ConservativeHome trashes Boris
It refers to Boris as having 'half-baked ideas'; of being 'an embarrassment'; with his 'questionable personal life' ('fact'); his 'clowning around would...make our country, and its voters, look like idiots'. We are told that 'his policy and belief cupboard is consistently bare'; he has a 'deep need to be liked' - the 'weakest and most feeble quality any leader'; 'entirely fake'; 'terrible laziness'; 'lack of preparation'; 'a clown'; 'pitiful'; 'moronic'; 'entirely unsuited for the big time'; a 'Berlusconi comedy leader'; 'a laughing stock'; 'low grade vaudevillian'; 'soiled'; 'self-serving fool'; 'a monkey in high office'; 'a lightweight joker'.
Has the spirit of Michael Howard possessed the ConHome editorial team? In reading this poisonous diatribe, His Grace wondered if they had merely put into words what he himself presented in pictures a few days ago. And then he asked himself if they have simply written what everyone else really thinks. And then he pondered that it's really just a light-hearted, frivolous piece, fit for the end of the silly season, penned by a pseudonymous nonentity after the insignificant fashion of His Grace's entire output.
But ConHome has a unique position within the Conservative Party family: it alone is a professional outfit, purporting to represent the Tory grassroots, financially supported by Lord Ashcroft, pored over daily by politicians of all parties.
For a Conservative blog of ConHome's stature and standing to write so much of Labour's script for them is deeply unfortunate, especially when one considers - as one of the comments in the thread beneath does - that Boris may well run for a third term as Mayor. And this commentator reminds us just how damning and chronically damaging was Theresa May's identification of the Conservative Party as the 'nasty party'.
Boris has his faults - as do we all. And those who stand for public office can expect to be personally attacked and vilified by one's enemies and the opposition. But when the onslaught comes from within; when those from whom one seeks alliance and expects allegiance decide instead to caricature, gang-up, mud-rake and assassinate, the wound cuts deep and the pain can last a very long time indeed.
Whatever you may think of him, Boris is a Tory with conservative instincts. His Grace by no means agrees with him on everything, but in the politics of liberal democracy we are concerned with the administration of Augustine's 'necessary evil' and the discernment of Aquinas' 'lesser evil'. Boris is heartily frustrated with the present leadership's 'pussy-footing' around: he has advocated tax cuts, and describes the values driving him as 'freedom, democracy, taxpayer value and building up the sense of neighbourliness and duty towards each other'. He has signed a pledge demanding a referendum on the EU, and insists ‘Parliament should be sovereign’. This isn't jokey stuff.
Boris is the people’s politician: he (almost) invariably speaks and writes manifest common sense, and has a rare gift for a politician – he is lovable. No matter what his faults and failings, there is something profoundly warming about his personality, and he makes us all smile. He reaches way beyond the Westminster bubble and soars above the petty fray. In an era where the medium is the message, he reaches - as Tim Montgomerie has previously observed - the parts that other politicians simply cannot reach.
And everyone has heard of Boris: like Diana, he has the aura of first-name familiarity about him; not such a one that may breed contempt, but one that endears people to him; one that makes people feel that they somehow know him. There is something cultic about him; to use the vernacular, he has mojo, he creates his own mystery which inevitably yields a loyal following. In that sense, Boris belongs to the people, and God knows that modern politics desperately needs politicians with whom the electorate wants to engage; politicians who can lead and create disciples.
There is no shortage of talent on the Conservative backbenches, but God knows the party is certainly short on potential future leaders. This is by no means the first time His Grace has taken issue with ConHome: they have, after all, previously advocated that Islam should become the state religion. But they ought to be aware that, of all Conservative blogs, they alone are quoted by Labour at the despatch box - sometimes to damning effect.