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A right-wing newspaper columnist tears into another

I do not much care for Simon Heffer, the columnist who writes regularly for The Daily Telegraph. Even if I agree with him on certain issues, he has a way of making his points in a state of such constant anger that I find him rather wearying to read, rather like Paul Johnson in the Daily Mail – though Paul Johnson is to my mind much better when writing his history books, which I regard as superb. Mr Heffer also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, if my judgement of this column, attacking Boris Johnson, is correct. Mr Heffer went to a grammar school in Essex, one of the best in the country, in fact. Boris Johnson went to Eton. For some people of a certain cast of mind, that is damning enough. But Heffer goes on to write a remarkably personal attack on BJ for his frivolity, lack of management skills, exploitation of old friends and colleagues, and so on. Blimey. I wonder what personal animus might bubble beneath the surface. It is not as if Johnson’s shortcomings were heavily classified secrets.

I sympathise with Heffer to an extent: if the Tories are going to challenge for the mayorality, is Boris really the best on offer? Maybe the harsh truth is that he is. For all that the mayor has a large budget and can make quite a difference to life in The Smoke, the job still has a slightly circus-act feel about it.

But as I have said before, I have reservations about why London needs to have a mayor in the first place. I am still undecided whom I will vote for on 1 May.

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14 comments to A right-wing newspaper columnist tears into another

  • Dick

    Would a libertarian rather have Ken or Boris? I know the hypothetical answer should be “no-one at all”, but in the world today as it stands…

  • Vote UKIP then. However, Ken is far worse that Boris will be. I mean you might not like Boris, I rather like the guy, but you can be sure he won’t be sucking up to terrorists and their appeasers like Ken. I suspect if Ken is removed by the voters there will be all sorts of vileness uncovered.

  • M

    The only sensible policy would be to get rid of the office of Mayor of London. It was a New Labour creation, and like 99% of what Labour have created, it should be abolished.

  • JezB

    I am still undecided whom I will vote for on 1 May.

    Then you must be an idiot.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Then you must be an idiot.

    Hey, nice to hear from you too.

    I genuinely cannot figure out whether Boris J is better/worse than the Lib-Dem guy or the UKIP candidate, on the basis of what I have read about them and their views.

  • permanentexpat

    Leaders…and I reckon Mayors could fall into that category…are (mostly) only as good as their advisers.
    “A man is known by the friends he keeps.” is not a bad maxim when faced with the mayoral choice.

  • joe

    How can you not be decided?
    A vote for anyone other than Boris is a Vote for Livingstone. A vote for Livingstone is bad enough in and of itself, but it is also a vote of confidence in Gordon Brown.

  • We must remember that Simon Heffer is reputed to have written the Speccie piece which accurately characterised Liverpool (my local sink-city) a couple of years ago, and for which Boris had to go, by order of the deranged Michael Howard, and apologise. I seem to remember that lots of locals here appaluded Boris and cheered him wherever he went on that day… to the consternation of his Gestapotory-minders.

    You must also remember that each one went to The Opposite University, er, from the other one.

  • I have reservations about why London needs to have a mayor in the first place.

    Reservations? London managed just fine for many years without a mayor. Why on earth do we need an extra tier of arrogant and rapacious government? Mayors… do not want.

  • Julian Taylor

    London manages just fine with a proper mayor, who is elected by a proper voting system designed not to confuse the voters by being packaged alongside 2 other election calls. Said proper mayor can only serve 12 months and his tasks include “working for Britain as a whole, supporting and promoting the world’s leading international financial centre, the City of London, both at home and abroad. His position as a trusted spokesman for the business community is enhanced by the entirely apolitical nature of his office”.

    Of course I am referring the Lord Mayor of London, a position that still commands enough respect by having
    men of sufficient calibre hold its office. Perhaps Mr Johnson, Comrade Livingstone and Mr Paddick should learn what that means.

  • Jon B

    Did you not see Boris Johnson’s feeble performance on Question Time last week ? However likeable he may have been on “Have I Got News..” he’s now clearly transformed into a robotic apologist for the agenda of the ruling class.

    Anyway, you should never, ever even consider voting Conservative. The destruction of the Tories is a prerequisite for libertarian political progress. Sean Gabb(Link) or Peter Hitchens (Link) explain why (differently).

  • Tim has an interesting take on Boris:
    (Link)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A vote for anyone other than Boris is a Vote for Livingstone. A vote for Livingstone is bad enough in and of itself, but it is also a vote of confidence in Gordon Brown.

    Well I certainly won’t be voting for Livingstone, who apart from the qualified exception of the C-Charge, has been a high-spending waste of time with dodgy cronies and even worse associations with anti-semites and whatnot. So you can spare your anxieties that I will be voting for him.

  • Tim Sturm

    Jonathan – you are unfair to Heffer.

    Heffer is right on the money that it is sad that we live in a world where the only way to fight the cynicism of Ken is with the buffoonery of Boris.

    Ken is the quintessential post-modern cynic. Like Heffer, I would love it if someone were able to confront Ken head on, fighting nihilism with values and principles. That this seems so impossible suggests that we are losing the fundamental battle. But Ken is so fundamentally rotten inside that I’ll accept getting rid of him in any way possible.

    “Even if I agree with him on certain issues, he has a way of making his points in a state of such constant anger that I find him rather wearying to read”

    Anger shows that he is prepared to uphold his values. If only we had more people like that!