Coffee House

Borismania takes hold

30 July 2012

Boris Johnson has had a fantastic few days. On Thursday he drove a crowd in Hyde Park wild with his Mitt Romney banter. On Saturday he charmed the public with his thoughts on the Olympic opening ceremony (‘People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray.’) Today, in between talking about glistening otters (which in itself is a feat: a politician getting away with talking about how wonderful it is to see semi-naked women in central London and not sounding like a dirty old man), he has emerged as ConHome readers’ hot choice to lead the Tory party after David Cameron.

It’s worth noting that Conservative members still want Cameron to take the party into the next general election: they do not see him as an electoral liability, and rightly so as he consistently polls ten points ahead of his party.

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But when asked who they want as the next Tory leader once Cameron goes, 32 per cent of the site’s readers pick Boris, with William Hague coming in second with 24 per cent.

This is impressive, not least for the obvious reason that Boris isn’t actually an MP and has a significant obstacle to overcome of relinquishing his job as Mayor and being re-elected. But it also shows that Boris is no longer the joke candidate. Yes, he says the most absurd things on a daily basis, but those are now viewed as part of his appeal rather than acting against him: he’s shown he can run City Hall and get re-elected into that position. It’s worth reading Tim Montgomerie’s column in the Times for his view on how Boris has managed this.

For George Osborne, the revelation that only 2 per cent want him to lead the Conservative party suggests the party is losing faith with his abilities. But his shot at the leadership has always been predicated on Cameron’s own success. If Cameron fails to lead the party to success at the polls in 2015, then Osborne’s hopes are dashed anyway. Boris’ success would largely be as a result of Cameron’s failure. This presents a bit of a problem for Boris, though. He would have to resign as mayor and campaign for a parliamentary seat long before it becomes obvious that he has a shot at the leadership. He will have to take an enormous gamble in resigning early as mayor, having gauged Cameron’s hopes of securing a majority – or at least a lead to ensure a coalition from 2015 onwards.

Perhaps one indication of how well Cameron might do in 2015 is the erosion of support the Conservatives are experiencing at grassroots level. ConHome has also found that Tory party membership now stands at between 130,000 and 170,000, down from the 300,000 that Cameron inherited from Michael Howard.

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Show comments
  • Kevin

    “On Thursday he drove a crowd in Hyde Park wild with his Mitt Romney banter”

    No. The crowd cheered at the question “Are we ready?”, which came in between Boris delivering a double whammy to johnny foreigner: one blow to Romney for reading the British press, and one blow worthy of Alan B’stard to Spain and Greece for being unemployed and poor.

  • ScaryBiscuits

    Isabel’s inference ‘that Conservative members still want Cameron to take the party into the next general election’ is not supported by the facts. A slim majority (51%) want somebody else, they just can’t agree on who. Based on these figures, it is far from clear than Cameron would win a leadership election if the requisite 48 Tory MPs called one. The new rules mean that a leader must win a majority of the vote amongst members, not between the incumbent and all the rest but rather between the two chosen by the MPs.

    It’s interesting that the winners in terms of destroying the party by driving away members are Heath, Major and Cameron, all of them tax-n-spend, ‘one nation’ lefties. The ‘hated’ Mrs Thacther held up party numbers whilst Labour party numbers halved in the same period. Under Cameron the party has fewer members than the Labour party for the first time in its history.

    Parties are the bedrock of the leaders’ political power. Cameron is a moron for making it his political mission to alienate party members. He cannot win an election like this and I think most members, even amongst those left, now agree.

  • BuBBleBus

    Boris is an out and out charlatan, so beware all you hero-worshippers, you have been warned.

  • Gordon Norrie

    “49% of ConHome respondees can still want David Cameron as their leader at the next election”
    And that, dear readers, is why the Tory Party is completely finished.

  • Mark Thompson

    I will stick to Nigel Farage thanks.

  • jazz6o6

    Those graphs tell me that an unrepresentative and out of touch clique is in control of the Tory Party. As there is little chance of this situation changing I confidently predict a continuing fall in membership and defeat in the next election.

  • Vulture

    I know Coffee House is a Camerloon spin site, but to claim a majority of Tories want Dave to stay on as leader is a big whopping lie of Goebbelsian proportions.
    Tory membership is heading south towards 100,000 – a non-sustainable base for a national party. And the majority of the 150,000 who have left since Dave began his disastrous leadership were driven out because they were sickened by this non-Conservative charlatan.
    And even of those who remain only a minority ( 49 percent) want him to stick around as leader. Meaning that a 51 % majority do not!
    Face it, Dave represents his crony clique of west Londoin chums and a dwindling band of Liberals and that’s all. He has long lost the country and now his party has gone AWOL.

  • Bill Brinsmead

    Poppet this is silly stuff. The conservativehome poll is seriously flawed – the alleged 1460 members are mostly aged Home Counties UKIPPERS, many of whom post on here. It is constructed and conducted to promote the Ashcroft/ Shakespeare agenda and to get Tim Montgomerie a slot on the Today Programme. Most of us activists see Boris a comedy turn who is good at showmanship and grandstanding.

