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Monday 30 April 2012

Crikey Readers, More Bozza F-Words!

[Update at end of post]

With opinion polls still showing the two main contenders for the London Mayoralty in a close race, the last thing needed by the campaign of occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson today was the kind of gaffe that would alienate those Daily Mail reading voters who inhabit the outer ring of the fabled London “doughnut”, from where much of Bozza’s 2008 edge came.

But all the hard work by the deeply unpleasant Lynton Crosby came to naught earlier today, as Bozza produced an act of voter alienation that could not have been better timed had it been done to order. The lead up to the candidate inadvertently melting down live on air is equally important, though: the BBC’s Tim Donovan, whose questioning had given Ken Livingstone such a hard time, had homed in on Bozza.

But Johnson kept avoiding any kind of inquisition from the Beeb man, even to the extent of sending his singularly unsavoury deputy Kit Malthouse to be his stand-in on the Sunday Politics London yesterday. The appalling Maltloaf spent much of Donovan’s interview veering from righteous indignation that he was being asked questions to smearing the Corporation to try and shut him up.

This morning, Donovan’s revelation that Johnson had been courting the Murdoch empire for sponsorship for his vanity Cable Car while dismissing Phonehackgate as “Codswallop” was gaining traction as Bozza was forced to say something on camera. He did not disappoint: as the sun shone and the breeze blew through his routinely disorderly mop, Johnson forcefully made his point.

I don't know of any discussions going on about that [Murdoch] but what I can tell you is that I think it's right to work with the private sector to get contributions that will be for the benefit of London. I'm very proud that over the last four years we've got more than £100m in sponsorship that I've raised for this city: £50m for the bikes, £36m for the cable car” which doesn’t add up, but that’s Bozza for you.

And then he lost it: “You've got to get this on the air! Come on, this is the most important thing. Stuff [Tim] Donovan and his f***ing bollocks”, this from a Mayor who said, only last October, that anyone caught swearing at Police should expect to be arrested, as part of a new zero-tolerance approach following the London riots. Clearly the Beeb are lesser beings than the Met’s finest.

The spin from the right, denouncing Donovan as a “leftist”, is now winding up to full speed, but the damage has been done. Having a wee swearie might be OK with your Jolly Good Chums from School, but the kind of voters that turned out last time and put Bozza in City Hall don’t look kindly on what the BBC Announcer calls “very strong language”.

[h/t to Political Scrapbook for grabbing the video]

[UPDATE 1 May 1030 hours: the potential negative effect for Bozza and his pals was always going to be minimised, providing his wee swearie could be kept out of the Daily Mail. But, sadly for the Tories, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has clearly decreed that anyone using the F-word in public, rather than at his paper's editorial conferences, should not get off without suitable admonishment.

So "Boris in foul-mouthed rant at TV interviewer" is the headline that all those good outer London Mail readers will read over their tea and toast today. The frankly Ron Hopeful angle, throwing in "'Every time Boris swears he gains three points in the poll' a No 10 source said" - probably contributed by a suitably grovelling Tory supporter like the odious Quentin Letts (let's not) - will not lighten their mood.

Those readers will know what Bozza said - the number of asterisks having been carefully and correctly chosen - and it could make a difference]

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