It is remarkable how slowly the media moves from a pre-ordained narrative that turns out to be wrong.
Boris Johnson having failed to win anything like the support being predicted for him, the win over Ken Livingstone is being seen both as a big step towards Boris being the next Tory leader, and a rare shaft of light for David Cameron on an otherwise dark day. It is hard for both of these views to be right. I think both may be wrong.
Yes, Boris out performed his party just as Ken under performed his. But even with major organisational support and a hugely biased media, he could persuade only 17 percent of Londoners to vote for him. I sensed in his victory speech that even he realises the act is wearing a bit thin. It is also an act that doesn’t travel north, and an act that finds little favour with serious business people like some of those involved in delivering the Olympics who whilst respecting the Mayor’s media skills despair at his inability to master decision making processes.
Should he step up to a really major leadership role, he would need far deeper skills than those shown thus far.
As for the boost to Cameron element of the equation, that too seems more muddy than clear. They do not get on personally. Boris tends to imbibe his own good publicity. He will begin to believe the line that Cameron is out of his depth and that only he could fill the gap. He could quite quickly become a destabilising force in a Party currently destabilising itself enough without him.
As for the ‘two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk’ (that one is sticking with all the force of Anne Widdecombe’s ‘something of the night’ re Howard) it is remarkable that Boris can turn his poshness to his advantage whereas they can’t.
One of the reasons is that their jobs matter more than his so people expect more. As I said on Newsnight last night when we talk about a politician’s CV we mean Competence, Values and Vision. If you have all three clear and in good working order, all should be good.
For Cameron, the vision has never been clear, the values have been made all too clear by the cuts, the tax cut for the rich, the NHS bill and so much more. As for competence, oh dear.
It is possible to get buy with one out of CVV having a bad spell. When all three are knackered it is time to worry.