If there’s one thing guaranteed to chill my blood, it’s hearing an otherwise level-headed person confessing their love for Boris Johnson. A shapeless suet dumpling, dressed in a suit he found on a pile outside Oxfam, he’s successfully convinced a majority of voters that he’s the best person to run one of the most diverse and dynamic cities on Earth. It doesn’t seem to matter that he’s barely fit to lead a team on Call My Bluff.
No-one seems to mind that he has trouble sitting down, because of the silver spoon wedged into his firmament. They're too busy chuckling about his funny hair, that looks like he blow dries it with the Large Hadron Collider. Toronto may have its own problems with Rob Ford, but even they must be laughing at us. Every time they see that footage of BoJo hanging off a zipline like the world’s most disappointing piñata – smash him with sticks and the only thing that’ll fall out of him is a collection of Latin bon-mots.
Of course, all this chatter about Boris’ bumbling, oafish persona is just misdirection; distracting you with a comedy sock puppet on one hand, while the other one rifles through the wallet in your back pocket. Worryingly, no one seems to care what actually comes out of his mouth. That’s because they seem to think that they’re voting on Open Mic Night at their local comedy club, rather than handing the keys of the capital to a man inclined towards the kind of eugenics that Aldous Huxley warned of in Brave New World.
In fact, Boris is a chilling representation of the direction the Conservative Party is heading. He’s already more popular than David Cameron (then again, so is a sleeping bag full of Ebola virus), and it’s not inconceivable that he could end up as Prime Minister of the whole country. This week’s fresh outrage came as a response to the Mayor’s offensive comments about IQ and the natural order of society. There is something deeply disturbing about someone whose greatness was mostly thrust upon him, describing how the world ought to work. Peel away the rhetoric, and the accompanying accusations of wilful misinterpretation by the press, and you’re still left with the argument that society should be geared towards further empowering those with every advantage. And the 15% with a lower than average IQ? Well, someone has to pour the tea and dry clean the suits.
Now, before I’m accused of class warfare, let me clarify that this not an attack on the well-to-do. I’m surrounded by people from wealthy families who attended the best schools; some of them even wear red trousers through choice, rather than because they’re Virgin Cabin Crew. And it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that the closest I came to a horse growing up, was the occasional Findus Crispy Pancake. My issue with the Old Etonians and Bullingdon Club alumni, that seem to comprise most of the modern Conservative Party, is the sense of predestined entitlement, and desire to maintain their rarefied status quo.
Yesterday, much was made of the LBC radio host who attempted to punish Boris for his remarks about intellect, by subjecting him to an impromptu IQ test of his own. Once again, the quest for ratings and social media impressions managed to distract us all from the bigger issue at hand. Whether or not you agree with the fact that they were all trickily worded questions, the fact is, we shouldn’t be talking about IQ at all. It still focuses our attention on the notion of intellectual segregation, rather than working towards a more level playing field. One that rewards things like hard work and tenacity, rather than hyphens.
To be quite honest, I'd be much more interested in the results of an EQ test, used to determine someone’s emotional intelligence. For politicians especially, the ability to show empathy and understanding for people in diverse situations and circumstances is far more pertinent than their aptitude for turning semantics to their own advantage.
So Boris can continue stroking his flyaway fringe and pretending to stumble over his words, but I see him for what he is - a wolf dressed as an Aardman Animations sheep. As for those comments about ‘our species,’ and people’s rightful place in the world? Coming from someone who has only ever known a life of privilege and entitlement, they only serve to divide us further as a society. And there’s nothing remotely funny about that.