Posts Tagged ‘Boris Johnson’

VAL 2016 | Inom Torypartiet kampanjar man idag inte bara för Vote Remain eller Vote Leave utan också om vem man vill se som nästa premiärminister.

Newsweek 20 maj 2016

Även om kampanjen för att positionera Boris Johnson, partiets populäre tidigare Londonborgmästare, inte sker allt för öppet kan alla ändå se tecken på att striden pågår bakom kulisserna.

Johnsons strategi tycks gå ut på att bara kritisera David Cameron när det gäller hans inställning i folkomröstningen. I övriga frågor har Johnson intagit rollen som den lojale partianhängaren som inte kritiserar sin premiärminister.

Isabel Oakeshott, political editor-at-largeDaily Mail, har skrivit en artikel i Newsweek om rivaliteten mellan de två och kampanjen kring Cameron och Boris Johnson.

Johnson publicly declared he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, in direct opposition to Cameron, who called the referendum but is backing the Remain campaign.

Johnson’s announcement—on the issue that has repeatedly divided the Conservative Party over the past three decades—added personal drama to the historic decision facing the British electorate on June 23: whether to remain part of the economic and political bloc that formed in the wake of two catastrophic wars in Europe to bring peace and prosperity to the continent. The now-public contest between Johnson and Cameron will result in either the defeat and possible resignation of a sitting British prime minister or a potentially fatal blow to the ambitions of his rival, Johnson, who may be the most intellectually capable and popular politician of his generation.

”The last thing I wanted was to go against  David Cameron or the government,” Johnson told reporters gathered outside his home on February 21, the day he made his public declaration.


The prime minister had good reason to believe his entreaties to Johnson might work. Johnson is multilingual and fundamentally internationalist in outlook. Privately, his doubts about the merits of the EU were usually outweighed by his appreciation of its benefits. But he wavered. A friend of Johnson’s, who wants Britain to stay in the EU, says Johnson once told him, ”I have to warn you, one day I might say we should come out of Europe.”

After Cameron’s election victory in 2015, the prime minister promised to negotiate a new relationship between Britain and the EU, one that gave Britain more power over its own policies. Still conflicted, Johnson waited until Cameron had concluded his dealmaking before making up his mind. In the end, it was Johnson’s wife, Marina Wheeler, who helped persuade him that the prime minister’s deal did not reclaim enough British sovereignty.

If Johnson ends up on the losing side of the referendum it would be a blow—but, in an odd twist, he could end up benefiting from the defeat, because in the eyes of many Conservative MPs he will have been on the right side of the argument. The next few years might then play out like this: Cameron stays on as leader and prime minister until 2019 (the process for choosing a new leader takes several months), or he might quit earlier; a leadership contest takes place; and Johnson defeats Cameron’s key ally, George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, who is less popular with the Conservative legislators. (A March poll by YouGov showed 43 percent of Conservative Party members backed Johnson to be the next leader, while just 22 percent backed Osborne.)

In that scenario, Johnson would likely lead the Conservatives to an election victory in 2020, over a Labour Party that has weakened since its catastrophic defeat in 2015. That would bring Eton’s tally of prime ministers to 20.

Publicly, Johnson shrugs off the suggestion that he is fixated on getting to 10 Downing Street. In truth, his campaign for that job seems to be well underway. ”Low-key and loyal to Cameron” is how an insider describes his strategy. By ”loyal,” the insider means that Johnson is not making it his business to challenge or undermine the prime minister on subjects other than Europe. His outriders—a handful of MPs working, very unofficially, on Johnson’s behalf in an attempt to improve his prospects—are assiduously avoiding the small but significant faction of anti-EU Conservative MPs who detest the prime minister and would like him gone at any cost. At this delicate early stage, Johnson can’t come over as too grabby.

He is unlikely to find an easy path to the most powerful job in Britain. Osborne, who has played Cameron’s understudy for years, will fight him hard. And while Tory MPs like a winner—and even Johnson’s political enemies acknowledge his electoral successes—he hasn’t cultivated his colleagues. During his long years in City Hall, he spent little time in the House of Commons tea room—networking, sharing gossip, forging friendships and alliances. Colleagues who envy his career or disapprove of his foibles and indiscretions are unlikely to hold back from damaging his chances when they can.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 20 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Vill vi att det parlamentariska systemet skall urholkas? Det är den fråga som Boris Johnson vill att väljarna skall ställa sig inför folkomröstningen.

