Like a character out of Black adder, London's eccentric mayor Boris Johnson shakes things up at the opening of the conservative party conference. His outspokenness, humor, signature mop of blond hair and silver spoon vocabulary is what has made the British public warm to him more than any other politician of recent times…even the hoodies love him.
The man would have made party leader were he not so mad and it takes a mad man to run a city like London and he is suited for the job. But no one wants to give him the position of part leader in case he becomes Prime Minister, for he may wish to press the red button and nuke France over some ancestral feud that may or may not have taken place 300 years ago.
His party may be under orders to keep their collective mouths shut over Europe however this is Boris Johnson and he is speaking for the Conservative party's soul. It is well known that the core of Conservative supporters want out of Europe altogether even though the shadow front bench is split over this, hence I am sure a very large gagging order from Cameron of Ken Clarke.
So what is it that Boris is saying today to shake the conference up?
He wants so see a referendum on the Lisbon treaty regardless of whether or not the document is ratified. He believes that the people of Britain deserves a vote and quite openly broadcasting it publicly i.e. via interviews with the BBC…you can't get more public than that. His outspokenness is quite intentional and well thought out, he is trying to forced the hand of David Cameron and the rest of the Conservative Party.
His rallying call is centred around the possibility of a former Labour Prime Minister (Tony Blair) becoming the first President of Europe and the implications of such an appointment given his track record in British governance.
Many in the conservative party may wish he would go away and now is not the right time to raise such issues that split the party once before, after all they are on the eve of an election triumph. But I suspect many more are welcoming him upping the game and setting the tone for conference.
It should be interesting at the very least.