Despite my fears for London under Boris (such as the consequences of the abolition of Livingstone‘s commitment to 50% of new housing being “affordable” – see Question That‘s reasoned analysis), I admit to a guilty pleasure in listening to him perform, and a hope that his refreshing style will revitalise our politics.
If Boris really can pull of an effective job, without losing his humourous flair, he will demonstrate that politicians can be colourful and serious.
Watch his acceptance speech; his openness and self-deprecation are disarming. He acknowledges that some of those who voted for him may have let their pencils hover in hesitation before putting a cross in his box. How refreshing not to hear the usual spin about this being a victory for Conservatism in the face of Labour incompetence.
You get the impression that this was really Boris speaking, not the Tory Party, who surely must have wanted to ensure their big moment on camera went according to script. I think he will need to build a strong support team to do the job well, but if he can do that whilst resisting any attempts to handle him against the grain of his character, he might just find a formula that works, and in doing so, champion political oratory of the intelligent, spontaneous form that we lack.
I don’t think the voters are just tired of Labour, I think we are generally disenchanted by the boring government-speak and play-it-safe attitude that has characterised British politics for at least 15 years. If nothing else, our kids will hear a prominent politician speak with an unusual vocabulary and an intelligent turn of phrase.
If Boris brings back delight in eccentricity and the nuances of the English tongue, he will have done us a favour.