Boris Johnson’s application for London Mayor was leaked to the Telegraph. Whilst I do not condone a leak that can undermine the process, since it is now in the public domain, it is worth seeing how it illustrates what Boris might bring to the role.
We all know the clown role that he plays on “Have I Got News For You.” This is shown in his examples of challenges faced:-
1. Trying to help raise 4 children in inner London. Outcome too early to call, but looking promising.
2. Taking on Blair and Campbell in the battle of Black Rod’s Memorandum on the Queen Mother’s lying-in-state. Outcome: Total victory.
3. Negotiating Hyde Park Corner by bicycle. Outcome: survival.
But this image belies a razor sharp brain and a way with words that makes his Thursday Telegraph column compulsive reading. This is his view of the top challenges faced by London:-
“As a cyclist, I am daily exposed to the beauty and magic of London – but also the daily frustrations that erode the quality of our lives. I see the yellow billboards sprouting in the streets, pleading for information about the latest stabbing, reminding Londoners that street crime is worse here than New York. I see the hollow-eyed look of people emerging from the Tube after another miserable experience and the rage on the faces of drivers stuck behind a bendy-bus. I move in a trice from the stuccoed villas of the mega-rich to area of real poverty and deprivation, and I see families stuck in grossly overcrowded flats with no hope of a way out. The big challenges facing London are crime, transport and housing, and I will deal with them by keeping the Mayor’s government simple, recruiting the ablest people across London – of whatever political affiliation – to formulate new policies for the core problems that affect our everyday lives.”
Now I would have punctuated it somewhat better and divided it into paragraphs (that’s what comes of having a Telegraph sub-editor to rely on), but as for content, I think it is as good a precis of London in 2007 as I have seen.