Monday, 8 July 2019

Boris and the great cause of cheering us up

If he succeeds, there will never have been a party leader who has expressed an opinion on so many things over such a long period of time as Boris Johnson. Except, interestingly, Jeremy Corbyn.

Lord Finkelstein in The Times

"Do you believe in anything? Do you, in fact, have any convictions at all, Boris?"
“Only one — for speeding, but a very long time ago”.

Sonia Purnell in her biography, Just Boris, quoted by Lord Finkelstein

“However ludicrous it may seem, religion sets boundaries, it suggests to bad and loveless people that they are loved. It provides a framework.

"My own faith is a very feeble tinsel object. I sometimes think there might be some kind of celestial radio signal but it is about as intelligible as Radio Tirana.” 

Boris Johnson, November 2006

“This government is constantly on the sniff for anything that looks cavalier, or freebooting, or risk taking . . . I would cite with especial plangency last week’s ghastly and draconian plan to tell cyclists they must keep to their cycle lanes or face fines. The road is ours, Gordon, and don’t you tell us what to do. And stuff your laws on booster seats for eleven-year-olds and to hell with your ludicrous plans for Home Improvement Packs.”

Boris Johnson

“The erosions of free speech and civil liberties that are taking place under this [Blair] government . . . the ever more elaborate regulation of the workplace, the bans on hunting, smacking, smoking, the demented rules about the numbers of children you may take in a swimming pool, the proposed plan to tag your car to see where you have been, Prescott’s mad spy satellites to see if you have built an unauthorised conservatory.”

Boris Johnson

“He has got this weird gift of moving among large crowds of people in a way which cheers them up. The Conservatives have been led for so long by dreary people. None of them have that quality he has. They don’t lift people’s hearts when they come into the room.... 

Charles Moore 

“I think he is a bit of a genius, and one of the reasons I do broadly support him — though I have endless frustrations and doubts — is because of what I think is a sort of genius.” 

Charles Moore

“Part of his appeal is that he upsets the grown-ups, and a lot of the voters like that. There is a similar dynamic to Trump. The more he upsets the pious liberals, the better pleased his supporters are.”

Andrew Gimson, author of “Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson.”

"Mrs Thatcher said in her eulogy of him, quoting Arnold Bennett, that Ronald Reagan embodied “the great cause of cheering us all up”. So today does Boris. He can cheer us up – and get us out."

Robin Harris

I have had in mind the last words of Bennett's The Card as a description of Boris for many years - I did not know that Lady Thatcher used them to describe Ronald Reagan.

"There are three major flaws. The first is serial dishonesty. He simply has no concept of truth. As Philip Stephens of the FT once put it, Boris has lied his way through life and politics. He will say whatever is necessary to get himself out of a hole of his own digging. But if anyone quotes Boris back to himself, even a couple of days later, his reaction will be incomprehension and irritation.

"The second is profound selfishness...

"The third is the entire absence of a moral or political compass."

Bruce Anderson

"Johnson would not recognise truth, whether about his private or political life, if confronted by it in an identity parade. In a commonplace book the other day, I came across an observation made in 1750 by a contemporary savant, Bishop Berkeley: “It is impossible that a man who is false to his friends and neighbours should be true to the public.” Almost the only people who think Johnson a nice guy are those who do not know him."

Max Hastings, who was his boss at the Daily Telegraph

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