The Spectator 14 May 2016

Den populära f.d. borgmästaren i London har blivit den främsta talespersonen för Brexit, kampanjen för Storbritanniens utträde ur EU.

Han är dessutom tippad att bli nästa partiledare för Torypartiet om David Cameron inte lyckas få väljarna att rösta Ja till ett fortsatt medlemskap.

En myt som Johnson slår hål på är att EU skulle vara så bra för näringslivet och konkurrensen.

En märklighet i den politiska debatten i både Sverige och Storbritannien är att partier som i vanliga fall talar om hur viktigt det är med konkurrens på marknaden inte verkar tycka det är viktigt på den europeiska marknaden.

Hade man verkligen tyckt konkurrens var viktigt skulle man inte stillatigande acceptera all den byråkrati som hämmar just konkurrensen inom EU.

James Forsyth och Fraser Nelson på The Spectator intervjuade nyligen Johnson om folkomröstningskampanjen:

He has a book on Shakespeare to finish, a Brexit campaign to win, and, if the bookmakers are to be believed, a Tory leadership campaign to assemble. He’s currently red-hot favourite for the top job.

But Boris’s emergence as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign took many by surprise. To his critics, it was a cynical conversion and an unashamed attempt to woo Eurosceptic Tory members ahead of a leadership bid. In the thousands of articles he had written about Europe before this referendum, he had never advocated leaving. ‘It is unquestionably true that I’ve changed,’ Boris admits. ‘But so has the EU. And of the two of us, it’s the EU that has changed more than me.’


The Prime Minister, Boris says, took a ‘punt’ in calling the referendum without securing a substantial deal. ‘I think that was a mistake. I think the British public are looking at all this and thinking: “Take back £20 billion? Take back control of the borders? Run the country? Democracy? You know, it might be a good idea.”’

So what kind of relationship does Boris want with the EU after Brexit? He knows what he doesn’t want: ‘the so-called single market’, which he says is a problem rather than the solution. ‘People think the single market is a great wonderful European souk or bazaar in which you will find absolutely everything humanity could possibly desire: aubergines, derivatives, trucks, ballistic missiles…’ But, unfortunately, the single market is ‘a gigantic system’ that imposes ‘extremely detailed and onerous rules on a territory of 500 million’.


‘Dear Spectator reader: do you see Britain’s future as an open, global, free trading, dynamic economy based on confidence in tried and tested British institutions? Or do you believe that in order to survive we need to remain embedded in something that fundamentally takes away our powers? Something that, over the past 15 years or so, has been a powerful depressor of jobs and growth in our historic European home?’


He is confident that his two great historical heroes would be on his side in this struggle. Churchill would not have wanted ‘parliamentary sovereignty to have been so compromised. I think he believed in that above all else. He would have felt it had gone too far.’ And he contends that Pericles, the great Athenian statesman he so often cites, would also have been an Outer. Boris argues that ‘to stick up for democracy is entirely Periclean’ and that the referendum ultimately comes down to whether you believe in ‘rule by the many, not the few’.

If the referendum goes against Boris, he thinks that the next Conservative party manifesto should admit that EU immigration into Britain cannot be controlled: ‘They should be honest.’ He goes on: ‘One of the most corrosive things is that government won’t level with us about it.’

Still, he remains hopeful that he can help Vote Leave win this referendum. ‘We are asking the British people to be brave, to be confident in themselves and to believe in Britain,’ he says with his trademark enthusiasm. ‘We have a very good chance.’

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 14 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Det kommer att bli svårare för David Cameron att få ett Ja i EU-folkomröstningen sedan Boris Johnson valt att stödja ett utträde.

The Spectator 27 February 2016

Många ifrågasätter om det var en så klok strategi från Cameron att så intensivt attackera den populära Londonborgmästaren efter hans besked om att han tänker stödja ”out”-kampanjen.

