Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 15:11

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson -opening bell at NASDAQ-14Sept2009-3c cropped.jpg

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is a British journalist and Politician, who serves as the current Mayor of London. He began his career as a trainee reporter on The Times but was sacked for making up a quote. From 1987 he worked at the Daily Telegraph where he became a leader-writer and assistant editor. He was editor of The Spectator from 1999, remaining in the job after his election in 2001 as MP for Henley until 2008. He was elected as London Mayor on 2 May 2008. Johnson is known for his unkempt appearance, effective use of humour, and eccentric approach to public life. He has attracted press interest over his private life.

SourcedEdit

  • Unlike the current occupant of the White House, he has no difficulty in orally extemporising a series of grammatical English sentences, each containing a main verb.
    • Telegraph Column, Oct 21, 2008, endorsing Barack Obama
  • Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase… Indeed, high Chinese culture and art are almost all imitative of western forms: Chinese concert pianists are technically brilliant, but brilliant at Schubert and Rachmaninov. Chinese ballerinas dance to the scores of Diaghilev. The number of Chinese Nobel prizes won on home turf is zero, although there are of course legions of bright Chinese trying to escape to Stanford and Caltech… It is hard to think of a single Chinese sport at the Olympics, compared with umpteen invented by Britain, including ping-pong, I’ll have you know, which originated at upper-class dinner tables and was first called whiff-whaff. The Chinese have a script so fiendishly complicated that they cannot produce a proper keyboard for it.
    • Have I Got Views for You p277
  • The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more... Consider Uganda, pearl of Africa, as an example of the British record. ... the British planted coffee and cotton and tobacco, and they were broadly right... If left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain. You never saw a place so abounding in bananas: great green barrel-sized bunches, off to be turned into matooke. Though this dish (basically fried banana) was greatly relished by Idi Amin, the colonists correctly saw that the export market was limited... The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.
    • Discussing his views on Africans and "Instant Carbohydrate Gratification" The Spectator 2 February 2002
  • It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving picaninnies; and one can imagine that Blair, twice victor abroad but enmired at home, is similarly seduced by foreign politeness. They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and 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.
    • Daily Telegraph 10 January 2002
  • The proposed ban on incitement to “religious hatred” makes no sense unless it involves a ban on the Koran itself; and that would be pretty absurd, when you consider that the Bill's intention is to fight Islamophobia.
    • Daily Telegraph 21 July 2005
  • Ok, I said to myself as I sighted the bird down the end of the gun. This time, my fine feathered friend, there is no escape.
    • Friends, Voters, Countrymen p59
  • Not even Mr Blair has been able to erode the unions conviction that we all have a “right” to a minimum wage… Both the minimum wage and the Social Charter would palpably destroy jobs.
    • Lend Me Your Ears p387
  • Labour's appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it.
    • The Spectator 15 April 2000
  • Not only did I want Bush to win, but we threw the entire weight of The Spectator behind him.
    • Have I Got Views for You p272
  • That is the best case for Bush; that, among other things, he liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me.
    • Daily Telegraph 26 February 2004
  • Dark forces dragged me away from the keyboard, swirling forces of irresistible intensity and power.
    • "A wise guy playing the fool to win", Sunday Times, 16 July 2000, p. 17.
    • While at the Daily Telegraph, explaining why his work was usually late.
  • Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious.
    • Beth Pearson, "Has Howard got news for Boris?", The Herald (Glasgow), 13 November 2004, p. 15.
    • Explaining why he quit after a week as a management consultant.


  • But here's old Ken - he's been crass, he's been insensitive and thuggish and brutal in his language - but I don't think actually if you read what he said, although it was extraordinary and rude, I don't think he was actually anti-Semitic.
    • "Quotes of the Day", The Times, 18 February 2005, p. 2.
  • I love tennis with a passion. I challenged Boris Becker to a match once and he said he was up for it but he never called back. I bet I could make him run around.
    • Hickey, The Express, 21 March 2005.
  • I'm having Sunday lunch with my family. I'm vigorously campaigning, inculcating my children in the benefits of a Tory government.
    • "2-minute interview: Boris Johnson", The Guardian, 11 April 2005, p. 7.
    • Asked whether he was canvassing at Sunday lunchtime.
  • Howard is a dynamic performer on many levels. There you are. He sent me to Liverpool. Marvellous place. Howard was the most effective Home Secretary since Peel. Hang on, was Peel Home Secretary?
    • Ben Macintyre, "'Hello, I'm your MP. Actually no, I'm your candidate. Gosh'", The Times, 19 April 2005, p. 23.
    • On Michael Howard.
  • What we hate, what we fear, is being ignored.
    • "Labour's cleaning up on the council tax", 21 April 2005, p. 24.
    • On the fears of MPs.
  • Yes, cannabis is dangerous, but no more than other perfectly legal drugs. It's time for a rethink, and the Tory party - the funkiest, most jiving party on Earth - is where it's happening.
    • "No one obeys the speed limit except a motorised rickshaw", Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2001, p. 27.
  • I don't see why people are so snooty about Channel 5. It has some respectable documentaries about the Second World War. It also devotes considerable airtime to investigations into lap dancing, and other related and vital subjects.
    • "What has the BBC come to? Toilets, that's what", Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2002, p. 29.
  • We are confident in our story and will be fighting this all the way. I am very sorry that Alastair Campbell has taken this decision but I can see that he got his tits in the wringer.
    • Catherine Macleod, "Angry Blair takes on press", The Herald (Glasgow), 24 April 2002, p. 1.
    • On Campbell's negative reply to the Spectator's report that the Government had influence the Queen Mother's funeral arrangements.
  • Nor do I propose to defend the right to talk on a mobile while driving a car, though I don't believe that 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.
    • "To the lady who berated me, I say: on your bike", Daily Telegraph, 1 August 2002, p. 21.
  • I forgot that to rely on a train, in Blair's Britain, is to engage in a crapshoot with the devil.
    • "A horse is a safer bet than the trains", Daily Telegraph, 3 July 2003, p. 22.
  • I have as much chance of becoming Prime Minister as of being decapitated by a frisbee or of finding Elvis.
    • Ephraim Hardcastle, Daily Mail, 22 July 2003, p. 13.
    • Asked by pupils of Gillott's School in his constituency whether he would like the job of Prime Minister.
  • The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their MP, they have run out of better ideas.
    • "What's wrong with 40 Liverpool Road?", Daily Telegraph, 18 September 2003, p. 24.
  • The Lib Dems are not just empty. They are a void within a vacuum surrounded by a vast inanition.
    • "The least said about Lib Dems, the better", Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2003, p. 24.
  • Any seat would be mad not to take him. He's a terrific chap.
    • "Keeping it in the family", Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2004, p. 29.
    • On his father, Stanley Johnson's plans to become an MP.
  • It is just flipping unbelievable. He is a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet. He is barely human in his elusiveness. Nailing Blair is like trying to pin jelly to a wall.
    • "The BBC was doing its job - bring back Gilligan", Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2004, p. 21.
    • Reaction to the Hutton Report.
  • As snow-jobs go, this beats the Himalayas.
    • "The BBC was doing its job - bring back Gilligan", Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2004, p. 21.
    • Reaction to the Hutton Report.
  • Some readers will no doubt say that a devil is inside me; and though my faith is a bit like Magic FM in the Chilterns, in that the signal comes and goes, I can only hope that isn't so.
    • "What's so funny about the Passion?", Daily Telegraph, 4 March 2004, p. 24.
  • If Amsterdam or Leningrad vie for the title of Venice of the North, then Venice - what compliment is high enough? Venice, with all her civilisation and ancient beauty, Venice with her addiction to curious aquatic means of transport, yes, my friends, Venice is the Henley of the South.
