Feature

United Kingdom: A rumpled contender for the Tories

The London mayor has just positioned himself as the “heir apparent to the Conservative crown."

Isabel OakeshottThe Sunday Times

Boris Johnson’s day has come, said Isabel Oakeshott. Once dismissed as “little more than a clever show-off,” the London mayor has just positioned himself as the “heir apparent to the Conservative crown.” In local elections last week, the Tories took a terrible drubbing, losing hundreds of city council seats and mayoralties. But somehow, even in the left-wing bastion of London, the hard-drinking partier with the “famously disheveled hair” managed to buck the trend and win a second term. Conservative members of Parliament are beginning to talk seriously of his potential to lead the party and become prime minister someday. Sloppy, brilliant, and often rude, Johnson has a charisma that current Prime Minister David Cameron lacks. Labor activists report that when they tried to drum up support for their man, Ken Livingstone, even in reliably left-wing neighborhoods, “people said they would be voting for Boris, not because they particularly liked his policies but because they liked him and found him fun.” If Cameron can’t deliver a solid Conservative majority in the next election, expect the party to tap Johnson. Then all of us could “get the popcorn out” and watch what would surely be quite a show.

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