Boris Johnson has just reminded us how potent he can be at undermining the government right here, right now.
At a press conference today on the Olympic legacy, the Mayor of London said:
‘The government totally understands people’s appetite for this: they can see the benefits of sport and what it does for young people. They understand very, very clearly the social and economic advantages. I would like to see, frankly, the kind of regime I used to enjoy – compulsory two hours’ sport every day.’
And there we have it. Boris deploys his old trick of appearing to flatter the government while also managing to brief against it. It was only yesterday that the Prime Minister was defending the decision to scrap the two hours a week target, yet Boris has managed to up the target that he’d like to a whopping two hours a day. I’ve just spoken to Eton, who confirmed that their boys do indeed play that much sport each day. What the teaching unions won’t like, though, is that much of it is after lessons finish, particularly in the summer, when cricket goes on into the evening.
Boris is not dissimilar to the character of Rebecca in Bridget Jones. This is how she’s described:
Being with Rebecca is like swimming in holiday sea full of jellyfish: one minute all lovely, next minute lashed as if from nowhere, then next minute all as if nothing has happened again. Sometimes you don’t even know you have been stung until after the evening has ended, when you remember her saying, eg “Are you younger than Shazzer? Oh nothing, no. I just always thought you were three or four years older. That’s all.”
The Mayor carried out the same jellyfish attacks on issues including the housing benefit cuts. Today’s attack was so obviously a sting on David Cameron, and is another sign of the Mayor’s desire to stay on the right side of public opinion when every couch potato in the country is rekindling their great love of sport. It was obvious why he needed to do this in the run-up to his re-election to City Hall: a Tory candidate too closely associated with the cuts would have struggled. But that he’s continuing to seek distance from Cameron suggests this jellyfish has his eyes set on some other, bigger prey.Tags: Boris Johnson, Conservatives, Sport, UK politics