Boris for PM is not looking too good.

Posted 25 Mar 2013 by Walaa Idris

Boris Johnson

For most leaders there is always one moment, one event when it becomes clear to the rest of us this man, this woman is leadership material. David Cameron’s was his Tory conference speech in 2005; suddenly conference delegates and the nation saw the future leader of the Conservative Party. Nick Clegg’s was that ‘I agree with Clegg’ moment during the first TV leadership debates. Even his opponents saw a different man, a new man, a leader to the nation not just his party. It was the instant everyone realised the Liberal Democrats are a viable alternative and not just a protest vote movement. Barack Obama’s moment came during his Berlin speech in 2008, the number of people that came out that day, the energy in the crowd and the saintly charisma he exuded, that was the moment the world realised this man’s words have something very special and Obamamenia hit the world.

Equally there are moments when people know no matter what amount of hype, PR or cash thrown at someone, some people will not make it come what may. Gordon Brown’s was during the 2010 General Election, when he was caught on tape calling a Labour voter a bigot for talking about immigration, when everyone else felt she was conveying genuine concerns. Sarah Palin’s the “I can see Russia from my porch” reply and her peculiar take on foreign policy was the beginning of her end. Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party darling got so close to winning then she spoke her mind, and from then on it was downhill all the way to defeatville.

Never one to write off or badmouth one of my own, but Boris Johnson’s car crash interview yesterday is unforgivable. First I can’t believe how unprepared he went into his interview with Eddie Mair. To not anticipate Mair will quiz him on the Michael Cockerell documentary (airing tonight on BBC2 at 9pm) when he accepted to do the programme under duress is beyond me!!! Secondly, granted he slipped and got caught off guard (with the fabricating a quote for the Times business) but how could he not see the next question (lying to Michael Howard) coming? When he just made a whole BBC documentary on the dreaded three questions that sunk his Mair interview? By the time the third ambush hit it was too late for any comeback or rebuttal, by then, Boris Johnson was a sitting duck desperately trying to be funny. That image is not leadership material and no one will forget it in a hurry.

The sad thing is all of it could have been avoided had he recovered after the first attack, fluffed his blond mop and reiterated he was there to talk about the budget and housing or simply put his hands ups and say ‘hay that was the past, the old me, I did wrong and now know better’ because people love honesty and adore repented politicians. Especially since none of what was said is new or news. He was elected and re-elected Mayor of London despite these events – every Londoner knew about them and still wanted him as their mayor.

So what changed here? Leaders get put on the spot all the time.

What changed yesterday was his recovery and ability to turn a bad situation into good plus his attitude. It was the first time the media put Boris on the spot; he didn’t like it and showed it, that’s not a good change.

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