It was worrying that Stanley Johnson revealed that Boris had agreed to stop drinking for the duration of the mayoral campaign. This may well make him what doctors call a sick quitter. (Full details of sick quitters in Boris : the Boozer, the Fool and the Archbishop of Montevideo.) Orders from George Osbourne to reduce the risk of gaffes or a personal decision? Who knows? Either way, this behaviour suggests there may be an underlying problem. Boris is now off the wagon. How soon before the gaffes start?
There was one of those silly five-minute fillers on Any Questions last night. Peter Hall was on the panel and the question was, “Which Shakespearian characters most resemble Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson?” My answer for Ken Livingstone was immediate. He is Iago. Honest Iago. It was gratifying that Peter Hall made the same suggestion. I found I had to give more thought to casting Boris. Peter Hall’s suggestion was Sir Andrew Aguecheek. I think we can do better. I would cast Boris as the Fool in King Lear. Lovers of King Lear are not deceived by the Fool’s antics. Full of wit and insight, he is the most intellectually talented character in the play. Boris Johnson may well be the most intellectually talented member of the Conservative hierarchy. Whether or not you agree with that, he is now without doubt the most powerful Conservative in the country. He is David Cameron’s Fool.
King Lear could not control his Fool. We shall see whether Cameron can control his.