By Andrew Gimson
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Before I could put a single question to Boris Johnson, he launched into an ebullient account of the political situation: “We are now neck and neck with Labour with 18 months to go. The economy turning round. Ship off the rocks.”
The Mayor of London’s favourite new metaphor is the Costa Concordia. It possesses the Johnsonian characteristics of being dramatic, popular, original, amusing and in questionable taste. A more pedantic objection occurred to me: “It’s a powerful image but the ship isn’t actually moving.”
Johnson admitted that when the new metaphor was launched by him in a speech to the Institute of Directors, it attracted a certain amount of criticism: “My Costa Concordia point didn’t go down well with everyone.”
But he was not prepared to abandon the image just because a few rather touchy people claimed to be offended. That if anything made the metaphor more attractive to him.
Half-way through the interview, while explaining how to get people to vote Conservative, he reverted to it: “I think in the end, I think my Costa Concordia point was good. They [the voters] will not want to have the same people back on the bridge who ran the boat aground.”
To liken the Labour leadership to an Italian captain who steered onto the the rocks, abandoned ship and left 32 of his passengers to perish is unkind. But Johnson is clearly itching to tell the British people that to put Labour back in charge would be madness.