    • Nicholas

      How do you know that many of those who post here are “aged Home Counties UKIPPERS” you arrogant upstart? You sound like telemachus. People like you make me yawn copiously – always attempting to denigrate those you perceive as a threat to your own smug, sanctimonious view of how things should be. Usually by attributing clichéd stereotype slogans. I’m mildly surprised you didn’t include the words “revanchist” or “dog-boiler”.

      And “poppet”? Silly stuff indeed, but your silly comment rather than Ms Hardman’s blog.

      • Axstane

        And that rant is not denigration of those who hold opposing views? I usualyy see that type of raging abuse on such blogs only from Labour supporters who know no better.

        Start by readig what Bill B said [always a good thing to do]. He wrote of the majority who post on CinHome. This is not ConHome.

        • Nicholas

          Oh, wind your neck in do. And you read the post properly too. Especially the bit that says “many of whom post here”.

          Yes, my post was reactive and responsive to a denigration. Tough. Now go away and yap at someone else – or write something memorable.

          • Axstane

            Many of you do post the same monotonous criticism every day. You are as dull and uninteresting therefore as is telemachus.

        • David Ossitt

          No he bloody well didn’t, he wrote “many of whom post on here” follow your own advice and read it.

  • Percy

    Who are the 2% who want Gidiot, name and shame them!

    • Douglas Carter

      I’d agree but what’s more mystifying, is the concept that someone might think that Osborne garners only 2% is a ‘revelation’?

  • Ron Todd

    Cameron looks less authorative day by day. Traveling on a tube train that just happend to have a film crew then talking about ‘one in the eye for the regime’ when commenting on Syria hardly Churchillian, more like Eton common room (if Eton has anything that is common). I do not see Boris as an alternative what are his actual policies on anything?

    • Nicholas

      Both of them are tossers. People who delight in Boris the clown usually miss the significance of Boris the Bullshitter, Boris the Schemer, and Boris the Fudger in No.10. If Boris can sell out to London Bien-Pensant Socialism what makes anyone think he would resist Whitehall Bien-Pensant Socialism?

      • Dimoto

        The only time that Boris was actually tested – the riots – he looked thoroughly out of his depth. Crowd pleaser, but no PM.

  • Chris Byiers

    This would be fantastic, I truly believe Boris is a superb leader and will help return England to green and pleasant lands, so YES PLEASE, Boris Boris Boris.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      You’re forgetting about his infatuation with immigrants!

      • Nicholas

        And the rest. See my comment above.

  • Frank Sutton

    Cameron not seen as a liability? Presumably the poll didn’t include the 150,000 who’ve left the party since CMD became leader!

  • Curnonsky

    So over Boris.

  • Curnonsky

    So over Boris.

  • Austin Barry

    Anyone who can describe female beach volley competitors as ‘wet otters’ deserves the highest political office available.

    • Sarah

      Except I’ve watched it and they are neither wet nor otter like. And no more semi-naked than any other athlete competing. He does sound like a dirty old man, but then he is, isn’t it.

  • Daniel Maris

    I knew George Osborne is loathed by the great majority of the public – I didn’t realise it extended to COnservative Party Members as well.

  • Woolfie

    Seeing as there are only 5 Tory party members left that means 3 of them don’t like Cameron

  • Fergus Pickering

    From 2012 to 2015 is a long time. And things will be better then,telemachus, you old pessimist, you..

    • Nicholas

      Yes, two and a bit years of relentless Labour Party and Socialist Establishment propaganda, drip-drip-dripping against the Coalition and gleefully tweeked to Common Purpose by the BBC. Meanwhile Cameron poncing about with empty soundbites and useless initiatives as the economy goes to Hell in a handcart, Brussels nails down the lid of the coffin and the Lib Dems perfect the art of foot-shooting.

      • HooksLaw

        Inflation down unemployment down and jobs up. loan costs down and wasteful expenditure cut.
        health reformed welfare reform defence budget in the black. low paid taken out of tax. Pensions nettle being grasped despite union opposition.

        Its the european economy going to hell in a handcart. And dragging us with it.
        But don’t worry we would not expect the swivel eyed loonies to grasp that.

        Boris? Lovely chap. But what has he had to do? No sooner would he be forced to do something necessary but controversial he would drop in popularity.

        • Nicholas

          All that might indeed happen but as in Operation Market Garden you tend forget the presence of the enemy – and the EU.

          Also. wasteful expenditure needs to be eradicated, not just cut in terms of reducing planned increases!

          Pity about the “swivel eyed loonies” jibe. I was enjoying it up to that point.

      • Fergus Pickering

        IOf indeed the economy goes to hell in a handcart then it matters not at all what leftie propaganda the beeb throw. And if the economy looks up ditto. People used to believe the Beeb but they don’t now.

  • Mirtha Tidville

    Conservative Party Members dont see Cameron as a liability…Are you serious???..

    • tele_machus

      Only if Osborne not Johnson is the alternative

      • tele_machus


  • tele_machus

    No worries about Boris.
    At least he will have a job when the Tories are thrown out to let the party of growth in

  • Hilton Holloway

    ‘For George Osborne, the revelation that only 2 per cent want him to lead the Conservative party suggests the party is losing faith with his abilities.’

    ‘Losing faith’. Are you being ironic?

    • tele_machus

      George is the best thing for the country since Atlee
      By being there he will ensure Cameron Clegg and the rest of the revanchists are out on their ear in 2015

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