Coffee House

Boris puts the bubbles back into his campaign champagne

1 August 2012

7:39 PM

1 August 2012

7:39 PM

After Boris’s re-election as London mayor, his departing aide Guto Harri complained that the dry but effective campaign had rather taken the ‘bubbles out of the champagne’. Well, the Olympics is certainly putting them back in. Boris keeps taking opportunities that no other politician would dare to—the zip wire ride today being the latest, and most dramatic, example.

The question is where does all this end, is it all just Olympics hi-jinks that will be forgotten when the flame leaves Stratford or is it just the next stage of the Boris for PM campaign? In my column in the magazine tomorrow, I say that it does seem to be more the latter than the former. Certainly, the attitude of Tory MPs to the thought of Boris as PM seems to be changing. A year or so, the idea was dismissed as a joke. But now a growing number of MPs and, as Ben Brogan reports, donors and other influential types are beginning to wonder if he might not be the political Viagra the party needs to get to 40 per cent in the polls.


Now, this might all seem very silly season come February. Certainly, there are massive logistical obstacles to any Boris bid; he has to get back into parliament for one thing and there’s the fact he has promised to serve a full term as mayor. Also, all this Boris talk will die down rapidly if Cameron’s fortunes begin to improve.

But it does tell us something. Parties tend to choose leaders who are a contrast to the person they’re replacing and that the cautious discipline of the Cameron, the Tories are likely to want something different. Now, the moment when the Tories come to replace Cameron could still be half a dozen years away, those close to him have always expected that he’ll stand down in 2018. But when it does come, Boris is sure to, somehow, be in the frame.

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Show comments
  • Liz Palmer

    In any party if through without champagne it shouldn’t be fulfill. There are many kinds of champagne for party. A party with champagne is bring some joy.

  • an ex-tory voter

    “if Cameron’s fortunes improve” Ha bloody ha!
    David Cameron is the victim of his own lack of conviction, his lack of resolve and his inablilty to lead anything other than the continued decline of the nation’s fortunes.

    Cameron’s political fortunes are not going to improve anytime and neither will the fortunes of the country, or the Conservative Party while this “sham conservative” remains leader and Prime Minister.

  • Vulture

    If those close to Cameron have really told him that he’ll last to 2018 this would explain a lot.

    In the Downing St bunker they whisper into his ears as he snaps the pencils and lifts a trembling hand to his chin. ‘Don’t worry mein Fuhrer! The secret weapons are almost ready. The enemy will be turned back at the gates of the city. Boris Borisovitch has been shot! You will be the leader until 2018 at least, mein Fuhrer.’

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Reality… the party is 10% behind in the polls, 150,000 members have quit and the economy is heading south in a turbo-propelled tank.

  • Adrian Drummond

    It is remarkable just how many people underestimate Johnson. The BBC, huge numbers of blog commentators/trolls … cannot see – or do not wish to see – that behind the facade (which i suspect is quite genuine or is a natural part of his persona) lurks a razor sharp mind of intense ability. For those people who get it, it is great fun to watch and admire. For those that don’t, just keep trolling…

  • TomTom

    Well at least Boris had his education paid for by the EU Commission…….and he is an ardent self-promoter subsidised by a £250,000 pa newspaper column – so he does have sponsors and accompanies them to the Olympics rather than the rest of London enjoying a rest from ringing tills

  • ButcombeMan

    The Conservative Party surely ought to choose as leader -a Conservative? The main reasons Cameron is slipping in the eyes of the core vote is that by that vote at least, he is seen as anything but. They have seen through the spin and the shine.

    Europe is a joke he seems to be in love with. His tinkering with re-defining marriage, his personal commitment to that, irrespective of the views of the electorate, have finished him.

    I have not even started on the sheer incompetence of his mate Osborne who he will doubtless keep in position

    The Cameron/Osborne duopoly has a competence issue.

    Done for-sadly. Both of them.

    • Matthew Whitehouse

      The only Real way to define a Government is to see them in action in a majority Gvnmt. I think the Government is no where near it’s core values of conservatism. They have diluted far too much being part of this coalition. We have to vote them in Maj. Gvnmt in 2015 on a clear mandate to sort out EU within that parliament.

  • David Lindsay

    The Spectator’s last endorsement for Leader of a Party was David Cameron.

  • james102

    That Mr. Johnson can be considered a serious candidate for
    leader of the Conservative party, let alone prime Minister of the UK ,is a
    dreadful condemnation of the standard of our political class.

    Maybe it is because we have a political class that the
    standard has dropped so low.

  • ScaryBiscuits

    Cameron stand down in 2018? He hasn’t got a cat’s chance in Hell of lasting that long. There’s the small matter of an election in 2015 for a start and if MPs have any sense of self-preservation they won’t want to be led by a loser.

    I think Forsyth is becomming a young version of Bruce Anderson: blind loyalty to the end. At least it gets you easy stories, I suppose.

    • AnotherDaveB

      If UKIP beat the Conservatives in the EU Parliament elections in 2014 it should shake things up. 🙂

  • Noa

    “..the moment when the Tories come to replace Cameron could still be half a dozen years away..”
    It will be by 2015, at the latest.
    Having led the Tory party to its greatest defeat since…er..the last greatest defeat, wee slekit Dave will be sliding out the door to catch the Eurostar to Brussels, and Boris…?
    Well, a demoralised opposition will be looking for a leader of a rather different mettle than the blond buffoon from planet Viagra.
    Someone who means what he says and will do it.
    Like Nigel Farage, methnks.

    • tele_machus

      Farage is a Joke-like Jim Jeffries
      If you do not believe this type muslims and beer & Jeffries into you tube

      • james102

        The Joke Strategy was very successful when used against john
        Major by Jan Hoch’s bitch and still seems to be the preferred one against UKIP.

    • George_Arseborne

      “Now, the moment when the Tories come to replace Cameron could still be half a dozen years away, those close to him have always expected that he’ll stand down in 2018.”

      Mr. Forsyth, I hope this half a dozen years is calculated as thus:

      In the next 2years 7months as PM ( Thanks to fix term Parliament and the Country is not eager to go to polls since he`s fate is known by 2015)

      The remaining 3years as Conservative Leader as Her Majesty opposition. Good luck to the Tories for standing by their Leader and Good Luck to the Nation that the Tories will be kept distance away from power.

      Please stick to him for that Long and the Nation will be safe

  • Nicholas

    But what does he actually stand for?

    • james102

      When you have been told, all your life, you are the cleverest
      wittiest person ever you don’t need to stand for anything.

    • tele_machus

      Cameron or Farage?

      • james102

        Hannan, Redwood or a serious politician?

  • alexsandr

    why cant boris be mayor and an MP. Esp if he is parachuted into a London seat

    • james102

      And be lifetime Chairman of Have I Got News For You and edit
      the Spectator and teach the poor Latin…

  • John_Page

    “cautious discipline”? you mean directionless funk.

  • Alan Eastwood

    Goodness me, Mr Forsyth talking of a replacement to Cameron. Surely Osborne wouldn’t want that, would he?