En av premiärministerns anhängare citerar t.ex. Michael Corleone: ”Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”

James Forsyth, redaktör The Spectator, har beskrivit Camerons reaktion när det stod klart för honom att Johnson inte kommer att stödja premiärministerns kampanj för att Storbritannien skall stanna kvar i EU.

Many Tories had doubts about David Cameron’s EU renegotiation, but only Boris Johnson was promised a piece of legislation to assuage his particular concerns. It was quite a compliment. The so-called Sovereignty Bill was, in effect, the Get Boris Onside Act. It was designed to deal with the Mayor of London’s fears about the relationship between the British parliament and courts and the EU. It was also mooted that Boris would be offered a top cabinet job — perhaps Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister was convinced that this combined offer would be enough to secure Boris for the ‘in’ campaign.

But a few days before the Brussels summit, when Oliver Letwin telephoned Boris to run through the Sovereignty Bill, he sensed trouble. As the conversation went on, Boris’s concerns seemed to multiply. Even if Cameron secured his deal, he said, EU law would still retain supremacy over UK law. And there was still no answer to the question, posed by Boris’s wife Marina Wheeler QC in The Spectator, about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Then Johnson told Letwin he was going to put the call on speakerphone while he consulted his dinner guest Michael Gove. The Lord Chancellor was already known to be tending towards supporting ‘out’. When Letwin finally put down the phone, the Tory leader-ship had to face the fact that Boris might follow Gove in backing Brexit. Perhaps this episode explains why Cameron was so short with the Mayor when they met the next day to discuss the matter.

Four days later, Boris made it official. He would defy Cameron and advocate leaving the European Union. Today, the two best-known Tories in the land stand in direct opposition on the most important vote the UK has had since the second world war. Only one of them can win.

Cameron is infuriated by Boris’s decision and makes little attempt to disguise it. In the Commons he launched a thinly veiled and deeply personal attack on his fellow Old Etonian, implying that he was only backing ‘out’ to further his own career. After the exchange, one observer said Boris looked as if he had been mugged. A member of his camp said: ‘We weren’t expecting a warm reception, but we weren’t expecting that level of vitriol either.’

And it has only just begun. Cameroons claim Boris’s decision is an act of ‘naked self-interest’. A source close to the Tory leadership predicts that Boris’s decision to back ‘out’ will be a disaster: ‘He’s going to struggle in interviews as he doesn’t believe in getting out of Europe and he’ll face the kind of scrutiny he’s not faced before. He’s not good on detail.’

The personal attacks will only increase in ferocity as time goes on. ‘He was given all the time in the world to make up his mind,’ another source adds. ‘He’s made his bed, he’s now got to lie in it.’ When I asked if Boris could still serve in a Cameron cabinet, the acid reply was: ‘Boris will make a very good International Development Secretary.’

It might be satisfying to savage Boris in this fashion, but it is not entirely wise — as some cooler-headed Cameroons admit. No. 10 appears to have forgotten Michael Corleone’s dictum, ‘Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.’ But if it wasn’t war before, it is now. ‘Boris is going to have to come out gloves off,’ warns one minister who is backing ‘out’. The Mayor is acutely aware that he is fighting for his political Life.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 27 februari 2016.

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LONDON | Det skall mycket till för att en kandidat från Labour skall förlora ett borgmästarval i London.

The Spectator 2 January 2016

Det är lika svårt för en konservativ politiker i London som för en republikan i New York.

Trots detta har Boris Johnson varit den perfekta konservativa borgmästaren för en storstad som London. Även om Johnson inte varit någon kopia av den tidigare republikanska borgmästaren Michael Bloomberg har de hel del gemensamt.

Båda har varit sitt eget varumärke. Båda har lyckats sälja in sin egen person snarare än deras partitillhörighet. Båda har gått sin egen väg och snarare varit pragmatiska än ideologiska.

Så när London nu skall gå till val igen i maj skall det mycket till för att Tories skall lyckas upprepa Johnsons bragd.

Den här gången kommer det att stå mellan Sadiq Khan från Labour och Zac Goldsmith från Conservative Party.

Eftersom Labour idag har en rejält impopulär partiledare i Jeremy Corbyn samtidigt som Johnson har varit mycket populär har Khan valt en strategi som går ut på att distansera sig från sin partiledare samtidigt som han talar väl om allt som det bara går att tala väl om hos sin motståndare.

