Boris's bumbling persona and family fortune can help drag Britain back to the future

As he’s on the rise, the others will try to copy him; Clegg will be cheeky Cockney and Miliband outrageously camp
  • @mrmarksteel

It’s so exciting. Boris Johnson has said he wants to become an MP, meaning he might challenge David Cameron to be leader of the Tory party.

This is marvellous, because he bumbles about, so it doesn’t matter what he stands for. Some people wouldn’t care if he was torturing them, as long as he said, “Goodness, where do these electrode thingummyjigs go? These volts might sting a bit I grant you, but needs must and all that. Jolly grateful if you could keep the screaming to a minimum, overdid the brandy last night, fool that I am.”

And they’d say, “It was unbearable agony but at least he was a character. He even laughed when I said his hair looks as if he’s been electrocuted himself, which is more than you’d get from the others.”

As he’s on the rise, those others will try and copy him, and become characters themselves. Nick Clegg will try cheeky Cockney, starting the TV election debate by saying, “One thing I guarantee, Mr Dimbleby, I’m honest as the day is long. Now before we get on to defence, hands up if you want one of these fridge-freezers. Good as new, they’ve been on the telly -  Crimewatch! I’m only having a laugh! Who’ll give me a ton?”

Then Ed Miliband will be advised to try outrageously camp, and make a speech that starts, “I must say I hope Mr Salmond fares rather better in his next TV debate, as I do enjoy a Scotsman making an unexpected surge from behind!”

But that might still not work, because there must be something more to Boris Johnson’s popularity apart from being a character.

The Daily Telegraph, for example, wouldn’t say about any character as they did yesterday of Boris Johnson “This news should warm the heart of every Tory voter. He has proved himself an astute administrator, championing the City and ensuring London’s global standing. As a communicator his gifts are unrivalled.”

I expected it to carry on, “With his devilishly disarming Byronic charm he stood aloft, his rippling torso rolling like the undulations of the land he will one day surely rule, ladies swooning before him like dizzy autumn wasps, whereupon he nipped to the Test Match to take 6 for 27 against India, which is sure to provide a problem for the unity of the cabinet.”

Another paper declared the outbreak of “Boris Fever”, as if we’re living in a film set in London in 1948, and the whole population had walked to a street corner to shout “’Ave you ’eard? Mr Johnson’s only gone and bloomin’ said he’ll stand as an MP, Gawd bless ’im!”

Can this adoration be simply about his scatty character? If it is, people must have changed their minds, because Russell Brand has wild hair and a neat use of language but Conservative newspapers don’t seem all that keen on him.

Another possibility is that much of the Conservative Party has never been won over by David Cameron, who had the problem of becoming Conservative leader when the free market and bankers were in a state of self-inflicted turmoil. He’s had to appear slightly critical of this world from time to time, enough for some of the Conservative Party to distrust him.

Ed Miliband is even more boxed in, having to praise the ideals of the free market at the same time as offering occasional curbs on it, getting himself in such a pickle he daren’t say anything and comes across with the dynamism of a Sellotape salesman you meet at a service station, until you say “Really? You cover East AND West Sussex?” and move to another table.

But Boris Johnson has no such qualms. The problem with the banks, he said, is that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair imposed too much regulation on them. This is an imaginative twist - that we’d have been all right if only the banks had been allowed to be MORE reckless - though it’s not clear how this would have been possible unless they were allowed to give mortgages to flowers and lumps of mud and drawings of fish.

Video: Boris plans to stand in 2015 election

And Boris Johnson praised the super-rich as people who “drive the economy”, claiming they pay 30 per cent of the tax. They pay it to Monaco and the Cayman Islands but he still makes a good case.

He elaborated on this theme by claiming that poverty is caused by low intelligence, so inequality is not only inevitable but desirable, as the “spur for economic activity”. And who can deny, when you watch an episode of Made In Chelsea, that these people who spend their lives sipping cocktails in a harbour are the brightest of their generation, and it’s just a coincidence that their father owns Finland.

Indeed, the fact that Boris Johnson owns a £2m house, despite his humble background at Eton as the son of a Conservative MEP, only proves the point that the rich are rich on merit.

After a few years of Conservatives having to mildly accept that unrestrained capitalism might be mildly flawed, Boris Johnson is the figure that can “say what he thinks”, hopefully taking Britain forward to an age in which every Prime Minister has to have been to Eton. Then after Boris we can have his ancestors, with names such as Boris the Seventh and Boris, Marquis of Wessex, anointed by GOD, to truly make Britain a modern nation again.