« Boris Johnson enjoys early poll lead | Main | New Nation is latest to join attack on "racist" Boris Johnson »


Chris King

I like Boris. My fear is at a time when Cameron needs to project a more serious tone, in the light of Brown, Boris might not be the right candidate – I hope I’m wrong.


Haha, is Red Ken seriously going to try to paint Boris as an extremist? That's the most ludicrous thing I've heard in a long time. As long as Boris cancels the absurd party Ken's planning in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Fidel "I killed four times as many times as General Pinochet" Castro's revolution, I don't care what else he does!

Peter Hatchet

"Boris Johnson as a "charming and engaging rogue" who makes Norman Tebbit "look like a cuddly liberal." "

He does no such thing.

This is a fashionable smear tactic often used by our opponents to paint our candidates as 'extreme'.

To suggest that Boris Johnson is more "illiberal" than Norman Tebbit is as ludicorous as it is rude. Not just to Boris either. I hardly think Norman Tebbit is the most illiberal politican going around either.

Boris has been a prominent supporter of No2ID and a leading critic of the governments steady erosion of our civil liberties. Even appearing on the blimmin' TV advert.

Livingstone should be ashamed of himself.

Roger Evans

If Livingstone is concerned that people aren't treating the Mayor's role seriously, he has only himself to blame. we've had seven years of promises casually made and casually broken (fare rises, £5 congestion charge, Routemaster buses etc...), insults carelessly tossed in all directions, dubious individuals and causes supported with public money. Boris is enough of an 'anti Ken' to win next year.


Bullingdon Club
Darius Guppy
Petronella Wyatt

What's next?

C List and Proud

I know this is Livingstone responding to the media calling him about Boris, but don't you think it is just a little bit suspicious that he is talking up how hard it will be to beat Boris?

There are few more wiley political operators than Ken. Surely he will talk up the opponent he believes to be the least threat come the actual election in the hope that we gullible tories will duly vote for that candidate, who he can then roundly trounce.

I'm a bit surprised he isn't telling us how he is quaking in his boots at the prospect of running against somebody with red hair lest he lose the minority vote!

london conservative

Ken Livingstone has form here. This is him talking up Jeffrey Archer in the Evening Stanard in 1999 before the first primary:

"A lot of Labour Party people think Jeffrey Archer is a joke, a walkover, that we could put up a pig that would beat him. You have got to be kidding. I have done endless debates with him and he is wholly plausible"

"Archer had been twice around the world before his rivals had even got their running shoes on."

london conservative

And, of course:

"Jeffrey Archer must have at least a 50-50 chance of winning - perhaps even more."

Angelo Basu

I've always found Archer to be loathsome but he has been inexplicably popular. I'm not sure that Ken was disingenuously talking him up but that rather that he may well have had sufficient popularity amongst the silent majority to have been a serious challenge to him had his dishonesty not caught up with him. Given that Archer managed to return to public life more quickly after his dishonour than say, Angus Deayton for much less serious misdemeanours by someone who was only the presenter of light entertainment it is a mistake to confuse his blatant general wrongness with an inability to win support from the public against all rationality.

While Boris superficially gives the air of buffoonery, his writing and thinking is much more intelligent. He has the capacity to chime with both those who are intelligent enough to read him and those who just think he's a jolly good wheeze.

Despite the many good characteristics of the other Tory candidates (and indeed their generally much greater executive experience and competence) none of them have a hope in hell of beating Ken. I'm sure that if someone else was selected as candidate other than BJ, Ken would not even waste his breath trying to say mean things about them because his re-election would be assured.

Tony Makara

The major difference between Boris and Red Ken is that Boris is a bone fide intellectual whereas Red Ken is a bone fide career-politician. Boris has a genuine honesty about him which is going to appeal to the people of London. Boris speaks from the heart whereas Red Ken speaks out of political expediency. Its going to be interesting to see who comes out on top but my money is definately on Boris.


I am no fan of Boris, but only because I don't consider him a real Conservative. However there is no doubt in my mind that he will take the job as Mayor seriously and do a fantastic job. He can't anyway avoid being way better than Livingstone. Boris has my vote!

Frank McGarry

Norman Tebbit IS a cuddly liberal.
It was Norman who democratised the Trade Unions. We should bring him back as Party Chairman and he would democratise the Conservative party again.


Whats the difference between calling Boris to the right of Norman Tebbit and Ken "Red Ken" or communist.

