The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Be Afraid

Via Zoe Williams at The Guardian

I know I don’t live there anymore, but I still care about what happens to my former home city. This is not good news… Boris the Joke Johnson is now Mayor of London. Now they don’t have to imagine… it’s reality.

Londoners – some famous, some not – imagine their city under Boris

Alan Rickman
Actor and director

“If Boris Johnson gets elected it would be a case of the lunatic having no clue how to run the asylum. Good luck to Ken, good luck to all of us.”

Dr Nonee Sen, 68

“Boris has as little knowledge of multiculturalism as I have of life on Jupiter. He used to go to this club in Oxford called the Bullingdon Club, full of snobs and creative conmen. The man has not only no physical ability to run anything, he is immoral and a bully. Boris as mayor would be like discovering you had piles and there was no cure for it.”

Vivienne Westwood
Fashion designer

“Boris as mayor? Unthinkable. It just exposes democracy as a sham, especially if people don’t vote for Ken – he’s the best thing in politics. Unthinkable.”

Ossie Blake, 48
Housing officer

“Apart from the fact that Boris is a buffoon and I think he’s racist, he hasn’t had experience of running things and he’s not a true Londoner. I don’t think he’s supported London issues during his time as an MP. Even in suburban parts of London there is a real shortage of affordable housing. The Conservative-controlled local authorities in London have been fighting Ken over his affordable housing policy, but where is the social housing going to come from if it’s not from that? It would probably be taken to bits if Boris comes in.”

Will Self

“If Johnson were elected? I’d feel that he had neither the acumen nor the gravitas to resist becoming the teddy bear of the 4×4-driving, Laura Ashley headscarf-wearing, inherently inegalitarian and snobbish denizens of Chelsea. I’d feel that we had a buffoon as mayor instead of a reptile, and whatever my disagreements with Livingstone – and they are legion – at least he understands what a swamp this city is.”

Roy Cumberbatch, 40

“I haven’t been voting for a while but I’m going to vote for Ken. It’s quite scary that Boris could get in. It would be like going back to the days of Thatcher with Boris – promises, promises, but no one does anything about it. I’m quite a positive person and I am born and bred here but I’m afraid that London is a racist place. Someone verbalising it out there in the open like Boris did is only going to make things more unbalanced. If he is mayor, it’s going to make it 10 times worse.”

Bonnie Greer

“Boris Johnson in the role of mayor would feel like being trapped on the set of The Wizard of Oz minus the soundtrack and the Technicolor. His election would be the ultimate triumph of the Kensington and Chelsea gulag and the Bullingdon Ascendancy. Please, London. I moved from New York City, for God’s sake, to live among you. Don’t choose the clown!”

Daniel, 42
Office manager

“In Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, there is a scene where a character is talking about another who is a card player and he’s described as ‘a fucking liability’. That’s my idea of Boris. The mouth engages before the mind does. He doesn’t have any sense of diplomacy or tact. London is a cosmopolitan city. You can’t have someone who makes quotes like that [Johnson’s “piccaninnies” comment] representing London, regardless of the fact it was in the past [Johnson wrote the comment in 2002]. Of all the things people say about Ken, in my view he’s done a lot for London. When you go into the city it looks like a European capital now with all the regeneration, and it didn’t before. Trafalgar Square is a much more welcoming place.”

David Mitchell

“Boris as mayor? Lovely to see other comedians getting work, but four years is a bit long for a comedy routine.”

Dave, 24
Graphic designer

“Everyone who thought he’s quite a funny chap will have a bit of a realisation if we wake up on Friday with Boris as mayor. I used to enjoy watching him cycling through London without his helmet, but he is just a massive Tory. A lot of young people are entertained by Boris but he doesn’t say anything of substance. He’s someone you’d want to invite round to dinner and laugh at – not someone you’d want in charge of London. He wouldn’t do anything to help the fact that no one can afford to live anywhere in London, even if you have a reasonably all right job.”

Arabella Weir
Actor and writer

“I will go on hunger strike and throw myself in front of the next horse at Ascot if he wins. Failing that I was going to say I’ll sleep with him, but he’d probably say yes. So instead I’ll chain myself to the railings of his house. And then I’ll move out of London. How do we trust a guy who says he knows about London, when he’s just taken three of his kids out of state school and put them into private schools? That’s a man in touch with the people. He’s loathsome. He’s everything that’s wrong with the upper classes at their worst. Limited, pompous, without any breadth of vision or sense of inclusion. But I don’t even think he thinks he’s up to the job. He said it for a laugh, is my guess, and now he’s got to go through with it.”

Sky Lafoucade, 37
Race and welfare officer

“I would be really upset if Boris got in. He’s made a lot of racist comments and he’s just not for the working class. I can’t believe people would vote for someone who makes racist comments at a time when we should all be coming together. I love the diversity in London, the mix of cultures. Ken has done a lot for London. I don’t like the congestion charge, but it has cut down pollution. I have never done this before, but this week I have been handing out flyers to support Ken. Boris has been very active, but people are not hearing what he’s saying – even if you aren’t black, the stuff he says is wrong. It’s as if he doesn’t care.”

Blake Morrison

“I’m about to go to Australia and if Boris gets in maybe I’ll stay there. If London’s cleaner, friendlier, better run and more integrated than it used to be, that’s partly down to the current mayor. What will Boris do to it? His policies are vague, but past views he has expressed on race and gay marriage inspire no confidence. And the contempt he once showed for the inhabitants of another British city, Liverpool, should rule him out of running this one. All he’s got going for him is fun straw hair and toffish insouciance. London deserves something more serious.”

Peter Kerr, 80

“Boris should be in a three-ring circus. He’s a clown. I like him but I don’t think he’s serious enough for the job. There’s too much personality and not enough on policy. If you ask a question that’s important, they seem evasive all the time. He can’t be a mug, but he doesn’t seem to take anything seriously.”

Inayat Bunglawala
Muslim Council of Britain

“I’m supposed to be nonpartisan but I think a win for Boris would cause great concern in the Muslim community. Despite all his idiosyncrasies, Ken is widely respected as a longstanding anti-racist campaigner and for his welcoming attitude to all minority groups. Boris, on the other hand, has caused a lot of concern, particularly in his writing – he has described Islam, in his own words, as “the most viciously sectarian of all religions”. I just don’t think that sentiment is one you expect from the mayor of a city as diverse as London. The role of a mayor must be to bring people together, but Boris doesn’t seem to have the touch, the common sense, to do that.”

Ron Bennett, 58
Schoolbus driver

“Boris is mad. He wants to bring back bus conductors, but that’s never going to happen. I think he talks rubbish. He’s out of touch and he doesn’t understand Londoners. People say Ken is obnoxious, but what can you do? One thing about him is he knows London.”

Charlie Brooker
Guardian columnist

“I’d sooner vote for a dog than Boris Johnson. Cartoon characters should only run cartoon cities. You can indicate a second preference, so it’s Paddick or Livingstone or no one. Don’t toss London to a rightwing moron, no matter how funny you find his bumbling persona.”

Zia Ahsnain, 50
IT director

“I don’t like the Labour party, but I like Ken – he’s honest. I think he’s done a lot for London and he’s good for the diversity of London.

I don’t think Boris would be good from what I have read about him. Ken is a practical man and he does what he says he will.”

Mark Ravenhill

“If two years ago someone had told me Boris Johnson stood a good chance of being elected mayor of London, I’d have pissed myself laughing. But we have learned, through seeing George Bush in the US, that you can be a buffoon and also be a very destructive and a malign force politically. Johnson doesn’t have a strong instinct for a city that’s as multicultural as London. He’s not an inclusive politician in that way.”

Janet Renford, 35

“If Boris gets in I will be very unhappy. As amusing as he may appear, for someone from an ethnic minority, I don’t appreciate his comments [on race] and you can’t whitewash them away. I felt extremely offended by his comments on black children – you can’t take things like that out of context. He’s got away with insulting the black community because it’s not powerful enough and there’s so much negative reporting about black people in the media. I love London – whenever I go away I miss it. This is my home and where I was born. I love the diversity of London. It used to be diverse in different places, but now it’s all over. I love the colour of London. I love everything about being a Londoner! The people who would benefit under Boris would be rich people – and mainly rich white people.”

