The Associated Press story below is a pretty remarkable take on Boris's victory. It only touches on his time as MP for Henley, as a noted columnist, commentator and the editor of the Spectator, but spends line after line detailing his gaffes and controversial statements. Even the choice of quotes from Boris is telling, that the party has changed (presumably from unspecific bad old ways), and nothing else from his victory speech except about having a drink. I particularly like the speculation about how he will handle China based on some vague statement from the past.
This is the AP so the story will be picked up by papers across North America. Seems the anti-Conservative media bias is alive and well on the western side of the Atlantic as well.
Eccentric opposition lawmaker ousts Labour mayor of London
By David Stringer
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON An eccentric Conservative lawmaker with a knack for offensive remarks ousted the left-wing mayor of London on Friday in an upset that capped the governing Labour Party's worst local election showing in four decades.
Boris Johnson defeated Ken Livingstone in Labour's first test at the polls since then-prime minister Tony Blair last year handed the reins to Gordon Brown, who has since been dogged by accusations of indecision and incompetence.
Brown humbly pledged to heed the scathing verdict from voters, who voted for opposition candidates in more than 300 municipal council races.
Conservative leader David Cameron said his party's strong gains in the capital and in a longtime weak spot in northern England represented a key moment on the path to ousting Brown at the next national election, to be held before mid-2010.
Johnson, a former magazine editor, becomes the first Conservative to hold a high-profile national post since his party's overwhelming 1997 national election defeat by Labour, then led by Tony Blair.
``I do hope it shows that the Conservatives have changed into a party that can again be trusted,'' Johnson said, shortly after the result was announced.
Johnson offered lavish praise for his rivals and paid tribute to Livingstone's role in guiding London through the 2005 transit network bombings.
``Let's have a drink tonight, and let's get cracking tomorrow,'' Johnson told supporters, who cheered in delight.
Livingstone, a staunch leftist who courted Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and faced off with the U.S. Embassy for unpaid congestion charges, said the blame for his defeat must rest at his door, not Brown's.
Uncombed and often awkward, Johnson is known both his wit and for remarks that are have offended minority communities and others.
He called members of the Commonwealth ``piccaninnies'' a derogatory term for black people, referred to Africans as having ``watermelon smiles,'' and likened his party's internal conflicts ``to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing.''
Johnson's scorn has also been directed at gay marriage, which became legal in Britain in 2005.
In his book ``Friends, Voters, Countrymen,'' he said that if homosexuals could marry then why not ``three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.''
Ex-party leader Michael Howard ordered Johnson to visit the northern city of Liverpool in 2004 to apologize after he wrote an editorial accusing the city's people of ``wallowing'' in victimhood after Liverpudlian Ken Bigley, who had been taken hostage in Iraq, was beheaded.
Johnson has cultivated a befuddled, rumpled image and was often seen clumsily riding his bicycle to Parliament.
His campaign billboards featured silhouettes of his iconic poses, scratching his unruly thatch of blond hair, ambling along a road with hands stuffed in wrinkled pockets, gesticulating wildly to make a debating point.
His first key test is likely to hinge on how he handles relations with China. As mayor, he'll be expected to attend at least part of the Beijing Olympics and his party will hope he's able to avoid
offending the hosts.
``Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase,'' Johnson wrote in one of his several books on subjects ranging from sports cars to Ancient Rome.
Results from the 159 local councils which held ballots in England and Wales on Thursday showed the Conservatives gaining 260 seats with Labour losing 333. The Liberal Democrats gained 34 seats.
Most results were announced Friday, but a high turnout in London, where around 5.5 million cast ballots, meant the count there continued until early Saturday.