Daily Archives: May 3, 2008

A coronation and a kingmaker

Have Londoners elected a joke? Or can the exuberant upper-class twit mature, like Prince Hal[1], into a great leader?

My guess is that he can and will, FSVO great leader. But that may not really matter very much: all he really has to do is make the right noises. Beyond that, he’ll get a “media honeymoon” from those whose agenda for the past eight years has been anti-Ken. I think he’s smart enough not to reverse the core good things Ken has done to make London a more pleasant place than in my youth, and Boris’s own agenda is going to make fewer enemies. And he’s got off to a good start, with a generous tribute to his predecessor!

His office is one where character and personality matter, and appear less damaging than in a national leader, not least because he (unlike The Liar et al) is elected to his office by the people he represents. Boris, like Ken, is not lacking in individuality. Even if he goes off and plays fantasy games with his office as The Liar did (and there’s no suggestion that he will), he won’t drag an entire government with him, so potential damage is limited.

Perhaps the biggest winner from this is David Cameron. If one exuberant fortysomething toff can prove himself in office, that’ll (rightly or wrongly) help dispel doubts about the other. The timing is brilliant for him: Boris has his honeymoon just coming, and won’t have much time to tarnish before the next general election.

[1] As in Shakespeare’s portrayal – which is where my knowledge of the relevant history comes from[2].

[2] See the section “Lettice and Lovage” in this page.