    • "Paying through the Doge for Europe", Daily Telegraph, 11 March 2004, p. 22.
  • He's lost the plot, people tell me. He's drifting rudderless in the wide Sargasso Sea of New Labour's ideological vacuum.
    • "Blair dead in the water? No such luck", Daily Telegraph, 29 April 2004, p. 24.
    • On Tony Blair.
  • Look the point is ... er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it.
    • Toby Helm, "Boris Johnson named shadow arts minister", Daily Telegraph, 7 May 2004, p. 12.
    • On being appointed Shadow Arts Minister.
  • It was a stellar performance. I may as well give up now and make way for an older man.
    • Hickey, The Express, 12 May 2004.
    • On his father Stanley's appearance on Have I Got News For You.
  • There is absolutely no one, apart from yourself, who can prevent you, in the middle of the night, from sneaking down to tidy up the edges of that hunk of cheese at the back of the fridge.
    • "Face it: it's all your own fat fault", Daily Telegraph, 27 May 2004, p. 24.
    • On the dangers of obesity.
  • My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.
    • "You ask the questions", The Independent, 17 June 2004, p. 7.
    • Asked "Admit it: you want to become prime minister, don't you?" by Amanda Findlay of Bolton.
  • I didn't see it, but it sounds barbaric. It's become like cock-fighting: poor dumb brutes being set upon each other by conniving television producers.
    • David Smith, "Focus: Big Brother brawl", Observer, 20 June 2004, p. 17.
    • On Big Brother.
  • I have not had an affair with Petronella. It is complete balderdash. It is an inverted pyramid of piffle. It is all completely untrue and ludicrous conjecture. I am amazed people can write this drivel.
    • Simon Walters, "Boris, Petsy and a 'pyramid of piffle'", Mail on Sunday, 7 November 2004, p. 7.
    • Denying accusations of his having an affair with Petronella Wyatt.
  • I advise you all very strongly - go for a run, get some exercise, and have a beautiful day.
    • Valentine Low, "Shiver me timbers Boris", Evening Standard, 15 November 2004, p. 3.
    • Cornered by reporters asking about his affair after a morning run.
  • Tremendous, little short of superb. On cracking form.
    • David Charter, Joanna Bale, "Tories suggest door will open for Boris Johnson to return", The Times, 15 November 2004, p. 7.
    • Asked how he was feeling after being sacked as Shadow Arts Minister for having misled Michael Howard.
  • Nothing excites compassion, in friend and foe alike, as much as the sight of you ker-splonked on the Tarmac with your propeller buried six feet under.
  • My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.
  • I can't remember what my line on drugs is. What's my line on drugs?
    • "The Genelection Game", Sunday Mirror, 24 April 2005, p. 19.
    • During the campaign trail of the 2005 general election.
  • Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.
    • Francis Elliott, "Boris casts his vote: 'Spectator' editor tells 'Desert Island Discs' he'll quit to spend more time with David Cameron", Independent on Sunday, 30 October 2005, p. 3.
    • Said in April 2005 during the general election.
  • Old Man Howard, that Old Man Howard, he just keeps rolling, just keeps rolling.
    • Andrew Pierce, "Boris on a roll", The Times, 29 April 2005, p. 40.
    • When asked by The Oxford Student whether he sees anyone amongst his younger colleagues who would one day replace Howard.
  • I’m very attracted to it. I may be diverting from Tory party policy here, but I don’t care.
    • Andrew Pierce, The Times, 30 April 2005, p. 42.
    • When asked about the 24 hour drinking legislation.
  • Life isn’t like coursework, baby. It’s one damn essay crisis after another.
    • "Exams work because they're scary", Daily Telegraph, 12 May 2005, p. 22.
  • I'm backing David Cameron's campaign out of pure, cynical self-interest.
    • "Conference Diary", The Independent, 5 October 2005, p. 7.
    • On The 2005 Conservative Leadership Contest.
  • I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed so it didn't go up my nose. In fact, it may have been icing sugar.
    • "Londoner's Diary", Evening Standard, 17 October 2005, p. 15.
  • I'm a rugby player, really, and I knew I was going to get to him, and when he was about two yards away I just put my head down. There was no malice. I was going for the ball with my head, which I understand is a legitimate move in soccer.
    • Ed Harris, "Boris bites Herr legs...: The MP for Henley does his bit for Anglo-German diplomacy", Evening Standard, 4 May 2006, p. 9.
    • On his tackle on German midfielder Maurizio Gaudino in a charity football match.