Alex Crowley

Having observed Ken for nearly two years, his reaction to the Boris candidacy is interesting. His first reaction was to attack his parliamentary voting record- however, having seen how popular he is, he has moderated his tone.

Ken rarely moderates his tone on anything.

This is a clever play, by sounding serious on Boris, Boris will subsequently look childish and silly if he sounds humorous on Ken.

Ken knows policy is potentially a weak point for Boris, but Boris is being sensible by waiting- let's hope he is doing his homework. He will have one chance to prove to London he should be taken seriously, and that's by demolishing Ken intellectually.

He is capable of doing this and Ken knows it. Which is why he is choosing his words carefully.

One debate, and Boris will flatten him (gaffe permitting). Boris should challenge Ken to this as soon as he is selected.


'warned against turning the contest into "Celebrity Big Mayor"'

HA HA HA HA HA HA. The mayoral job has been all about celebrity ever since it was created. And maybe it should be. The mayor is a figurehead, not a micro-manager. Ken is worried about being eclipsed, that's all.

"My job in the next eight months or so is to focus on what Boris actually believes in"

REALLY? What about focusing on his own achievements over the last seven years? Shouldn't that give Ken an advantage?

"He said he was "halfway through" reading all Mr Johnson's newspaper and magazine columns over the past 20 years"

That sounds very paranoid to me.

"his rival made right-wing Conservative peer Norman Tebbit "look like a cuddly liberal"

Ludicrous beyond belief. Boris's charisma is still under-rated, I believe. Even if he were a rabid extremist, which he isn't, he has the chutzpah to get away with it. Much like Ken in his younger days...

"He's got a high profile, he's a charming and engaging rogue"

Sounds like someone else. Except the 'charming'.


Wotnext, get your facts right before you attempt to slag someone off!

Bullingdon Club: so what, you jealous!

Darius Guppy: don't think any of us know what really happened here, does sound a bit dodgy though.

Petronella Wyatt: mind your own business!

Liverpool: he was spot on - and i'm from there!

Southampton: In your haste to diss the man you have not researched your facts correctly, I think you may have meant Portsmouth - which is a different city albeit still on the south coast. Again he was correct, if not a little blunt. But that is what we love about Boris, he tells it how it is, which more often than not is bang on the nail!

What's next? Mayor of London (of course)

Croydon Tory

"Darius Guppy"

I say, steady on wotnext, old bean. Darrie was in a bit of a tight spot. Pretty rum world if a chap can't help a chap out.

Michael Davidson

We couldn't pick a worse candidate than Boris Johnson. If you think Ken's going to be scared by him you must be joking and that's why he's talking Boris up so much.

Ken's not daft and he knows perfectly well that ordinary Londoners will not vote for Boris - alas we don't seem to be that quick off the mark.

london conservative

Livingstone's get out the vote operation has already begun. By highlighting the unacceptable comments of Boris Johnson about "picanninies" and the "watermelon smiles" of black people, he has shown this shambolic putative candidate for what he is: not an acceptable candidate for London.

Party members who share that disgust should consider voting for Andrew Boff, who would never make such remarks. After the embarassment of reading them had sunk in I was reminded of Jeffrey Archer's comment about black women when he was our party's Mayoral candidate. Aside from the wrongness of using the language Boris Johnson has used, we simply cannot afford to take a step back in terms of what we present to London. Winning means respecting London's glorious diversity, not pandering to outdated prejudices for the amusement of a few Home Counties Daily Telegraph readers.


Whats the difference between calling Boris to the right of Norman Tebbit and Ken "Red Ken" or communist.

The latter is true. Ken is a fan of Hugo Chavez & Fidel Castro. Not difficult to work out is it.

As for the former, where's the beef?


While Boris may not be my cup of tea I believe he is the best person to lead the Conservatives mayoral campaign. My reasons are as follows
1) He appeals to the young
2) He does not take himself too seriously
3) He can get lots of free publicity
4) Credible on environment
As such he will be able to win a whole new set of voters that more traditional conservatives could never hope to reach. Remember the key to this election is not winning the most first votes or even which policies are promised but ensuring that overall Boris is more popular than Ken. As an added bonus he may also lay the foundations for a new generation of young Tories in London which will benefit the party for years to come.

The comments to this entry are closed.

London Mayor videos

  • Receive our daily email
    Enter your details below:

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker