Thursday, September 27, 2007

Credibility: the Boris challenge

Boris Johnson, magazine editor, Conservative MP and former member of the Shadow Cabinet, iterant television personality etc, is to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London. Not only that but the selection was unequivocal 15,661 votes out of 20,019 cast. He was the best known and offered a sense of his strategic direction (well scrapping bendy buses and not focusing on Zone 1 exclusively), but can he win the office?

The BBC quotes Tony McNulty, the Home Office minister, who said "for all his strengths as an individual, Boris is essentially a very clever man, but ultimately a clown, and he won't put up with the sort of scrutiny that mayoral candidates do". So credibility is clearly the issue here. Can he position himself as a person that could manage the infrastructure of one of the busiest cities in the world? Can he prove himself as an ambassador for the city? Has the ability to overcome the image of him as the bumbling part-time presenter of Have I Got New For You?

He talks a good talk on his website:
"The job of the Mayor is simple - to get people to work on time, to ensure people feel safe on the streets, to help people find a place to call home, to celebrate our diversity and to champion our success. My determination to lead this city is stronger than ever. After seeing both the good and bad that London has to offer, I am committed to making London greater and standing up for every Londoner that invests so heavily in our city. I want to be a Mayor for all Londoners, from Zone 6 to Zone 1. A Mayor that will listen, will learn and will lead."
But his videos are undeniably bumbling Boris and he has a history of making gaffes so, despite the affection for him, much of which is expressed in comments on Youtube. This history means there may be a long way to go to prove he is the man able to do the things he promises to do despite the anti-Ken (King Newt) sentiment that seems to exist. It will be the ultimate in challenges for his marketing and strategy team.

No comments: