that quote. This was Boris, twenty-five years ago, thirty years ago, ringing up his godfather who was a historian and he got it wrong. He got what the godfather had said wrong and later on, those things happened as a result of that. But good heavens, if that’s the worst you can do, is dig up something thirty years ago. Most journalists I know make up quotes all the time and I don’t think they don’t go down the drain for it.”
Mair’s line of questioning was pretty fair, even if it was all old news. Boris could have dealt with it with minimum fuss by saying all this information was in the public domain when the people of London returned him as Mayor. His line to the Sun this morning was much more like it: “Fair play to Eddie Mair, he landed a good one. If the BBC can’t bash Tory politicians then what is the point of the BBC?” A bad day out which his dad is just making worse…
You would have thought bicycling Tories would have learned their lesson about shouty x-rated rants in public. Boris has been accused of swearing at workers on a building site in south London. Unlike Thrasher, BoJo had his excuse sorted immediately. Apparently he took a wrong turn on his bike, ended up on a building site and was left “cursing his own stupidity”. Of course he was…
A LibDem, Labour and Green attempt to wreck Boris’ budget, kicking him out of the Assembly meeting as part of the stitch up.
Vid via ITV.
Guido noted yesterday that the Tories clearly don’t have much hope of their staff getting dates tonight and are throwing a collective bash for parliamentary researchers and secretaries, but now it seems their most high-profile ladies man is also fancy free tonight. Instead of roses and candles, tonight Boris will be leading a tele-canvassing session for the Eastleigh by-election from CCHQ. Girls in pearls have been warned via a party email to get there early “to ensure you don’t miss the great man.”
Form a queue…
Douglas Alexander has surfaced for his annual pre-conference toe dip into the media. Last year he went after Ed Miliband, this year he’s said what every Labour supporter with a brain knows full well:
“Ken’s campaign too often looked like the past rather than the future. And when I saw his remarks about the Jewish community in London in particular, I didn’t just think it was ill advised, I just thought it was wrong. It’s not our politics to try and divide voters into blocks. The success of the Olympics reminds us that London’s greatness and Britain’s greatness is when we come together. And I think he paid a deserved price for some of the errors that he made.”
Nice of him to speak out at the time…
UPDATE: Needless to say Ken’s accomplices in his deceitful campaign are gutted:
UPDATE II: Ken hits back:
Two old friends were reunited at the Paralympics closing ceremony last night…
There was always going to be kickback after Boris’ cold and calculated intervention to cock-up Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle day by coming down on Justine Greening’s side. Something she will remember in years to come. The faux Olympic camaraderie is long gone this morning, with a No.10 source telling the FT:
“We will see what happens the next time he comes around with the begging bowl…He might need us one day.”
Boris is not the type to appreciate being put back in his box…