United Kingdom

Boris v. Red Ken



It's official. Britain's favorite tousle-haired cad, the Tory MP and television personality Boris Johnson, has tossed his bowler into the ring. The former Spectator editor officially announced yesterday his intention to run against Labour mayor Ken Livingstone.

Livingstone, who recently called Castro's dictatorship "one of the high points of the 20th century" and is planning a $4 million tribute to "50 years of justice in Cuba" in London's Trafalgar Square, openly challenged Johnson to run, though, as the Telegraph explains, if there is anyone whose celebrity can eclipse that of "Red Ken," it's the MP from Henley:

Mr. Johnson, a columnist on The Daily Telegraph, is the party's best known MP. His appeal extends across party lines and he has become a regular on television panel games, such as Have I Got News For You.

Predictably, the (London) Times and Telegraph are rather excited by the prospect of Mayor Johnson. Even more predictably, The Guardian's class-obsessed killjoy Polly Toynbee—the real-life version of "modern parent" Cressida Wright-Pratt—thinks the old Etonian is a "sociopath." From Toynbee's account, it sounds like Boris is something of a Tory libertarian:

He hints at utter contempt for the NHS, with USSR comparisons. Though liberal on matters of sex (what else could he be?) and drugs ("I'm instinctively inclined to liberalise"), his politics are right off the Cameron scale. Here he is on education: "I am in favour of selection … So is every member of the British ruling classes"; and on universities: "I believe passionately in academic inequality."

In other nutty British political news, George Galloway, the execrable MP who celebrated Saddam Hussein's "indefatigability" and claimed that the end of the Soviet Union was "the biggest catastrophe of my life," has been suspended from parliament for "concealing his financial dealings with Saddam Hussein's government."

Full story here.

If you are unfamiliar with Boris the TV star, check out this selection of clips from YouTube.

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  1. Fiiirst.

    And, go Boris.

  2. Boris isn’t all bad, and he’s a damn sight better than Red Ken. I used to see him from time to time in london pedaling his bicycle (inexpertly) through traffic. A bicylcing, Tory, semi-libertarian with wild hair who represents Henley on Thames: what more can you ask for? Either he or Portillo would be far better than Cameron as leader.

  3. Dick Portillo?

    Beef & Cheddar with, please.

    (Dick ? Sharon!
    I have never seen any reports about Sharon reciprocating.)

  4. Labor mayor? Mayor of what?

    MP? What the fuck is an MP? Military Police?

    Hey, how about explaining some of this shit.

    Or is the intent to make your readership less informed after reading the article?

  5. This is bad news. Livingston is a terrible mayor (and an asshole), but surely a better challenger than Boris Johnson could be found. The guy is a posh twit.

    If Labour doesn’t put up a good candidate (can they?) against Livingston then we will be stuck with him again. Great.

  6. MP = Member of Parliament

  7. For people like Joshua:

    Labour (left of Centre), Current Ruling Party in the UK.

    Conservative (right of Centre), Largest oppostion Party in the UK.

    MP – Member of Parliment.

    Mayor of London – the Mayor Of London

    Being from up in the sticks i have no real idea why people view the mayor of london as such an important post, it being an unlanced boil on the buttocks of the world.

  8. Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!

    There is no way highnumber just ordered a beef sandwich with cheddar from Portillo’s. That’s just sick and wrong. I sure could go for a beef/sausage combo right now though.

  9. To our friends visiting from the UK:

    I am under the impression that the Liberal Dems would generally be considered the most libertarian of your major parties. Is that the case? I read that they hold ~10% of the seats in the House of Commons, making them the third most powerful party.

  10. the Lib Dems, arnt all that libertarian, there pro higher taxes, pro regressive taxes, pro welfare state, pro europe, pro enviromental do hickeys, pro government regulation of various areas.

    they used to say positive tyhings about, gays, Drugs, Prostitution. But as most of the Gay rights stuff is gradually moving into place (or is in place) Cannabis is effectivly decriminalised and they appear of abandoned legalised prostitution.

    Mosy UK libertarains, would of voted Conservative tradtionaly, being ht eparty of thatcher, lower taxes and lower economic regulation, but the cameron guys an utter cad of the highest order, so i have resigned my self to not voting for any of them.

  11. So the word liberal has been hijacked by socialists, and conservatives aren’t conservative any more? I guess we have a lot in common.

  12. JLM,

    That is sadly not the case. The Lib Dems tick all the socially liberal boxes, as well as the foreign policy and civil liberties ones. But they are also the party best known for their “honesty about tax increases”. They’re much, much more “social liberal”/positive liberty types than they are classical liberals.

