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.