Which brings us to Boris Johnson. It is perhaps a kindness to some of you, who remember his genial outings on this page over many years, to advise that those of a sensitive disposition, who harbour affection for the Conservative candidate, might do better to switch off now.
Mr Johnson is not a politician. He is an act. The same stricture could fairly be applied to Mr Livingstone. Mr Johnson\’s act is, though, more finely wrought.
He is serving a very useful purpose for his party. It was decided, presumably by one of the advertising men who now control the Conservatives, that the only way to beat an act was with another, even better one. They certainly went to the right man.
I want to dismiss a prejudice about Mr Johnson, and I do so as one who has known him for the past 20 years. It is that he is a buffoon. He isn\’t.
The act is calculated and it has required serious application and timing of the sort of which only a clever man is capable. For some of us the joke has worn not thin, but out. Yet many less cynical than I am find it appealing. It conceals two things: a blinding lack of attention to detail, and (though this might seem to sit ill with the first point) a ruthless ambition.
Mr Johnson is the most ambitious person I have ever met. That ought to be a commendation for high office, since ambitious people normally understand they will go further only by doing their present job well. Mr Johnson\’s scattergun approach to life will not allow this.
In his superb biography of him, my colleague Andrew Gimson outlines the practice that has allowed Mr Johnson to get so far in life: he has used his charm, to which only a few more seasoned hands are immune, to enlist at every stage what Mr Gimson calls "stooges" to help him advance.
There were stooges when Mr Johnson was en route to be president of the Oxford Union. He has had stooges all through journalism, who did significant parts of his various jobs for him, usually with little thanks or reward. And now there are stooges in politics.
That\’s from Simon Heffer. That is, prety much Boris\’ boss at The Telegraph. With friends like that, who needs enemies?