Elmore Leonard said: I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances ''full of rape and adverbs.''

Monday, 28 April 2008


This is a subject many non-Londoners will be tired of by now, but on May 1st, we get to vote for the next Mayor of London.

Politics has no place on a romance blog - right? - but I really can't keep quiet about my hatred for the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson. The video below does a good job of listing all the reasons why, but it is also the fact that Johnson represents the 'anti-London' vote. To me, living in a city as vibrant, diverse and welcoming as London, a place where multitudes of cultures and communities come together, the idea of an old Etonian toff, a member of the detestable Bullingdon Club - which one blogger describes as "an elite network whose general agenda involves gorging themselves on pate de foie gras and suckling pigs, then wrecking restaurants while singing "Rah, rah, rah, we're going to rule the world". Then they rule the world." - is repugnant.

Like Charlie Brooker (a miserable bastard), I am predestined to hate everything about Boris Johnson because a) he is a Tory b) he is a product of his privileged, upper class upbringing and c) he has said and written things that should immediately disqualify his eligibility to run for public office. In Brooker's words -
Johnson - or to give him his full name, Boris LOL!!!! what a legernd!! Johnson!!! - is a TV character loved by millions for his cheeky, bumbling persona. ... he's magnetically prone to scandal, but this somehow only makes him more adorable each time. Tee hee! Boris has had an affair! Arf! Now he's offended the whole of Liverpool! Crumbs! He used the word "picaninnies"! Yuk yuk! He's been caught on tape agreeing to give the address of a reporter to a friend who wants him beaten up! Ho ho! Look at his funny blond hair! HA HA BORIS LOL!!!! WHAT A LEGERND!!!!!!

Basically, the thought of this buffoon becoming the Mayor of my city makes me ill. It's like taking my identity as a Londoner (which I prize) to a dark, smelly alley and mugging it.

So if the worst happens, if my beloved City becomes the playground of this raging idiot, I'm packing my bags. I'm moving to Scotland. I hear it's great. Although the Scots might not see it that way...

(Warning, the video contains some swearing)

Many more videos here
. The Rainbow debate is priceless.


RfP said...

Huh. Strangely catchy.

Laura Vivanco said...

I'm moving to Scotland. I hear it's great. Although the Scots might not see it that way...

I like it up here, and the weather's not that bad at all.

I think that if Cameron wins he will be the last prime minister of Great Britain. If he goes two terms, he will become the first prime minister of England.

It would be interesting, because the Tories don't do so well in Scotland, even under proportional representation, so yes, I can imagine there might be tensions between the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments which might push people in Scotland in the direction of independence.

Huh. Strangely catchy.

RfP, I'm not sure if you're mean the song used in the video, but if you do, both the music and the lyrics are based on Kate Nash's song "Foundations".

Meriam said...

I love that video (the Kate Nash one). Very cute, but pointed and quite clever. On a shallow note, I really like her shoes. Those white ones with the peep toes and the gazillion-inch heels.... I could never wear them, but how pretty.

I like it up here, and the weather's not that bad at all.

All the cool people are in Scotland! I have a friend studying in Edinburgh, who loves it there. Supposing the worst doesn't happen and London doesn't become Johnson's fiefdom, I'm hoping to visit in the summer.

Laura Vivanco said...

I'm hoping to visit in the summer

When you know for sure, and if you'd like to, you could send me an email and maybe we could find a time and place to meet up?

Tumperkin said...

The Rainbow Debate is indeed the bestest funniest thing I've seen in a long time. I'm just disappointed that they didn't get Geoffrey mouthing Jeremy Paxman's questions.

You're so right about that buffoon Boris. He's a big stupid idiot. (Go Ken!)

I was in London last week. It makes me feel like SUCH a country mouse, circling bewilderedly in Tube stations and wondering where I am but I must admit that it does have a buzz (though at my advanced age I'm not bothered about buzz anymore) and it is brilliantly multicultural. Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live and I'll never move but it's not hugely diverse (though with increased immigration it is getting more so).

If you come in summer (and you're staying with a friend) you should try to come during the festival.

Meriam said...

Laura, I would love that. I will most definitely get in touch, if everything goes as planned.

