The Independent London Newspaper
26th April 2019

ILLTYD HARRINGTON: The emperor has no clothes

    It has been claimed that David Cameron, in an act of brilliant political tactics, is organising Boris Johnson's return as an MP

    Published: 14 August, 2014

    AND so, here he is; the unstoppable action man, a worthy successor to the mythical Hercules who cleaned up all the mess, the prophet who spoke with more self-delusion than the 17th century Czech fantasist Baron Munchhausen, who flew, fought and conquered the Moon. Not since illusionist David Copperfield made Tower Bridge disappear have we seen such power. Boris Johnson must be a member of the Magic Circle. 

    In spite of this, London is to lose its own Dr Feelgood. His vanity is limitless. 

    After all, didn’t he single-handedly bring the Olympics to London? 

    To those who read the Daily Telegraph the next day, it was brazenly claimed that David Cameron was in fact, in an act of brilliant political tactics, organising the return of the Blond Bomber – a very unlikely script. In dark, damp, political caves it was hinted that Boris Johnson had been promised a cabinet post as business secretary. You would have to be very gullible to believe that the Prime Minister is organising his own assassination. 

    Following the English tradition of fair play and balance, here in his own voice the Mayor of London claims that before 2005, when he was first elected, London was in a financial mess. Now we are supposedly the envy of the world. A bold statement. Rather, it seems to me, it was the Labour government that bailed out the banks at our expense. he went on to say “I have improved transport, public and private.” 

    This, I assume, was the building of Crossrail, a project launched in confusion and screwed up by Gordon Brown’s antics as chancellor, with an anti-London feeling which is common in the Labour Party. Not a kind word was said for his predecessor Ken Livingstone, who took up the cudgels against Brown and the Treasury over tube privatisation. Boris Johnson’s imagination keeps him inured to the real world. A mega-crisis in housing is not being tackled. Rents are soaring. Landlords in central London are even, without remorse, endangering public health by overcrowding. 

    The young lifeblood of London is being drained away. The radius outside which it is possible to take on a mortgage is now about 50 miles from the centre. The population of London is growing very fast. Yet Labour avoids raising the question of rent control and the requisitioning of empty properties. I could go on. 

    Though I didn’t set out to be sarcastic, I now feel that the Boris Johnson charade needs to be exposed. Even Barclays have asked for their bikes back. The question is often raised as to what he has done to or for London. He has followed the brutal cuts in local government services. True he has blustered and blown in his role as the Lord of Misrule, who rose to power on a cloud of irrelevance. He condones dangerous decisions that promote deep inequality. Against the wealth of the oligarchs, here he is with his Tommy Cooper act. It is a dangerous deception. The conspiracy is deep and effective. 

    Boris Johnson, like Snow White’s stepmother, must ask the mirror every morning, who is the fairest of us all? The tight-lipped sycophants reply, “You are, Prince.” 

    Cameron lost the general election of 2010, but the prospectus for the next attack on the welfare state is written and ready. I can even suggest a campaign song, Frankie Laine’s The Great Pretender. But as the little boy shouted in Hans Christian Andersen’s story, “Look, the Emperor has no clothes!”