I’m increasingly concerned about the prospect of Boris Johnson being elected Mayor of London, the most important directly elected post in Britain. Here are ten reasons why I believe he should not be Mayor:
1. The Mayor of London is one of the most powerful jobs in the UK. The only thing Boris Johnson has run in his life is The Spectator magazine and that became a byword for sleaze during his watch as editor, as The Economist pointed out recently.
2. He opposed the Kyoto protocol on climate change, and the congestion charge, and he opposes the proposed £25 charge on the largest engines coming in to London, which would tax those who create the most carbon dioxide.
3. He was a fanatical supporter of the Iraq War, and he campaigned for George W. Bush to win the US elections in both 2000 and 2004
4. He opposed the introduction of the minimum wage and paternity leave.
5. He supported rail privatisation.
6. He was dismissed from the Conservative front bench in November 2004 because he lied to the then party leader Michael Howard, and he was fired from job as a columnist at The Times for making up quotes.
7. He also once colluded in a plan to have a journalist – Stuart Collier - beaten up. He was recorded planning the act with convicted fraudster Darius Guppy. The resulting story was splashed in the Daily Mail. He was reprimanded but not fired by his then editor at the Telegraph, Max Hastings.
8. After the inquiry into the racially motivated Stephen Lawrence murder, he claimed that the recommendation to change the law to allow prosecution for racist language or behaviour was “akin to Ceausescu’s Romania.” Here’s a quote from an editorial he wrote in the Spectator in 2002: "it is said the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies". He has also expressed the belief that South Africa under Nelson Mandela represented “the majority tyranny of black rule”.
9. He supported Section 28, a nasty piece of Conservative legislation which made it illegal for teachers to say anything positive about being gay and lesbian. Furthermore he opposed civil partnerships for gays and lesbians, saying we “might as well legalise partnerships between three men and a dog".
10. In April 2007 he infuriated residents of Portsmouth by writing in GQ that the city was "one of the most depressed towns in southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs". In October 2004 he wrote an editorial in the Spectator claiming the inhabitants of Liverpool were wallowing in “vicarious victimhood” over the British hostage Ken Bigley and that many Liverpudlians had a “deeply unattractive psyche”.
Ask yourselves – is this what you believe in? Are these the qualities you want in the Mayor of London?
If you’re as concerned as I am, then please do not put Boris 1 or 2 on the ballot.