I was in London last week. It makes me feel like SUCH a country mouse, circling bewilderedly in Tube stations and wondering where I am...

Ha, I do that! And I have no excuse, except a really bad habit of letting other people lead the way, so when I'm on my own, I'm completely clueless. I have friends visit from abroad who are better able to navigate the city. Which is embarrassing.

I'm glad you liked it. It's crowded, it's grey, it's smoggy and sprawling, but there is a buzz! And I meet and work with so many interesting people. (am I gushing?)

Carolyn Jean said...

Wow! This guy sounds like he's as big a sociopath as George Bush. (We nearly moved to Canada when he won. Twice.)

Johnson has that sort of look about him, sort of lovable and cuddly, that can fool people. How distressing that he might win!!

RfP said...

Thanks, Laura. I'll try to be more articulate this time :) My main reaction was, "Wow, someone used Kate Nash to make a video that's as strangely catchy as its subject."

What caught my attention was the way the song used its charm to put across a negative message, much the way Johnson apparently gets away with being appalling. You can do anything if you're cute enough or clueless enough.

Meriam said...

CJ, he did win! :-(

Any tips to deal with the crushing sense of disillusionment and disbelief?

You can do anything if you're cute enough or clueless enough.

Apparently so. You're absolutely right about the way the video conveys its message. It's rather clever. Though moot. Sigh. I keep heaving sighs.

Why, London?!

Laura Vivanco said...

The gains by the BNP are also very worrying.

RfP said...

There's always Canada--the traditional refuge of both cranky Americans and cranky Brits. They received influxes of Americans during the Vietnam War, and after the 2000 and 2004 US elections. I imagine they're quite accustomed to developed-world would-be immigrants trying to make a case for political asylum. The climate's due to improve over the next couple hundred years, too.

Tumperkin said...

Sorry Meriam :(

If it makes you feel any better, the rest of us (sane people) in UK plc (dontcha just HATE that moniker?) feel bad about it too. He's representing our capital on the world stage. Sigh.

My husband's take on it was "These people think they're voting for someone in I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here".

Meriam said...

The article is on the nose, I think. That 'entitlement' thing ("a subtle blend of tensions relating to feelings of disregarded "entitlement" in communities that would have long been considered core Labour supporters") is a very real feeling among people. I know people who feel like this and I find it really - worrying.

Interestingly,John Harris in The Guardian actually thinks the BNP didn't do as well as expected:

there is at least a smattering of good news about the British National party: having aimed at up to three seats on the London Assembly, they reportedly look set to win only one, while they've lost two councillors in Epping, and made no breakthrough in their target area of Thurrock.

The comments below that piece just make me sick. You'd think, having won the election, his supporters would have better things to do than crow and generally be unpleasant and nasty. And it's the same thing - this idea that they're missing out on something... Also, why are so many Tories on the Guardian's blog, and why are they shocked and disgusted when a lefty paper expresses (gosh) lefty sentiments?!

Oh, I should get over it.

Canada - yes. I see Scotland as a kind of Canada for the English, a safe haven of political good sense and consideration.

"These people think they're voting for someone in I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here"

I despair.

Karen Scott said...

I'm not a Londoner, but I spend enough time there to totally agree with you. Boris got in because everybody was sick and tired of Red Ken, simple as that.

I still haven't forgiven Boris for trying to say that Liverpudlians were a bunch of moaners after the Ken Bigley beheading (I think it was after the Bigley beheading).

Anybody capable of making such a crass and insensitive comment isn't somebody I would want leading the capital.

Karen Scott said...

He always looks like he needs a good bath too.

Meriam said...

Ha! Yes, he does.

I suppose now that he's Mayor (and being closely monitored by whoever it is with the thankless task of 'handling' him), Johnson will be a lot more careful about what comes out of his mouth. Which is one good thing.

I totally agree: anyone who has made as many disgraceful, insensitive and downright shit-stirring comments as Johnson has no business representing a world city.

It just makes us look like fools.

Oh well, roll on the Tory era. I suppose I could spend it a) drunk b) high c) abroad or, most likely scenario d) miserable, resigned and bitter.