IMAGE | Valsegern i Londons borgmästarval har satt igång spekulationer om Boris Johnson är intresserad av att bli premiärminister efter David Cameron.
Han har åtminstone en uppenbar fördel framför alla andra konservativa politiker i Storbritannien. Han är antagligen den mest kända och – vilket är viktigare – populära politikern i landet.
Hans stil är minst sagt udda. I en tid när alla politiker försöker vara så strömlinjeformade som det bara går sticker Johnson ut med sin smått excentriska image.
Det är en stil som går hem hos urbana storstadsväljare på både vänster- och högerkanten.
Greg Williams skriver i Newsweek:
Johnson’s mayoralty has been a most unlikely success story. An unabashed member of the privileged classes, he has somehow managed to win the affection of a Labour-leaning city as it endures the harshest cuts in public expenditure since World War II, under the Conservative-led government’s austerity prescriptions.
And yet the city’s people seem to like having him around—not only Conservatives but even longtime Labour voters who have been branded “Boris Reds.” He is that rare thing: a politician who has risen above events to take on a form of celebrity. As Johnson walks up the street, bystanders recognize him instantly, and in most cases a smile creeps onto their faces as he approaches.
He’s practically a P.G. Wodehouse character, a bumbling, disorderly member of the upper class, except Johnson is genuinely erudite and fiercely ambitious—and he rides the streets of London on a bicycle. “He has the ability to strike up a rapport with people who haven’t really got anything,” says [författaren och journalisten Andrew] Gimson. “It’s quite a complicated thing because he is, by temperament, an elitist. And he is, of course, immensely competitive and wants to get to the top.”
“Even at Oxford he struck people as a slightly old-fashioned toff from another era,” says writer Toby Young, who knew both Johnson and Cameron during their years at the university. “People credit Boris with being true to himself, and they like the fact that he’s such an authentic-seeming character. The truth is he has essentially created an identity for himself, and he’s certainly skillful in never letting the mask slip. But I wouldn’t use the word ‘authentic’ to describe him. It’s a sort of brilliant music-hall turn.”
Maybe so, but somehow it seems to work. “Boris is a Chaucerian figure,” Gimson says. “Cameron is very keen on marriage—you would never catch Boris preaching about that. If Cameron was caught in bed with some bird, that would probably be the end of him, whereas Boris is so often pretty much caught in bed with some bird—but, you know, people rather expect that.” Despite his affectations, Londoners find something winningly unpretentious about him. When the mayor accompanied police on an early-morning drug raid last June, the awakening suspect greeted Johnson with rough familiarity: “What the f–k are you doing here, Boris?”
In the political universe, caution and prudence aren’t always virtues. “Boris’s strategy for detoxifying his privileged upbringing is more effective than Cameron’s,” says Young. “It seems much more relaxed, less defensive. Cameron hasn’t made the mistake of turning it down too far—he’s just turned it down a little bit. Whereas Boris has turned it up to 11.”
“Cameron is a pure establishment man, who will always do what the establishment thinks is prudent. Boris is a loner. He can’t see an apple cart without feeling inclined to overturn it.” As charming as Johnson can be, it’s hard to blame his fellow Conservatives for feeling a bit nervous.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget (engelska upplagan) och artikeln från Newsweek den 7 maj 2012.