    Quite honestly, post Thatcher at least, the Conservatives (the Tories) are probably a better fit for most US libertarians. Yes, there are torture ’em, string ’em up, invade ’em conservatives in the party too, but they are outgunned by the (party leader) David Cameronesque Conservatives (who self describe as “liberal conservatives”).

    Even the modern Labour Party are more pro-market than the Liberal Democrats, sadly. But then, this is Europe…

  13. quote JLM

    “So the word liberal has been hijacked by socialists, and conservatives aren’t conservative any more? I guess we have a lot in common.”

    Yep, were to people seperated by a common language, but connected by the fact that our political classes are wankstains.

  14. “Wankstain” is a word that I definitely need to add to my vocabulary.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  15. That dude looks like Gary Busey.

  16. I wonder if he is as nucking futs as Gary Busey?

  17. Boris Johnson, jhas this whole baffoon persona, its quite intresting, normaly amusing, and does seperate him from the normaly gray blandness of domestic british politics.
    Hes also a stuanch opponent of ID cards declaring (and i belive sincerly)that he will “eat his” when and if he is issued with one.

    Out of the politicians i know off in my country, hes the least arsehole like of the lot of them.

  18. “I believe passionately in academic inequality.”

    He’s got my vote already.

  19. That dude is Gary Busey.

  20. For people like Joshua:

    And Joshua

    thank you limey libertarian dude.

  21. Boris Johnson, jhas this whole baffoon persona, its quite intresting, normaly amusing, and does seperate him from the normaly gray blandness of domestic british politics.

    Hes also a stuanch opponent of ID cards declaring (and i belive sincerly)that he will “eat his” when and if he is issued with one.

    but the cameron guys an utter cad of the highest order

    Ok, how much better does it get? What did you expect – an egg in your beer? I’d vote for him in a heartbeat!

  22. but the cameron guys an utter cad of the highest order

    What, did he cheat on his wife then lie about it?

  23. I think you chaps are being a bit hard on the Lib-Dems. It’s true they’re a nice, glowing pink on economic issues, but they’ve been the only major party in either of our countries to oppose the Iraq invasion or consistently stand up for civil liberties. And you don’t have to worry about them putting their pinko economic policies into practice, because they will never, ever win a majority.

  24. Incidentally, did anyone catch this bizarre story on the BBC website:

    Cuba has accused the US of issuing far fewer visas to Cubans wanting to leave than allowed for by an agreement between the two countries.

    …Washington to grant up to 20,000 entry visas a year for Cubans. Over the past nine months, fewer than 11,000 have been issued.

    “It is evident a considerable delay exists,” the ministry said.
    “Why would [the United States] want to make the migratory situation worse between both countries?”


    So to summarise: Cuba, supposedly an “a source of inspiration and strength for poor and oppressed peoples around the world” whose “excellent healthcare, high literacy rate and Cuban sporting prowess are reasons to celebrate” seems to have a less charitable view of their own “liberated” citizens. You might even say they view them as a burden.

    Frankly, if the Bush administration was really serious about bringing down the Castro regime, instead of buying Florida votes through ineffective sanctions, they’d do well to follow the example West Germany set during the months leading up to fall of the Berlin Wall: grant automatic citizenship and free passage to anyone who wanted to leave East Germany.

  25. Well that’s what should’ve been done since the aftermath of the revolution in the 50s. But I suppose then the government was too afraid of the “commie threat” to actually take a principled ideological stance against Communism from which to base their policy decisions.

    Anyway, every high-profile Conservative I’ve heard of in the UK has been decidedly un-conservative and more inclined towards classical liberalism. Conservatism to me is about a tradition-and-ordered society. Yet it was Thatcher who said (and I’m paraphrasing) that there was “NO society”, only individuals and families. That’s definitely NOT conservatism. (Of course Thatcher had balls to outmatch any male politician, before or since, and I think we would have been better of with Thatcher than Reagan: she was definitely the man in THAT relationship).

  26. Fritz:- Unfortunately, our current conservative party, is selling out the legacy of thatcher and going instead away from a principle defence of Liberty and tradtion, towards populist grandstanding. (a case in point being the conserative party’s new slogan “vote blue, go green”).

    Also, i woudl argue in british political tradtion, that could definiately be described as tradtion. Britian has been a liberty orientated state for most of its existance. the tradtional conservative argument, would off been that it is only rom this anciet liberty, promised to every Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen, can order truely emerge.

    The last 10 years, with our continuing erosion of liberty yet gradual increase in chaos, disorder and crime, to me at least prove that to be the case.

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