Ben Okri

“Sometimes folks live through something a bit like a golden age and don’t know it. I think we’ve been living through one such thing in London. It’s easy to lose a good thing, and it takes wisdom to recognise that it is a good thing.”

Peter Jean-Paen, 43
IT worker

“I like Boris as an individual – I would go for a drink with him. But as someone who is going to run something for us? I don’t think so! If he got in, I would laugh and think ‘What’s going on?’ If he gets in, I think the cost of living will go up. There will be less stuff for youngsters to do. There will be more stop and search. He can’t seem to help himself on race – I don’t think he’s racist, he’s just had a privileged upbringing and doesn’t get what he’s saying. I like the people in London, and the fact it’s very multicultural – that’s a great thing. I think bring everyone in! I don’t think that will change because of one individual, but he will make things harder.”

Bianca Jagger

“As a human rights campaigner who is concerned about climate change, I am personally supporting Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London. He is committed to addressing the impending climate change disaster. I regard him as a ‘Mayor for Peace’: he opposed the war in Iraq and he opposes nuclear weapons. He doesn’t make decisions because they are popular, but because he feels they are morally right.”

Nina Tolstcup, 38

“As a person I don’t think Boris is sympathetic, and what he says is ridiculous. London is an alive and inspiring city to be part of and Ken has a record of supporting arts and culture here. It’s not my impression that Boris would do that. I think this may suffer if he gets in. And the congestion in London would get worse.”

Peregrine Worsthorne

“If Boris loses, that will be bad news for David Cameron. But if he wins it will be much worse news, because the Boris campaign has shown that without the jokes there is nothing there. He just can’t do seriousness and responsibility. So with two years to go before the next election, Boris will have had more than enough time to demonstrate his lack of bottom; a demonstration which will call into question the whole Cameron – a horse from the same lightweight stable – enterprise, rather as – for a very different reason – it would have discredited the whole Blair enterprise if Gordon Brown had been sent in to bat first.”

Mark Cadogan, 44

“I’d be disappointed because I don’t think Boris has the level of competency to run a budget of that size. While I don’t always agree with the way Ken Livingstone goes about things, I generally feel that he is a detail person. In terms of doing something for the greater good of the capital, Livingstone is the best suited.”

Sharon Horgan
Writer and actor

“If I woke up and Boris Johnson was mayor I’d want to give Ken Livingstone a big kick up the arse because it’s all his fault. Boris Johnson is as much Ken’s fault as bendy buses. In fact, Boris Johnson is the human equivalent of the bendy bus: looks like fun but essentially is dangerous and annoying.”

Mark Bell, 27

“I’ve traditionally voted Tory but in this election I’ll vote green, just because I don’t agree with Boris’s environmental policies. His idiosyncratic personality, that bumbling nature, is very appealing, but I’m concerned that he is a schoolboy in shorts. His policies on the environment make me wince and cringe.”

Hip hop artist

“If Boris got in, I’d be petrified. When I read what Boris seems to stand for, it’s clear to me that someone of my background means little or nothing to him. His comments have crystallised for me that he’s no good for multicultural London, which Ken has done a lot for. As a musician and someone who’s watching what’s going on in the world politically, I’m happier with giving Ken another chance than I ever would be letting a joker like Johnson get in.”

Kathleen Streifeneder, 36

“I’m not at all pro-Boris. I’ve seen real improvement on the buses and public transport since Ken Livingstone became mayor. When I came here from New Mexico eight years ago, public transport in London was terrible – there used to be huge queues to buy tickets on the tube. Boris is not the right image for London – all that he represents through his accent, his upbringing, the fact he’s a Conservative. He won’t do a lot of good for normal Londoners, people who have been getting by OK with Ken. Boris would represent the people in Kensington and Chelsea, but not normal Londoners.”

Kwame Kwei Armah
Playwright and actor

“If Boris were elected, I’d feel confused. I would find it challenging that we so willingly condescend to America, and laugh that someone like George Bush could be made president, and then elect someone who is willing to play the buffoon to run one of the most important capitals in the world.”

Adam Blencowe, 27

“I’m worried. I’m worried about Boris’s environmental policies. I enjoy him personally, but I’m not confident about him as a politician. I’m not sure it’s right to have a Conservative in charge of a city like London. He’s made numerous gaffes. He’s MP for Henley – London is a very different set-up.”

