I know many things. I know that by starting an article with a boast, you can alienate your readers. I know that despite my intense hatred for it, I will end up at Smack on numerous occasions. And I know for definite that if I ever got stuck on a zipwire, dangling pathetically for hours, or if ever I were caught dancing badly to the Spice Girls, then I would receive no approval, and would probably be mocked mercilessly (possibly even more than I currently am).
What is it about Boris Johnson, then, that the above embarrassments have only served to increase his popularity with the general public? BoJo, as he is sometimes disturbingly known, has an eerie popularity that has always puzzled me, particularly the ubiquitous level it grew to over the summer.
When I talk to friends that aren’t particularly interested in politics, and even some friends that are, they all have been known to express the opinion that ‘it’s all about Boris’.
Once you think about it, however, it’s really quite understandable. British politicians are almost entirely identikit. Whether they’re giving speeches or being interviewed, they all seem generically boring, doggedly toeing the party line.
There are a few exceptions, of course, (most of them due to their excessively negative personalities, i.e. Ed Balls, Louise Mensch before stepping down etc.) but none have risen to the same prominence and maintained anything like the popularity of Boris.
Somehow over the course of the Olympics, Boris has cemented his political power not through competence or achievement, but through how much of a goof he is.
Somehow these antics are endearing him to the British general public. In its almost calamitous ineptitude and inevitability, his zipwire incident was reminiscent of the character Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em, but as with Frank it seems to have made Boris more likeable. It builds on the reputation founded during his days on Have I Got News For You, when his, err, unique personality first caught the eye of the general public.
Boris was (as always) funny, but in such a way that you weren’t entirely sure yourself if you were laughing at or with him, and even if it was the former, it was never with the same malice that goes hand in hand with laughing at most politicians.
Those of you who are familiar with David Cameron and Boris’ jolly history together will know that it was Boris who first threw himself into politics, yet it is David Cameron who is our Prime Minister.
Now, however, there are not only rumblings in disgruntled sections of the Tory party, but also newspaper articles openly questioning whether Boris will be the next leader of the Conservative Party, even the next Prime Minister.
You have to wonder how a goofy, womanising, Beano character incarnate would fare at running a country. It’s a scary thought; but hey – Silvio Berlusconi was a laugh, wasn’t he?