Sunday 18 March 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Boris won by breaking the mould

Mayoral elections in London boiled down to candidates' attitudes and behaviour, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

AT a time when his party has been trashed in the mid-term elections, incumbent London Mayor, Conservative Old Etonian classicist, intellectual and flagrant adulterer Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, defeated Labour ex-Mayor Kenneth Robert Livingstone, whose impeccable working-class credentials included being educated at a comprehensive school.

To put it another way, Boris beat Ken. And he beat him at a time when the British government, led by Old Etonian David Cameron, is being punished for being posh.

The two superficial explanations are that Boris seems authentic and he makes people laugh. He plays the bumbler for effect, but he unapologetically uses classical tags in his speeches. Boris probably won the election when word seeped out that, in a lift after a radio programme, he had accused Ken of being "a f**king liar" for suggesting he was a tax-avoider. The beauty of this was that it emerged that Boris earned a lot and paid maximum tax and Ken earned plenty and paid the minimum.

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