2 Mar 2014 at 10:39
I nearly choked on my porridge when I read that the Times had splashed on a Cameron tells Boris to ‘put up or shut up’ story on Saturday. The splash? When all the other broadsheets were leading on that minor matter of Russian troops pouring into the Crimea? Bonkers.
The thrust of the story was that Cameron has had enough of Boris’s leadership manoeuvrings and the time has come for him to be offered a poisoned olive branch of standing at the next election, calling the the bluff buffer’s bluff. But the more I read the copy the more I realised that this was a total kite. There was not an even a ‘sources close to Cameron’ puff but ‘allies’ which comes near the top of the Richter scale of journalistic bollocks. I claim to have no inside information on this, but I suspect Cameron would have raised an eyebrow and wondered whom the silly little twat was who had been mouthing off to a TIMES journo.
But now my old chum Simon Walters of the Mail on Sunday has put a splendid new spin on it. Walters is one of the shrewdest guys in the lobby. Polish a turd? He could make a cess pit gleam. And this time he thought it would be a a splendid idea to use Johnson’s wax. The best way to give a non story legs is to get a reaction. Dear Boris is a nuclear reactor and duly obliged with a suitable explosion. But where Walters is a mini genius is that whatever BJ and his hounds may say about Cameron in private in public he has to feign utter loyalty and devotion. So this has now become a sinister Osborne plot who is apparently worried that if the election goes tits up Boris would be the one to wrestle after they had stepped over Cameron’s body. This is great copy but delightful silliness. If the election goes tits up so does George. And at the moment I would imagine he has rather more pressing matters to consider such as the Budget.
What will be interesting is how Boris is going to play this. Well, not so much interesting as how depressingly predictable it will be. Paeans of ersatz praise for Cameron and Osborne and lots of photo opps to show what a wonderful leader he might one day be.
Is he going to stand for Parliament before his term ends in 2015? Highly unlikely. He would be seen to break yet another promise. Will he be made Party Chairman? Nadine Dorries has a better chance of growing a penis. I’ve just watched the energetic Shapps on Marr praising Bozza with a charming smile hiding gritted teeth. Getting rid of him at this stage would not be wise. He is rather good news.
So how do you deal with a problem like Boris? Give him something to do yet nothing to do. Make him the official performing bear of the Tory Party. Let him enjoy the adulation when he growls, does a little dance and performs a pirouette on his hind legs. But putting him within striking distance of ever becoming leader is just not going to happen. And remember Boris is not the slightest bit interested in the hard slog of being a leader in Opposition; only to be crowned Prime Minister.