Boris Johnson’s campaign web site is so bad! In any survey of the world’s political web sites, it would have to rank at or close to the bottom. Not updated in six days (as of Saturday 21 July), it is a feeble thing compared to the Ken Livingstone alternative. If one considers the ultra-smart and sophisticated use of the political web in France recently, just as an example, then the Boris site looks like something put together by hapless wonders. It is simply not a serious piece of work. When I pointed this out to them, they were snooty.
Boris is supposed to be this amazingly creative fellow but he or his people have produced a dire example of political communication. I like Boris very much. He was an admirably inventive Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. I once went there to offer him a job on the Sunday Times. He refused, but paid for lunch. He is very funny. But would you really trust him to run anything? Even if you find Ken Livingstone loathsome, he is a serious politician who can and does run things and has a proven track record where it counts. He warned that the public-private partnerships forced on the tube by Gordon Brown were unworkable. He introduced the London congestion charge which even if you hate it has been notable if only because it is a giant IT project that does not appear to have gone pear shaped. Ditto Oyster. He’s been four-square behind the Olympics, for better or worse. But he was part of the team that won them. He is socially clumsy and lacks tact but financially modest and nobody thinks for a second he is in politics 110% for himself. He lives modestly and has never been tarnished with even a hint of corruption. Plus, he’s a Londoner to his bone marrow. Boris, on the other hand, is always good company but doesn’t really live in London, and has behaved badly in his office as editor of the Spectator (provided you agree with me that it is idiotic to have affairs in the office where you are in charge). He is a funny journalist and an amusing buffoon-like presence on the Tory benches in the House of Commons where to be honest there is little competition. This is where he should remain unless he can prove quickly that we should take him seriously. As it seems that this is all a bit of a lark, it remains to inquire of the famous David Cameron: when do we take you seriously? Are you incapable of producing a serious candidate for the biggest direct electoral mandate in Britain? So much for British democracy. As Boris might say: Cripes!
Bulletin (Sunday July 22): the Boris site has finally been updated; it remains dire.