Dave Rowntree
Ex drummer, Blur

“It’s hard to know what a Boris victory might mean for London because all he offers are vague, uncosted, headline-grabbing policies. He says he’ll cut crime, but how? He says he’ll tackle immigration, but his proposal is to have a debate – well, what the hell does he think is happening at the moment? The upshot for London could be disaster: he can’t possibly do what he says he’s going to do because he’s got no clue as to how he’s going to do it. It’s all part of his programme to come across as some bumbling, lovable moptop, but the reality is he’s a rightwinger posing as a moderate and that’s very dangerous for London.”

Diana Melly

If Boris were to become mayor I think I might leave London, except I have no idea where I might go. Running London is an incredibly difficult job, and it seems blindingly obvious that one doesn’t want a comedian doing it ·

Boris Johnson in his own words

The MAYOR on race, sex and politics

On homosexuality

“Gay marriage can only ever be a ludicrous parody of the real thing.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2005

“If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.”
· From his book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, 2001

“We don’t want our children being taught some rubbish about homosexual marriage being the same as normal marriage, and that is why I am more than happy to support Section 28.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2000

“The clerics gave us [journalists] a wigging for being so mean to the Church of England … Why did we draw attention to tricky subjects like homosexuality, aka the Pulpit Poofs issue?”
· The Spectator, 2000

“I’m not bisexual so far … not that I would condemn myself if I later discovered I were.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2008

On Africa

“No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.”
· In 2002, on Tony Blair’s visit to the Democratic of Republic of Congo, Daily Telegraph

“Right, let’s go and look at some more piccaninnies.”
· Reported remark, while visiting Uganda, to Swedish Unicef workers and their black driver, the Observer, 2003

On the Commonwealth

“It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2002

On failing to recognise his Filipina housekeeper

“When our housekeeper appeared on stage in her hot pink strapless number [as a finalist of the Mrs Philippines 2005 contest in London], I failed at first to recognise her, surrounded as she was by 10 other Filipina mums, each shimmering in every shade from fuchsia to Germolene … Was that Luz, the No 6, the one with the cleavage? Or was she No 5, with the smile? Surely she wasn’t No 11, the one with the legs. No: wait – that was her, with her hair up. No 8! ‘We want eight,’ we screamed, and waved at good old Luz, a woman who has been exposed to the full horror of the Johnson family washing and yet contrived to look little short of $1m.
· The Spectator, 2005

On his prospects

“My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”
· The Independent, 2004

George Bush and Iraq

“He liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2004

“The Americans were perfectly happy to go ahead and whack Saddam merely on the grounds that he was a bad guy, and that Iraq and the world would be better off without him; and so indeed was I.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2003

On Islam

“The most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.”
· The Spectator, 2005

On race

“I’m down with the ethnics. You can’t out-ethnic me, Nihal … My children are a quarter Indian, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
· To Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Asian Network, 2008

On cannabis

“It was jolly nice. But apparently it is very different these days. Much stronger. I’ve become very illiberal about it. I don’t want my kids to take drugs.”
· GQ, 2007

On sex

“I’ve slept with far fewer than 1,000.”
· On whether he has slept with fewer than 30 women, like Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Daily Telegraph, 2008

“An inverted pyramid of piffle.”
· The Mail on Sunday, 2004, on allegations that he had an affair with Petronella Wyatt, later confirmed.

On obesity

“Nothing but their own fat fault.”

On transport

“I don’t believe [using a mobile phone at the wheel] is necessarily any more dangerous than the many other risky things that people do with their free hands while driving – nose-picking, reading the paper, studying the A-Z, beating the children, and so on.”
· Daily Telegraph, 2002

“The whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion.”
· GQ, while in a Ferrari

On Liverpool

“A society that has become hooked on grief and likes to wallow in a sense of
vicarious victimhood.”
· A Spectator editorial, 2004 (Johnson didn’t write the editorial, but he approved it)

On his arts role

“Look, the point is … er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it.”
· On being appointed Tory Arts spokesman, 2004

On stag hunting

“I remember the guts streaming, and the stag turds spilling out on to the grass from within the ventral cavity … This hunting is best for the deer.”
· From his book Lend Me Your Ears

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  1. May 4, 2008    

    I feel for you, it seems like it was like how Bush got elected (and re-elected) in America. But from what I’ve heard, Boris is on the same level as most U.S. Democrats so…I guess London is turning into the U.S. Sorry.

    melusinas last blog post..Five years?!?!

