Boris Johnson’s “Michael Douglas Manifesto”

28 November 2013

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[Boris Johnson from Think London via Wikipedia – click for CC details]

EXCLUSIVE: after an extensive study of the sophisticated political oeuvre of Michael Douglas, the inspiration for the London Mayor’s most recent political outing, I can reveal what Boris Johnson’s manifesto for his inevitable leadership run may look like.

Boris didn’t actually say that Greed Is Good. He managed to avoid the direct quote. The Guardian reports that he did, however, blow the dog whistle of Gordon Gekko Conservatism by lauding the “spirit of envy” and announcing that greed was a “valuable spur to economic activity”. Never mind that Conservatism and Capitalism more generally could be said to be premised on a rather different interpretation of how to be in the world, one which stems from a Protestant understanding of money as the consequence of God’s favour – and never mind that Boris, as an extremely educated fellow, must know that fine well. Never mind that Thatcher dreamed of a Methodist-aspected Britain, not a Wall Street one.

The key point is that this speech could give us an indication of Boris’s policy views: it seems he reaches for ideas from classics of great American political cinema like Wall Street, Black Rain, and Behind the Candelabra. So that we know what to expect after Cameron rides George Osborne’s political Hindenberg into the ground, I’ve collated a series of lines from the films which may give some indication of what a Michael Douglas Manifesto might look like:

* On the economy:It’s plump, juicy, three inches thick. Look at this sorry, miserable, squashed thing. Can anybody tell me what’s wrong with this picture?”

* On defense:Would you give up everything you love to fight an insane war for a little country that’s gonna get its brains blown out in a couple of weeks?”

* On social policy and welfare:Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right.”

* On education:Sometimes you should forget your head and grab your balls.”

* On British values:Fuck like minks, raise rugrats and live happily ever after.”

* On transparency in government:Trust me, James, when the family pet’s been assassinated, the owner doesn’t want to hear one of her students was the trigger man.”

* On the banks:I’ve got a thousand dollars in my pocket; it’s for you.”

* On corruption:A couple of guys I used to work with in the department took some money from some drug dealers. No big deal.”

* On taxation: “Oh, Ricky, you wouldn’t fuck me up the ass if you loved me!”

It looks like a landslide to me. The only thing Tristram Hunt can do if he hopes to derail this unstoppable philosophical machine is start watching as many Catherine Zeta Jones movies as possible.


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