2008Edit

  • Look, I wouldn't trust Harriet Harman's political judgement.
    • "BBC News Video Interview", BBC News, 2nd May 2008
    • When told the Harriet Harman (Labour Politician) thought he had won the election for London Mayor.

First Speech As London MayorEdit

First Speech as Mayor of London, at City Hall (3rd May 2008).
  • Thank you very much Mr Meyer, Anthony Meyer that is. I want to thank you, I want to thank the police of course, and my wife Marina and my family, and my utterly brilliant campaign team, the Conservative GLA candidates — some of whom were extremely unlucky tonight — and of course the thousands of Conservative activists, the ward captains and knocker-uppers who did such an amazing job today, and indeed yesterday, rather.
  • This has been a marathon election as you can tell with a record turnout and I think it has been good for politics and it has been good for London.
  • I want to thank Sian [Berry, Green Party] and Lindsey [German, Left List] and Alan [Craig, Christian Peoples Party] and Gerard [Batten, UKIP], who have sometimes joined us for hustings, but mainly I want to thank my two colleagues in the strange triumvirate who have been trundling around London's church halls and TV studios violently disputing the meaning of multiculturalism and the exact cost of conductors. On which point I think I'm going to declare victory.
  • And I want to congratulate you Brian on your great common sense and decency with which you put your case and I do hope that it is not the end of our discussions about the police.
  • And as for Ken, Mayor Livingstone, I think you have been a very considerable public servant and a distinguished leader of this city.
  • You shaped the office of mayor. You gave it national prominence and when London was attacked on 7 July 2005 you spoke for London.
  • And I can tell you that your courage and the sheer exuberant nerve with which you stuck it to your enemies, especially in New Labour, you have thereby earned the thanks and admiration of millions of Londoners, even if you think that they have a funny way of showing it today.
  • And when we have that drink together which we both so richly deserve, I hope we can discover a way in which the mayoralty can continue to benefit from your transparent love of London, a city whose energy conquered the world and which now brings the world together in one city.
  • I do not for one minute believe that this election shows that London has been transformed overnight into a Conservative city but I do hope it does show that the Conservatives have changed into a party that can again be trusted after 30 years with the greatest, most cosmopolitan, multi-racial generous hearted city on earth in which there are huge and growing divisions between rich and poor.
  • And that brings me to my final thank you which is of course to the people of London.
  • I would like to thank first the vast multitudes who voted against me - and I have met quite a few in the last nine months, not all of them entirely polite.
  • I will work flat out from now on to earn your trust and to dispel some of the myths that have been created about me.
  • And as for those who voted for me, I know there will be many whose pencils hovered for an instant before putting an X in my box and I will work flat out to repay and to justify your confidence.
  • We have a new team ready to go in to City Hall. Where there have been mistakes we will rectify them. Where there are achievements we will build on them.
  • Where there are neglected opportunities we will seize on them, and we will focus on the priorities of the people of London: cutting crime, improving transport, protecting green space, delivering affordable housing, giving taxpayers value for money in every one of the 32 boroughs.
  • And I hope that everybody who loves this city will put aside party differences to try in the making of Greater London greater still. Let's get cracking tomorrow and let's have a drink tonight.

2010Edit

  • In 1904, 20 per cent of journeys were made by bicycle in London. I want to see a figure like that again. If you can't turn the clock back to 1904, what's the point of being a Conservative?
  • Had it been us staging the Games, I don't think we would necessarily have done the switcheroo with the girl with the braces
    • "Boris Johnson In Beijing", The Guardian, 21 August 2008
    • When asked whether he had any criticisms of the Beijing Olympic Games.
  • The meat in the sausage has got to be Conservative
    • BBC News Interview with Jeremy Paxman, BBC News, 7 May 2010
    • Johnson on the possibility of a coalition after the United Kingdom general election, May 2010.
      • Johnson: Whatever type of Wall's sausage is contrived by this great experiment, the dominant ingredient has got to be conservatism. The meat in the sausage has got to be Conservative, I would say. With plenty of bread and other bits and pieces.
        • Paxman: The question is whether it's a chipolata or a Cumberland sausage, I suppose, is it?
      • Johnson: This is fantastic to listen to. Enough of this gastronomic metaphor!
        • Paxman: You started it!
      • Johnson: Well, I've had enough of it!
        • Paxman: Haven't you got a city to run?
      • Johnson: I have got a city to run and that's exactly the point! The government of London will carry on irrespective of the temporary difficulties in providing a national government. Thank you.
        • Paxman: Bye bye, Boris!
  • The excitement is growing so much I think the Geiger counter of Olympo-mania is going to go zoink off the scale.
    • On the forthcoming London Olympic Games. Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2012.
  • They are like glistening wet otters frolicking.
    • Telegraph column, 31 July 2012
    • On woman's beach volleyball at the 2012 Olympic Games.

2013Edit

Peking university, Beijing (14 October 2013) Joint speech to students
  • Who, according to JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels, was Harry Potter's first girlfriend? Who is the first person he kisses? That's right, Cho Chang, who is a Chinese overseas student at Hogwarts school," he said, to laughs and scattered applause. "Ladies and gents I rest my case."
  • Now can I ask you a question," "Why is it that we're lucky to have so many Chinese students? Is it because of the weather? Is it because we have so many French restaurants? Is it because we have so many communist bicycles?"

AttributedEdit

  • The President is a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises the arrogance of American foreign policy.
    • Unsigned editorial entitled "Infantile resentment" in The Spectator, 22 November 2003, p. 7.
    • On George W. Bush.

AboutEdit

  • Boris was told to engage his brain before speaking in future.
    • Conservative Party official, quoted in "Black Dog", Mail on Sunday, 12 September 2004, p. 26.
  • You are a self-centred, pompous twit. Even your body language on TV is pathetic. Get out of public life. Go and do something in the private sector.
    • Paul Bigley (brother of murdered hostage, Kenneth Bigley) to Johnson on Radio City in Liverpool. Quoted in Nigel Bunyan, "Have we got views for you, Mr Johnson", Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2004, p. 3.
  • Boris Johnson, people always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is Boris a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'
  • Most politicians, as far as I can work out, are pretty incompetent, and then have a veneer of competence, you do seem to do it the other way around.

External linksEdit

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