Tuesday 4 November 2008

Six months of Boris ... or how to sound progressive without having to do anything

Doesn't time fly by, especially when we are all distracted by events across the Atlantic. But Tony Travers marks Wednesday's six month anniversary of the London Mayoral election with a Guardian column.

I was interested to see that Travers flags up three issues which, writing back in week one for the New Statesman, I suspected might well prove the case:
(1) that, despite his competence issues, Boris would benefit more from being misunderestimated by his opponents,
(2) that his political rhetoric would lean leftwards, and
(3) that he wants to be PM.

But let's not get too carried away with this "leaning centre-left" business.

This is good political strategy. I think it is partly that the right has lost the courage of its own convictions; partly too that the campaign in particular was something of a political education for BoJo in the some of the realities of London, notably on inequality.

But have you noticed one thing about Johnson's penchant for counter-intuitive progressive rhetoric -like backing an amnesty for irregular workers, chuntering on about Keynesian stimulus in economic policy, or endorsing Barack Obama for the US Presidency?

BoJo is always keen to strike a progressive pose and demonstrate his independence for party HQ all right - and most especially of all if you can find him an issue which, substantively, has nothing to do with the Mayor at all.

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