  2. And it gets a lot worse.

    ? ????? ??? ??????? | St3pp3nw0lfs last blog post..??? ?? ?????.

  3. May 4, 2008    

    Here’s the thing…after every election here people complain about who won. When I ask them if they voted they hummed and hawed and said, well you know, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome or I was busy! Huh, we get the government we deserve and until everyone goes to vote they really have no right to complain with the outcome…just my two cents…ciao

  4. May 5, 2008    

    I agree with you, rositta. It’s so important to vote otherwise those that can be bothered will have all the say. !

    Hope all is well with you and hubby and congratulations on 24 years together!

  5. FiloXenos
    May 5, 2008    

    Nothing to worry about!

    Xenos will find the Greeks even worse!!!!

  6. Margaret
    May 6, 2008    

    DD, I got the news by text when we were away at the weekend, and couldn’t quite believe it … I don’t think we (as individuals) get the government we deserve, but we do get the mayor that most people (who voted) want. We voted in our town too, and the turnout in our ward was less than 30%. How depressing, though there has to be a message in that too. Why are people so disenchanted with the government/local democracy that they cannot be bothered to vote, and why do they mind so much in London that they are prepared to elect Boris to replace Mr Livingstone, or give the BNP a voice? I feel ashamed.

  7. May 6, 2008    

    Is it really necessary to be continually antagonistic towards Xenos?

  8. danilena
    May 6, 2008    

    well for one thing what on earth were the english thinking having elections on a working day anyway ?
    how many people will not go to work, or even worse queue after a day’s work to vote ???
    it might not seem important but I think the public holiday and general bruhaha we have in greece mobilises people. of course it also creates tonnes of rubbish, traffic accidents etc, but at least people get into the mood to vote, albeit for the wrong reasons :-)

  9. George
    May 7, 2008    

    Danilena, that’s why in Greece you have elections on Sunday because the government knows if you have it during the week, that Greeks will just take advantage and make it an extra day off.

    Plus, in Greece, you are not allowed to drink alcohol on election day. This means the government of Greece does not believe you can use restraint when drinking alcohol.

    Plus, in Greece, you still use the ancient bible ways of going back to the province in which you were born to vote. Again, a waste of the tax payers money when they (taxpayers) have to fund bus, train, extra days off from work to make it back to the Horio. Just make em vote where they live and be done with the extra expense on the budget.

    Give me UK, USA voting system! Smooth as silk Kessler….

  10. Xenos
    May 7, 2008    

    Not allowed to drink alcohol on election days? Is this a joke?

  11. danilena
    May 7, 2008    

    george, I agree that some aspects of greek elections don’t make much sense, but I still think that having elections on a working day makes a lot of people not vote. I can’t see what’s wrong with voting on a sunday. you know, not everything greece does is wrong.

    Also, the uk and the us don’t have similar voting systems. in fact the whole organisation of the state, of parties, parliament, elections etc is completely different. the only reason you group them together is because they are different to greece, and that doesn’t really mean anything.

  12. George
    May 7, 2008    

    Xenos, I should have said no alcohol served on voting day, as you can’t really stop a person from drinking.

  13. Jayjay
    May 15, 2008    

    Hardly anyone bothers to vote in the UK anymore – maybe the Greek system would wake people up! To understand why an idiot like Boris is voted for .. you have to live there lately. My sister wanted to go to the library with her son and was shocked to find it was closed to British and was a Polish only day! Her friend had been waiting for a council house for years and when one was found she lost it to a recently arrived Polish family! My sister also has to queue in the post office – while Polish/Albanians have their own desks with their native speakers! Can you see where racism comes from?
    As a Brit living in Greece (20yrs) I would NEVER expect special treatment or think I have the right to tell Greeks how to run their lives or be above Greeks religious/traditional ways – basically if I don’t like it – I can go back to where I came from.