As London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson readies himself to launch yet another bid for the Tory leadership, so his back catalogue is at long last being subjected to scrutiny by the media, if not by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press. The racism and drug-taking is belatedly being recognised, as is the shocking scale of waste during his two Mayoral terms. But that isn’t all.
Bozza also kept some seriously questionable company around the time he was running for Mayor, and there is no certainly that he will not return to those friendships, one of which was with Mark Clarke of Tory Bullying infamy. Clarke was handed a life ban by the Tory Party after the furore following the death of young activist Elliott Johnson. He was sacked from his job with Unilever for sexual harassment. Is he still pals with Bozza?
We can see the closeness of that friendship from Bozza’s Facebook page, where in the run-up to the 2010 General Election he told his followers “Been out campaigning with Mark Clarke in Tooting and Phillips [sic] Stroud in Sutton”. Why would London’s Mayor go campaigning in two seats the Tories ended up losing?
Ah well. With Mark Clarke, there was a clear quid pro quo: he’d helped Bozza out during his first Mayoral campaign, as the Staggers reported at the time. Under the heading “No Show For BoJo”, it tells of the University of London Union hustings “Wannabe Tory MP Mark Clarke, Boris’s stand-in for the night, informed the primarily student audience that they would have to do without the blond mop top because he had a prior engagement”.
Bozza had managed to double-book himself, a further demonstration of his ability to talk the talk, and then shamble badly when it comes to organising himself. So he turned to Mark Clarke of all people, who “pointed out Boris had spoken at two other student union events already”. His patter went steadily downhill from that point.
He “told the students he would not ‘patronise’ them by treating them as a special interest group. Then after pledging to avoid ‘gimmicky policies’ he proceeded to insist Boris was a ‘serious player’ who would build them homes when they graduate [cue hollow laughter]. He also described buses as threatening places that teenagers use to hang out in and said Ken should not be voted into office because he is old and tired”.
It then got worse still: “In response to a question on tackling racism, Mark Clarke’s only suggestion seemed to be firing Lee Jasper - who quit as Livingstone’s chief race adviser in March. Lindsey German - the Left List candidate - strongly disagreed with the Tory call while Lib Dem and ex-top cop Brian Paddick argued [that] as there is no investigation into Jasper, Clarke should withdraw his comments”.
This embarrassing image also available with other senior Tories
Also, the connections run deep: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who is cheerleading for Bozza this time, retains the services of lawyer Donal Blaney, former head man of the now-moribund Young Britons’ Foundation. Blaney awarded Clarke the coveted Golden Dolphin award, only to reverse his decision and disown Clarke after the bullying scandal.
So while Bozza is setting out his stall, perhaps he’ll confirm he will not, under any circumstances, let Mark Clarke back in the Tory Party tent. We’re waiting.
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