I am a big fan of Boris Johnson. Now, obviously, I don't think he's one of the great minds of our generation, not a chance, but he has his own, er, 'qualities'. Politics, parliament and especially the Tories benefit from having Boris Johnson in the world. He gets groups of people (students) who might not previously have taken an interest in politics and elections, involved.
Fair enough, getting involved or taking an interest in politics ideally shouldn't be because you find someone funny, or silly-looking or because you're waiting to see which stupid, offensive and ignorant comment he'll come out with next.
But in my opinion, anyone who, while trying to represent the people of this country (however badly he does it), can increase voter participation and give politics a different, albeit odd, perspective, is a character we want involved in politics.
BUT YOU DON'T WANT SOMEONE LIKE THIS RUNNING THE BIGGEST, MOST INFLUENTIAL AND MOST SENSITIVE CITY IN THE COUNTRY - NAE, THE WORLD! I'M STILL NOT CONVINCED HE COULD RUN A WARM BATH, SO LONDON?
I was talking to a (very posh, very tory) life-long conservative voter mum-of-three from London, who put the London Mayoral election/Boris' candidacy in a great way.
"He's a funny and likeable character, but put it this way, if you got a letter telling you he was going to be the Head Teacher of your kids' school, you'd look to change school." Now I don't think this woman was saying she's now going to move out of London if Big-Bad-Boris gets elected, but she knows he is not the right man to run such a large scale and important operation as that of the London Mayor's office.
In fact, think of any other situation where you would have to place someone in charge. If you owned a company and had to take leave for a year, you wouldn't feel comfortable putting Boris Johnson in charge, would you?
Like the example above, you would certainly worry if he was made Head Teacher, no matter how much training and advice he may receive.
On top of all this, it must be pointed out that Boris has...
NO experience of running a large operation (Ken obviously as Mayor and the GLA, and Paddick as high-flier at the Met).
NO experience of London and what it's like living in London (Govt funded crash pad doesn't count) and the general concersn of Londoners (Tory party 'report on poor people' doesn't count either).
NO experience of any significant political position of responsibility.
NO thought-process between brain and mouth.
I'm not saying Ken Livingstone or Brian Paddick would be a sensation of mayoral wonder, but they've got to be better (and less potentially explosive) than an elected BJ.
My other, most prevailing concern is that London is essentially a wee country of its own and therefore needs to have a massive degree of indepenence and separation from Parliament. Ken, let's face it, is never going to be given his orders from the Labour Party. Brian Paddick has been a card-carrying Lib Dem for about six months. Boris Johnson, being as clueless as he is and would continue to be, would be nothing but an extension of David Cameron's tory party, essentially 'Minister for London', taking all his direction from Central Office/DC, and anyone who's lived in London for any length of time knows that London is too big, too complicated, too diverase and too important to be treated in this way. It needs a Leader and a Boris mayorship would not provide what it needs.