The Sketch: At last, a place for the Tories' blond pin-up

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The Independent Online

The joy of Boris. Our spirits rise at his name. The sun comes out. He is what we have in the absence of summer. We're all at City Hall waiting for the Tory inflatable to come drifting across the sky. We won't be allowed to ask questions but that doesn't matter. We don't see enough of Boris at the best of times. This isn't a day for words, the press officers said, even though the words are the best thing about Boris.

Reflecting on his Christian/Muslim ancestry he said: "I'm a one-man melting pot."

Two Borisettes - brilliant, pudding-basin blondes - came towards us and the cameras squealed at them. But no, walking almost shyly down the side of the vast glass testicle that is City Hall it was the thing itself. Boris and his bicycle. One hand in his pocket, thumb at right angles pointing forward at an angle Prince Charles would approve of.

The crowd of photographers surrounded him savagely. There were questions shouted and he looked around pleasantly. Sometimes he murmured things like, "wait and see", and "don't believe all you read" and "fantastic city".

The scrum was three men deep and no place for civilians. It wasn't clear what, if anything, was happening. He didn't announce anything. Or indeed say anything. It was considered a great success. My colleagues examined their notebooks. Anne said: "I haven't got any notes, does that matter?"

At the last election I said that while the Conservative Party had a place for Boris it would never get anywhere. I have placed my order for a selection of edible hats. But I'm not going to eat them just now; I could yet be proved right and I hate throwing up. Won't it be nice if I'm wrong? Clever, cultivated, cookie-jar Johnson as the Mayor of London. He'd double the number of tourists just by winning. And what wouldn't he do with the PFI contracts for Tube maintenance?

To the Commons for David Miliband's statement. Have you been watching Rome? They had a child actor playing the young Octavian, and then after his first martial victory they substituted a grown-up. It's what's happened to David Miliband. He is six inches taller, and grave with office. He's on top of the facial twitching too. It's a triumph of the on-the-job learning scheme that our Cabinet government provides. He has expelled four Russian diplomats and withdrawn co-operation from the faster-visa programme we had with Russia. Take that! The Commons was admiring of our new Foreign Secretary's "proportionate response" even though they didn't know how proportionate it was. What level are these "particular diplomats"? He won't say.

Andrew McKinlay (trouble-maker) asked if a statement would be made when the diplomats were reinstated, as they surely would be. He also felt our relationship with Russia was suffering from our "arrogance", and was "spiralling down". I've no idea whether this is true or not. It's one of those unknowable knowns. But if historians look back and identify the expulsion of four diplomats as the event that started off a train of events culminating in a war which turned Iran to glass, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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