Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Holding on to Boris

The Independent is rather enjoying itself retailing the latest gaffe from the gaff-prone Boris Johnson. Describing him as "the good time politician with the amiable air of a man who never cracks under pressure", the paper joyously tells us that the man completely lost it yesterday.

After months of stressful campaigning in the run up to May's London mayoral election, he finally let his rival, Ken Livingstone get under his skin. In a crowded lift, in front of three witnesses, the Mayor met the ex-Mayor in a nose to nose confrontation, and called him a "fucking liar" three times over. He was, reputedly, red with rage.

This though, we are led to believe from other sources, is more representative of the real Boris, whose hail-fellow-well-met demeanour is reserved mostly for public appearances and broadcasts.

However, the effluent Boris is not likely to damage his electoral prospects greatly, as the alternative, Ken Livingstone, is even worse – both as a human being and a politician. Voters, therefore, are likely to be holding on to Boris for fear of something worse.

But what an indictment this is of our politicians and our electoral system in general, when the vote goes not to the preferred choice but the one who is least detestable. So often though, that is precisely the choice confronting the electorate … and they have the nerve to call this democracy.