LONDON | Boris Johnson, Londons borgmästare, har för andra året i rad blivit utsedd till Storbritanniens mest inflytelserika man.
I årets lista, sammanställd av det brittiska livsstilsmagasinet GQ, hamnar premiärminister David Cameron på tredje plats, efter sin kabinettssekreterare Sir Jeremy Heywood.
I en tid när minsta lilla misstag eller felsägning genererar publikstorm och krav på politikers avgång har den excentriske konservative borgmästaren lyckats överleva det mesta.
Vad som skulle ha tagit död på de flesta andra politiker har Johnson lyckats vända till sin egen fördel. Numera är Johnson ”Boris” med hela nationen.
Efter att ha lyckats bli omvald till borgmästare börjar allt fler nu också tala om honom som nästa premiärminister.
En undersökning har indikerat att Conservative Party skulle kunna radera ut det försprång Labour har haft i opinionen ifall partiet ersatte Cameron mot Johnson.
An ever-shrinking but stubbornly disbelieving core still thinks he is:
1) Not real – not cuddly, but in fact, remote, cold, impersonal.
2) A buffoon – a show-off and dangerously ridiculous figure.
3) A lazy sod – a disorganized rogue who doesn’t put in the hours.
4) Without beliefs or principles – he’ll say or do anything to please the crowd.
5) A toff – a class joke on the new Britain.
Most politicians, in the face of such resistance and “negatives”, re-calibrate and reposition.
But Boris is not so much a politician – with a quasi-scientific approach to the management of popular opinion – but a seducer. In the playbook of seduction, he amps it up, continues coming, keeps playing his hand, until you are seduces or he is rejected. It’s all or nothing.
He was the editor of a serious political magazine who became a television sensation (often a comic one). He was a media personality who became an MP. He was an MP who survived not only cascade of larger-than-life gaffes but seemingly nonstop sexual scandal. He was a Tory politician who became the mayor of lefty London. The Olympics, often a sinkhole for the cities and politicians that promote them, became his and London’s triumph.
It is not possible to exaggerate this: his time as mayor has turned Boris not just into a practised politician nor even a political star but, love or despise him, into a new political art form. There is no politician in the world so at odds with the standard presentation and behaviour as Boris. In a an age of political disenchantment he is, arguably, for better or worse, the first bona fide alternative.
Boris Is keenly recognizable, to me, as a modern writer at the top of his game (necessarily a performer and entrepreneur as well as scribe) humorous, hyperbolic, garrulous, seductive. Politics, which really is about the art of expression, ought to be a logical profession for writers (it’s very hard to explain to politics- and policy-addicted people that language is the basis of all ideas – if you can’t say it, you can’t think it), instead of a refuge for lawyers and apparatchiks.
One should point out that Boris does not, in fact, have the power to affect any of his ambitions for London. He cannot legislate; he cannot tax; he cannot re-destrict; he cannot build. All he can do is talk, appeal, convince, remonstrate, seduce – which, of course, is exactly what he does best (this may be the keenest definition of talent, to be able to only do what you do best).
In terms of political strategy, for Boris, London is the United Kingdom. He can make being the mayor of London being the real prime minister of Britain. Boris want 500,000 new jobs in four years and a new airport. He will get them by being the opposite of lazy, but instead, a whirling dervish of seduction. Seducing the world.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är GQ, februari 2013.