Bursting Boris’s bubble

I’m not normally a great one for polemic – there’s more than enough of it already. But I can’t resist posting Max Hastings’ verdict on Boris, which my own experience echoes tamely.

I have known the mayor for more than 20 years. He worked for me as EU correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and then as a columnist when I was the paper’s editor, and I have seen plenty of him since.

He is a magnificent journalist and showman. He proved himself the perfect maitre d’ for the London Olympics. But few maitre d’s are fit to cook the dinner

Most politicians are ambitious and ruthless, but Boris is a gold medal egomaniac.

I would not trust him with my wife nor — from painful experience — with my wallet. It is unnecessary to take any moral view about his almost crazed infidelities, but it is hard to believe that any man so conspicuously incapable of controlling his own libido is fit to be trusted with controlling the country.

His chaotic public persona is not an act — he is, indeed, manically disorganised about everything except his own image management. He is also a far more ruthless, and frankly nastier, figure than the public appreciates

I would not take Boris’s word about whether it is Monday or Tuesday. I feel a twinge of regret for speaking so harshly, because I am as susceptible as most of the British people to Johnson’s brilliant, warm, funny public persona.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London