Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bite This, Boris - RR, and others, in the New Statesman.

Your 31 March cover story ("Is Boris faking it? The makeover of a candidate") asks: "Who is Boris Johnson?" I went to Balliol with Boris, studying philosophy with him there and working with him at the Oxford Union, and I have touched base with him off and on in the years since.
What your story mostly misses is Boris's ruthlessness (as well as opportunism) as a politician. Much of what he does, if my experience is anything to go by, is very calculated. His self-presentation as slightly buffoon-like is largely deliberate. He does what he thinks will bring him publicity and affection. And he is not at all averse to deceiving people in the process. For example: at Oxford, when I was president of the university Social Democratic Club, Boris sometimes presented himself as sympathetic with the SDP in order to curry favour with sections of the student body. His self-presentation nowadays as green-leaning is a piece of equally opportunistic and calculated spin.

Rupert Read
Norwich

Your cover story sold me last week's edition. Of course, Boris Johnson is a fake - a bonking comedian masquerading as a politician. His friendship with the fraudster Darius Guppy should be an indication of the sort of company he prefers. However, your exposé of his mendacity in fabricating a quotation from his historian godfather, Colin Lucas, which got him sacked from the Times, was news to me.
Johnson's lead in the polls for the London mayoral election despite his chronic laziness, as shown by his dismal voting record in the House of Commons, and his undistinguished track record as MP for Henley, shows how we may be sleepwalking into electing yet another incompetent liar into one of the most important jobs in the country.

Arthur O'Connor
Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey


Brian Cathcart's otherwise excellent account of Boris Johnson's disturbingly effective campaign to become Mayor of London omits one important factor: the use of the Evening Standard, London's only paid-for paper, as a propaganda sheet for Boris and against Ken Livingstone. This shameless silencing of alternative voices among the city's media would make Vladimir Putin or Silvio Berlusconi proud.

Julian Bell
Twickenham, Surrey

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: Bite This, Boris - RR, and others, in the New Statesman. 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. Bite This, Boris - RR, and others, in the New Statesman. 27. 28.

29.
Your 31 March cover story ("Is Boris faking it? The makeover of a candidate") asks: "Who is Boris Johnson?" I went to Balliol with Boris, studying philosophy with him there and working with him at the Oxford Union, and I have touched base with him off and on in the years since.
What your story mostly misses is Boris's ruthlessness (as well as opportunism) as a politician. Much of what he does, if my experience is anything to go by, is very calculated. His self-presentation as slightly buffoon-like is largely deliberate. He does what he thinks will bring him publicity and affection. And he is not at all averse to deceiving people in the process. For example: at Oxford, when I was president of the university Social Democratic Club, Boris sometimes presented himself as sympathetic with the SDP in order to curry favour with sections of the student body. His self-presentation nowadays as green-leaning is a piece of equally opportunistic and calculated spin.

Rupert Read
Norwich

Your cover story sold me last week's edition. Of course, Boris Johnson is a fake - a bonking comedian masquerading as a politician. His friendship with the fraudster Darius Guppy should be an indication of the sort of company he prefers. However, your exposé of his mendacity in fabricating a quotation from his historian godfather, Colin Lucas, which got him sacked from the Times, was news to me.
Johnson's lead in the polls for the London mayoral election despite his chronic laziness, as shown by his dismal voting record in the House of Commons, and his undistinguished track record as MP for Henley, shows how we may be sleepwalking into electing yet another incompetent liar into one of the most important jobs in the country.

Arthur O'Connor
Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey


Brian Cathcart's otherwise excellent account of Boris Johnson's disturbingly effective campaign to become Mayor of London omits one important factor: the use of the Evening Standard, London's only paid-for paper, as a propaganda sheet for Boris and against Ken Livingstone. This shameless silencing of alternative voices among the city's media would make Vladimir Putin or Silvio Berlusconi proud.

Julian Bell
Twickenham, Surrey
30. 31. 32.