Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Reading 1- Andrew Gimson, 'The Rise of Boris Johnson'.

Has Andrew Gimson Got News for You?
pic Copyright BBC.

One bit of light reading that I did enjoy over Christmas was Andrew Gimson's biography of his friend Boris Johnson. In a generally sympathetic portrait, the book nonetheless reveals how Johnson despite being bright and charming has made some serious errors that have cost him at times his job, his first and nearly his second marriage. I remember his work as European correspondent on The Daily Telegraph well; he had an engaging way of styling his prose in a way that few journalists could muster. What I did find a little surprising was rather than the accepted wisdom that Johnson had got more Eurosceptic the longer he was in post, actually a fair bit of his material was just playing to the Eurosceptic gallery of The Telegraph and (I write as something of a Eurosceptic myself) rather prone to over-exaggeration and when the occasion demanded it either for reasons of political expediency or time, factual inaccuracy.
On the only occasion I have met him, Boris was actually a little awkward posing for photos and talking to the press. Despite then being an MP there was little of the warm bonhomie and confident buffoon about him but more the air of something of an academic. Nonetheless both in the book and in person, Boris conveys the impression of being a likable, passionate and individualistic politician in an age dominated by grey party hacks.

Andrew Gimson; The Rise of Boris Johnson Published by Simon & Schuster, 2006.


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