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, har tittat på Khan och hans kampanjstrategi.

He ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010 and led Labour’s fierce — and surprisingly effective —campaign in London last year. Now, his sights are set on reclaiming City Hall for Labour and persuading even those on the right that he is the natural heir to Boris Johnson.

‘I want Spectator readers to give me a second look,’ he says, when we meet in the House of Commons. He is not, he’s keen to stress, a lieutenant in Jeremy Corbyn’s army. He’s keen to ladle praise on Boris Johnson — a ‘great salesman for our city’ who made him feel ‘proud to be a Londoner’ during the Olympics. He even likes rich people. ‘I welcome the fact that we have got 140-plus billionaires in London; that’s a good thing. I welcome the fact that there are more than 400,000 millionaires; that’s a good thing.’ If you shut your eyes, it could be Peter Mandelson speaking. It is not what you would expect from someone who has always been on the soft left of Labour.

If elected mayor, he says, he would not attempt to taunt David Cameron’s government as Ken Livingstone once taunted Margaret Thatcher’s. ‘I’m not going to be somebody who puts a big banner up outside City Hall criticising the Prime Minister, he says. ‘As a Labour councillor for 12 years in Tory Wandsworth I saw the benefits of having to work with the Tories to get a good deal for my constituents.’

But this is all part of Khan’s ambitious strategy: he doesn’t just want to win, he wants to win big. He is confident about his own ability to run a campaign; to him the issue isn’t whether he’ll win — but how.

‘If we wanted to, we could just target those Labour voters and increase the turnout. We could win London just by doing that.’ But, he says, ‘That’s not the sort of mayor I want to be… I want to be everyone’s mayor.’ In particular, he wants to be that vanishingly rare thing: a Labour friend of business. ‘Bearing in mind who our leader is,’ he says, ‘it’s important to reassure the right people that he doesn’t represent all Labour thinking.’ Khan is clearly aware that his biggest vulnerability is being branded Corbyn’s candidate. He is eager to say he is not in regular contact with his party leader; the last time he saw him was when they had their photos taken together to promote the Living Wage more than a month ago.


The Tories would dearly love to turn this contest into independent-minded Zac versus Jeremy Corbyn’s man. But by love-bombing Tories and business, Khan is determined to stop them doing that. So if the Tories are to stop Labour retaking City Hall, then the Goldsmith campaign will have to match Khan’s organisation, energy and enthusiasm.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 2 januari 2016.

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Scarfes Bar ad - Biris Johnson

Londons borgmästare Boris Johnson i Gerald Scarfes annons för Scarfes Bar i London (publicerad i The Spectator 12 september 2015).

Mer: På @ScarfesBar finns en annan av Scarfes teckningar av borgmästaren.

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VAL 2015 | En sak är säkert när det gäller valet i Storbritannien. Oavsett vilket parti som förlorar kommer man att skylla på sina professionella politiska konsulter.

David Axelrod on the television program Face the Nation, 2010 - Encyclopædia Britannica

Och omvänt; det parti som vinner kommer att hyllas för sin framsynthet när man valde sin kampanjstrateg.

Både Conservative Party och Labour har hyrt in välkända namn från utlandet.

Labour vände sig till David Axelrod som tidigare har varit Barack Obamas kampanjrådgivare. De konservativa anställde redan redan 2012 australiensaren Lynton Crosby.

Crosby låg bl.a. bakom Boris Johnsons valseger i borgmästarvalet i London och segern för premiärminister John Howards Liberal Party i Australien 1998 och 2001.

Peter Jones, som har en spalt i The Spectator där han visar att vi fortfarande har en hel del att lära från antikens Aten och Rom, är inte imponerad.

Crosbys strategi – att attackera Ed Miliband och samtidigt försöka övertyga väljarna om briljansen hos de konservativas långsiktiga ekonomiska plan – är något Plutarchos och Aristoteles, enligt Jones, skulle varnat för.

The Greek biographer Plutarch (c. ad 100) could have advised him against the attack-dog tactic. In an essay entitled ‘Turning enemies to one’s advantage’, he pointed out that the presence of enemies kept one sharp; to distress the enemy who hated you, ‘be a man, show self-control, tell the truth, treat those who come into contact with you with generosity and fairness’. Likewise, by understanding what it was about you that gave enemies the chance to attack, it was possible to adjust your behaviour and blunt their assaults. Miliband is learning fast on both counts.

As for the ‘long-term economic plan’, Crosby is ignoring basic rules that Aristotle (384–322 bc) expounded in his ground-breaking Art of Rhetoric. One was that, as well as presenting oneself as a credible and fair-minded speaker, one also had to be alert to the disposition of one’s audience in order to generate in them the necessary emotional response. Crosby had clearly not assessed how open to persuasion any audience would be to promises of yet more ‘austerity’ demanded by the ‘long-term’ plan.

A further rule was that rhetoric was a matter of ‘detecting the possible means of persuasion’ in any particular case. For example, Aristotle spends some time explaining what it was about the young, the old, etc. that a speaker could turn to his advantage, e.g. the young are sex-crazed, ambitious, keen to win, credulous, optimistic, full of hope for the future, easily deceived, prone to pity people, think they know everything and love laughter. So what are the ‘possible means of persuasion’ in banging on about austerity? Anyone have the foggiest? No wonder the Tories are now throwing out bribes left, right and centre.

Slutligen ett lite lustigt exempel som illustrerar varför inhyrda konsulter inte alltid är så briljanta som alla tror.

När David Axelrod med ett tweet skulle tala om hur fantastiskt det var att få arbeta med Ed Miliband och Labour lyckades han både stava fel på partiledarens namn och följa fel Twitter-konto.

Istället för Milibands officiella Twitter-konto följde Axelrod en parodi på Milibands. En men förtroendefull början på en relation kan man ju tänka sig.

Bild: David Axelrod som gäst på tv-programmet Face the Nation, 2010 (Encyclopædia Britannica).

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Hercules 1934

In 1904, 20% of journeys were made by bicycle in London. I want to see a figure like that again. If you can’t turn the clock back to 1904, what’s the point of being a Conservative?

                  – Boris Johnson, Londons borgmästare

Bild: Reklam för Hercules (1934)

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Picture-The Independent -- Boris Johnson

Everybody who studies British politics knows my realistic chances of becoming Prime Minister are only slightly better than my chances of being decapitated by a frisbee, blinded by a champagne cork, locked in a disused fridge or reincarnated as a olive…

…………………………………………..– Boris Johnson, Londons borgmästare, 2012

Bild: The Independent.

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LONDON | Boris Johnson, Londons borgmästare, har för andra året i rad blivit utsedd till Storbritanniens mest inflytelserika man.

GQ - februari 2013

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.

Michael Wolff, tidskriftens Contributing Editor, som känt Johnsson sedan 2004, har skrivet den medföljande artikeln till ”The 100 Most Influential Men In Britain”.

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.

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DOWNING STREET | På grund av OS har chanserna ökat att Londons konservativa borgmästare, Boris Johnson, blir Storbritanniens nästa premiärminister.

En ny opinionsundersökning från YouGov visar att han är populär även i de delar av landet där partiet är som svagast.

David Wooding, Associate Political EditorThe Sun som beställt undersökningen, skriver:

Boris Johnson has emerged as the Tories’ best hope of being returned to power at the next general election.

The mop-haired London mayor has bounced ahead of David Cameron as the party’s top vote-winner, a poll reveals today.

His popularity has soared during the Olympics — especially among doubters the PM must attract to stay in office.

He has benefited from a wave of patriotism that’s swept the nation in the past fortnight. BoJo insists he is not ready for No10, saying: “How could anybody elect a prat who gets stuck on a zip wire?”

But our exclusive survey shows he is the man most likely to win over die-hard Labour and Lib Dem voters.

Despite his posh upbringing, Mr Johnson’s plain-speaking and humour even appeals to working classes in Tory no-go areas of Scotland and Northern England.

One in four adults sees him more positively than they did before the London Games, according to our YouGov poll.

He is liked not only in the capital, but in almost EVERY region of Britain, including Scotland, the Midlands and the North. Mr Cameron has greater appeal only in the true-blue Tory heartlands of southern England.

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