I had a terrifying moment, watching the Eddie Mair interview with Boris Johnson, when it struck me that big blond Boris has almost reached a sort of Churchillian level of public recognition and affection. Then, thank goodness, Mair put the boot in and we were reminded, in painful detail, of Boris’s inner moral vacuum. Lies, cheating, adultery …unlike Boris’s flaxen locks, it’s not pretty. I don’t really count the promise he made to Darius Guppy 20-odd years ago to provide the address of a journalistic colleague so that Guppy could have him beaten up. The attack never happened, and besides, which of us hasn’t promised a desperate girlfriend that yes, of course you’ll give them your hitman’s mobile number, and you’re sure that bumping off their errant hubby will make the world a much better place. Oh, you mean you haven’t?!
I wonder what Churchill would have said under similar circumstances. Or did he, actually, have close friends? He was notoriously and pathetically keen to please his absent father, and of course went to the same school as Boris. Though Boris is often cited as a chum of Cameron’s, they don’t appear to have hung out together much since their Etonian days. Cameron, infamously, has spent his time of late schmoozing with another schoolmate, Charlie Brooks and his unfortunate wife, Rebekah. Boris probably hasn’t had a huge amount of time for men friends, in fact, being more of a ladies’ man – and women, of course, tend to put up with a lot more domineering, selfish behaviour than men do.
No one really doubts that Boris wants to be Prime Minister, no matter how much he mumbles, scratches his head and blathers about balls and scrums. Churchill, too, was focused on the prize, and not particularly bothered by which party he got there with. He changed political allegiance twice, and wasn’t taken seriously by his colleagues for many years. The public loved him, though, as they love Boris. The difference is that Churchill loved Britain back, and was shocked and hurt when he wasn’t re-elected after the Second World War, when Labour won its 1945 landslide. I’m not sure Boris loves anyone, except Boris. His wife must have her doubts, and his mistresses also. David Cameron is quite clearly expecting a betrayal. And the public? Well, Boris is not keen on Liverpool, having published a notorious attack on the area. He loves being popular, but what does he really feel about the populace? From his enjoyment of clever classical quotations on all occasions, and his sense that rules are always for someone else, probably the ‘little people’, I get the sneaking feeling that he thinks he’s a lot better than us. I’m not sure, if we did all vote for him, that he’d still respect us in the morning. What do you think?