Boris Johnson last night notched up the Tories’ greatest electoral success since John Major’s surprise victory in the 1992 general election when he unseated Ken Livingstone as mayor of London.
Ecstatic Conservatives cheered at London’s City Hall, at the end of a count lasting more than 15 hours, as the man who had been dismissed as the Bertie Wooster of British politics took charge of one of the biggest political offices in Britain.
Smaller offices also changed:
Mr Johnson’s win followed the trend of local elections results across England and Wales, which saw support for Labour slump dramatically and a surge in popularity for the Tories.
The day of the mayoral election, The Guardian ran a piece headed “Don’t choose the clown!” in which a raggle-taggle collection of 34 different people – among them Vivienne Westwood, Bianca Jagger and Alan Rickman – queued up to say, in an oddly self-congratulatory way, just why they wouldn’t be voting for Boris Johnson.
It seemed that Boris’s joke-telling skills were the principal reason. “I’m happier with giving Ken another chance than I ever would be letting a joker like Johnson in,” said someone called Ty, billed as a hip-hop artist …
Perversely, some comedians – Arabella Weir, David Mitchell – chose to denounce Boris for being a comedian. “Lovely to see other comedians getting work, but four years is a bit long for a comedy routine,” declared Mitchell, without saying why.
Strange people. Brown concludes with:
As GK Chesterton once pointed out, the opposite of funny is not serious: the opposite of funny is not funny.
UPDATE. A reader calls to say that the 1.00pm news on Radio National reported a mayoral victory to Boris Yeltsin.