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.