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'A better suck at the saucepot', or hair and loathing on the campaign trail

It is not often that the fine borough the name of which I presume to identify myself with is visited by anyone of any great renown, but Boris the Great chose to make his first campaign stump speech here in darkest Croydon.

He was, naturally, late, although the 70-100 or so loyalists / hangers on / rubber neckers deemed it worth the wait for the Boris Bus to roll up to the less than glamorous venue of the Tesco car park in Purley. While waiting a curious shopper asked what was up, and having said 'Boris Johnson is coming to speak' she then told her friend that 'A man is coming'. Uh-huh....

Boris's address to the good burghers did not get off to the ideal start in that he referred to being in Croydon, and Purley-ites get a bit antsy about being lumped in with the mother ship. Given that I was born in Woodmansterne, which itself looks down on Purley, I was mildly amused.

His speech was brief, if pure Boris, and touched on better transport for the city, security on the streets and housing. Having arrived in a Routemaster bus, he lamented that he could not bring them back because of the dreaded health and safety, but that he would launch a competition to design a more fitting successor and relegate the loathsome bendy buses to their proper role of serving airport terminals. Cue much applause.

He took a few questions, and dealt with them in broad outline terms, not aided by his being asked a number that rather fell outside the purview of the mayor, such as the cost of hospital parking. However, he suggested that the questioner take it up with the local MP, Richard Ottaway, in attendance and on crutches. The questioner rebutted that her MP was Andrew Pelling, so Boris then suggested putting the point to him.

Transport proved a major topic of interest, and he confirmed that he would keep the OAP freedom pass, and then came up with the long hoped for Borisism: "A better suck at the saucepot" for the outer boroughs, having made the point that we in the outer 'burbs are somewhat underserved by public transport compared to the inner boroughs.

In good news for cyclists everywhere, he announced that he had would penalise bike thieves by catching them, and that the odious Commissioner of the Met has agreed to take bicycle theft more seriously.

I had a chance to shake his hand and told him he was the best ever Spectator editor, at which he went a little coy. I have been a reader of the magazine since 1985, and he is without doubt the best in my time of reading, although I cannot speak of Lawson père and Ian Gilmour, inter alia.

In an encouraging development, he received a few hoots of approval from passing motorists, Boris being perhaps the only politician one could be sure of identifying from 50ft away while travelling at speed. Autographs were also being requested.

I will write more on prospective Tory candidates nearer the time of the primary, and people I respect (Justin and Catriona) speak very highly of Andrew Boff. For all that Andrew, Warwick Lightfoot and the others may well be excellent candidates, I cannot see them beating Boris in the primary, and more to the point, I do not think they would have a prayer of beating Livingstone, as I think Londoners will demand someone with star quality.

And herewith some snaps:

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Blogger Mountjoy said... 3:53 pm

Boris will easily wipe the floor with Red Ken. Roll on the London Mayoral Election ...

Just reading Andrew Gimson's book on Boris at the moment: it makes me realise that Boris is a lot more brilliant than I'd previously thought.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:04 pm

He is one very sharp individual is our Boris.  

Blogger Hercules said... 5:14 pm

Great Blog article Croydonian, I really enjoyed reading it as I do your blog in its entirety! I’m glad to see old Boris is doing ok.

Hope you are well?


Blogger Croydonian said... 5:30 pm

Hercules - very kind of you to say so. I'm well, and trust you are too.  

Blogger Hercules said... 5:51 pm

You are very welcome!

I am doing well thank you for asking.

I'm just trying to find a new show that I can really get into after our beloved Sopranos finished. I'm re-watching the old ones at the moment.  

Anonymous Verity said... 7:41 pm

Boris "best ever" editor of The Speccie? Wha'??? Yes, he was a star when compared with the grim Matthew D'Ancona, but no one will ever excel the late Frank Johnson (RIP).  

Blogger CityUnslicker said... 9:47 pm

Croydonian at the political coalface...and a good read too. Most interesting.  

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