Sketch: Boris in town felt like history in the making. Will the revolution follow?

Even Lenin might have baulked at the scale of the personality cult enmeshing Boris in Birmingham last night

Share
Related Topics

It was surely the most famous political arrival by train since
Lenin set foot on the platform in Petrograd in April 1917. Or at
least the most famous by a man with a Russian first name.

True, Birmingham's New Street is not quite the Finland station. True too that the eminent personage was greeted by a scrum of television crews rather than a modest group of workers and peasants. But the over-excited shouts of "there's only one Boris" and "you're so beautiful" that greeted him as he pushed his way through the throng were a clear sign that history was in the making.

Indeed, even Lenin might have baulked at the scale of the personality cult enmeshing Boris in Birmingham last night. Yesterday's issue of Conservative Home Daily, the newspaper produced by the Lord Ashcroft-funded organisation behind what it frankly called "the Boris Rally" last night, would have done more than justice to pre-revolutionary editions of Pravda: a front page picture of Boris looking visionary, brow furrowed, eyes fixed on the middle distance, a centre spread on the Cabinet Bozzer would be heading as PM in 2020, a prominent headline on a new poll showing that 49 per cent of Tory members are now unhappy with David Cameron.

But was it a revolutionary moment? Maybe it was the good lunch at Chequers, maybe the effortlessly magisterial slap-down earlier in the day by Ken Clarke, who knows a bit about not becoming PM: "Nose to the grindstone I would advise." But he seemed to be making a public effort to be loyal last night about the "fantastic job" he claimed to think Cameron and George Osborne were doing.

It was a star comedy turn as always. Referring to yesterday's story of how a member of the boy band One Direction was bitten by a London squirrel, he said he was proud that the city boasted such "well-fed, dynamic and musically discerning squirrels".

And they loved it. He recited a seemingly endless list of his achievements in London, even allowing himself a moment of endearing, if not wholly convincing, self-deprecation; he had been "the biggest harvester of undeserved credit", he said, before going on to offer as long a list of those that had helped him do it.

He was unrepentant about his pointed call in yesterday's Telegraph for more to be done for "the squeezed middle". And he went on – at length – about the need for a new airport instead of a third Heathrow runway. But he also told us that he had been a supporter of a Cameron leadership at a time "when the Cameroons could have fitted into a phone box if one of them had not been Nick Soames".

And he predicted, as unpatronisingly as he could, that he was confident that they would lead the country through a victorious election campaign "and beyond". How far beyond he did not say. For now he was behaving – up to a point. But for how long?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

Day In a Page

 

i Editor's Letter: Still all to play for at our live iDebate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering