Maybe it's because I'm a northerner that I fail to see the attraction of Boris Johnson, either as an individual, or indeed as a worthwhile political figure, even though much of the mainstream media would seemingly have us all believe that politically, Boris is the best thing since sliced bread.
Telegraph columnists like Professor Tim Stanley, Isabel Hardman and others have tried hard to convince their readers that Mr Johnson has not only been a roaring economic and political success during his time as London mayor, but somehow also represents a repositioning of Conservative party values that are more in tune with the wider electorates beliefs, when it comes to issues such as the UK's troublesome membership of the European Union and the often thornier subject of mass migration.
At the same time, Mr Johnson's recent announcement that he intends to contest, an as yet unidentified parliamentary seat in 2015, is said to mark a direct challenge to the leadership of David Cameron, the current Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, in the event that Mr Cameron fails to lead his party to victory in next year's General Election. Putting a brave face on Mr Johnson's public announcement, Mr Cameron is said to have welcomed Boris' decision to stand and described the London mayor as one of the Conservative Party's "best players"
Although one suspects that Mr Cameron probably isn't that happy about Boris' decision to stand as an MP, he cannot be seen to publicly oppose him for fear of offending even more of the dwindling numbers of traditional Tory voters, who really do seem to believe that Mr Johnson might just turn out to be the saviour of their party's political fortunes in 2015. Others are not so sure; and unhappily seem to take the view that Boris' erratic nature will no doubt be exposed in the glaring light of a national publicity campaign, where voters in the North, in the Midlands, in Wales, in Scotland and Northern Ireland will see Mr Johnson for what he really is, a rampant right-wing Eton educated rich boy who purposefully hides behind the facade of a generally old-fashioned, but completely harmless British eccentric, when in fact he is nothing of the sort.
One assumes that either Mr Cameron already accepts that the chances of a Conservative electoral victory in 2015 are slim to non-existent, or he really does believe that the presence of Mr Johnson on the campaign trail will actually boost the Prime Minister's chances of being re-elected, ostensibly by Boris helping to undermine the appeal of Nigel Farage and UKIP. It has hardly escaped people's notice that Mr Johnson has regularly positioned himself in similar territory to UKIP, when it comes to the UK's continued membership of the EU and the associated subject of mass migration. The current Conservative thinking seems to be that with Boris talking tough on European Union directives and mass migration, even though he holds no elected parliamentary position or ministerial power, sufficient voters will be attracted to the party's electoral cause in 2015 to give Mr Cameron his second term as Prime Minister.
Even ignoring the fact that Boris first has to identify a potential parliamentary seat, contest it and then win it, such a strategy pre-supposes that Mr Johnson would be able to influence or guide future Conservative policies as regards the EU, which is by no means a certainty. Mr Cameron has already laid out his own plans for some form of renegotiation over the UK's membership of the EU assuming a Tory General Election victory in 2015, to be followed by a national plebiscite on the matter of 2017. However, given his previous history of reneging on his promises, it is hardly a surprise hat a majority of voters are generally unconvinced by Mr Cameron's personal promises on anything, never mind the UK's membership of the European Union, of which the Prime Minister is reported to be a huge supporter. Likewise, his fellow Conservative and possible future opponent for the party leadership, Boris Johnson, is also reported to be an avid reporter of the EU, as well as the concepts of free movement and open borders from which the City of London has been a principal beneficiary.
Despite what Mr Johnson and his supporters may choose to tell the British people, in support of his own campaigns, both for a parliamentary seat and for the Conservative leadership, the reality is that Boris Johnson is simply another self-serving privately educated millionaire, who will do and say whatever it takes in order to achieve their own selfish personal objectives, the acquisition of power and wealth. Unfortunately for Boris, his own previous pronouncements, statements and writings tend to make plain the lie of his so-called personal Euro-scepticism; pointing instead to a Conservative politician who is fundamentally wedded to the concept of Britain's ongoing membership of an all embracing federalist EU, as well as the outrageously unfounded view that Britain's indigenous workforce are more often than not the architects of their own misfortune, by virtue of being lazier and significantly less well educated than their incoming foreign counterparts. According to one of Boris's oft quoted statistics, around one in four Britons (or 25%) will leave primary school being unable to read, write, or do basic maths. Quite whether that particular figure is true or not is unclear, as one doesn't imagine that every British child is individually tested when leaving primary school, although the fact that the London mayor chose to use such a generalised statistic to somehow excuse the use of foreign workers, instead of British born employees, should perhaps be the more noteworthy point.
But therein lies the main problem with Boris. For this writer at least, he is first and foremost a fair weather politician, allowing himself to drift from one populist cause to another, depending on the direction that the winds of public opinion are blowing, from the EU, to immigration, to foreign affairs and then onto the economy.
After all it wasn't that long ago that he was busily berating the likes of David Cameron and Theresa May over the subject of putting limits on the numbers of migrants coming into the country, at the same time suggesting that the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens already within our borders should be given British citizenship, in order to bring them into mainstream society, an amnesty if you will. Of course one could only conclude that these hundreds of thousands of newly created legal citizens would then have been entitled to bring their wives, dependents and extended families into the country as well, adding a few more hundreds of thousands to the already overstretched population; and yet Mr Johnson seemed perfectly happy for this to happen? Fast forward a couple of years and the same Boris Johnson is now demanding that Mr Cameron and Mrs May should be imposing more stringent controls on the numbers of migrants coming into our country, presumably because the national debate has moved on and the public's opinion has changed, so Boris' position has needed to adapt as well.
Although there's little doubt that Boris Johnson is an extremely shrewd political operator, much of the evidence from his time as London mayor suggests that he has not only tried, but has in part successfully managed to politicise a great deal of that city's administration, even though tradition demands that certain offices and services be exempt from party influence. It is also clear that as with a number of other London based local government authorities, Mr Johnson has successfully managed to construct a highly loyal team around him, one that is dedicated to protecting him and his reputation, even if that involves one of them having to take a political bullet for him occasionally.
However, even though Boris' cheery, mildly eccentric, "hail fellow well met" persona might play well with the Conservative party faithful and elements of the wider British electorate, it remains to be seen whether or not Mr Johnson proves to be a vote winner or not. Britain has never been short of colourful characters, or mild eccentrics like Boris Johnson, Magnus Pike, Grayson Perry, Screaming Lord Sutch, Quentin Crisp, Vivienne Westwood, to name but a few; and we might occasionally cast a vote for them in local and national elections just for a laugh or as a protest, but would we really want to give them any real power? Clearly the voters of London decided to trust Mr Johnson with their economic, social and political futures, but despite what the Westminster led mainstream media would have us all believe I'm not so sure that the rest of the country are quite as gullible as their southern cousins are, when it comes to a choice of national leadership. Boris Johnson for Conservative Prime Minister? Not seeing the appeal I'm afraid!