Exclusive: Boris Johnson voted England’s most patriotic politician
But critics say the 'Boris brand' would not play well 'north of Watford' if he became Conservative Party leader
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 17 October 2013
Boris Johnson has been voted England's most patriotic politician in a sign that the Mayor of London's appeal stretches way beyond the capital.
An ICM survey for the British Future think tank found that Mr Johnson is seen as “the politician who speaks convincingly for England” by more people than David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg or Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party. The Mayor of London is the only politician who beats “none of the above.”
Critics of Mr Johnson argue that, while he has done well to win two elections for London Mayor in a Labour-leaning city, the “Boris brand” would not play well “north of Watford” if he became Conservative Party leader.
The poll knocks that claim on the head. In London, Mr Cameron is seen as the politician who speaks convincingly for England by more people (44 per cent) than Mr Johnson (39 per cent). But Mr Johnson is seen as the best voice for England in the North West, which has many key marginal seats, and the North East, a Labour heartland.
Overall, Mr Johnson is named as the politician who speaks for England by 39 per cent of people; while 38 per cent opted for “nobody”; 32 per cent Mr Cameron; 24 per cent Mr Farage; 19 per cent Mr Miliband; 15 per cent Mr Clegg; six per cent Nick Griffin, chairman of the British National Party; five per cent Tommy Robinson, who recently left the English Defence League and four per cent Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP.
The survey was conducted ahead of a “England, my England - A Festival of Englishness”, in London on Saturday, about what the rise of Englishness means for culture, society and politics. It is being staged by British Future and the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said: “People all over England like Boris because he's authentic and he's got a positive story to tell about our country. He's clearly proud of England and our history, but he doesn't want to wallow in what we've lost. Instead he uses that to build more confidence in the future too.”
He said the poll findings should act as a wake-up call to Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband. “They've both acknowledged that the 'English question' needs to be addressed but a year or two later nobody's heard them say anything about it,” he added.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 BBC’s new Game of Thrones slayer 'The Last Kingdom' relies on Saxon appeal, creators say
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2014: Briton critically injured in San Fermin festival
Israel's deadliest Gaza air strikes yet kill five children from same family as Palestinian rocket barrage continues
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£23000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Data Analyst vacan...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am interested in speaking to Data Migr...
£200 - £450 per day: Harrington Starr: Web Services Developer Web Services, WP...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Manager - (Housin...