The Blond has won. Where to begin? How about with the interview given to The Week In Westminster by Charles Moore, his former boss at the Daily Telegraph? It's very articulate, as you'd expect. I'm especially interested that it paints much the same picture - sometimes almost word-for-word - as Simon Heffer in his astonishing attack on Johnson in the Telegraph on the eve of polling day, but far more kindly and enthusiastically. Listen again from 19.30 or read my full transcript below:
"Boris, of course, does put up an act almost all the time and buffoonery is part of it. But I think a buffoon is somebody who is in some sense almost stupid and, of course, that's absolutely not the case, Boris is extremely clever. And I think the first thing that struck me when I met Boris first was at the Oxford Union when he was an undergraduate and I was a journalist. He was president of the Oxford Union. And normally when you meet those people, frankly you think they're going to be sort of hack politician types. And they're very sort of precociously interested in rather boring political contests and that sort of thing. And they're not very unusual characters. And I was very struck that Boris was absolutely different from all those people. He was the only one that I've ever met on one of those occasions and thought, gosh, this man is really quiet a genius actually.
And that's the thing. I do think he is a genius. I think you could list his faults very, very easily, and I might agree with you about many of them, but he's a genius. What I mean by that is that he is quite unlike anybody else. His approach to life is unlike anybody else's. His way of speaking is quite unlike anybody else's. His demeanour is quite unlike anybody else's. He is an original. And he is exceptionally bright and exceptionally gifted and exceptionally imaginative. And so that does make you forgive a lot and that's just as well because there often is a lot to forgive.
I employed Boris when I was editor of the Daily Telegraph - he was already there, but I employed him. One of the things he did for me was a weekly column and it was an absolute nightmare. Quite a lot of journalists are late, and they can only really be stimulated by a deadline. Boris was stratospherically late. Off the scale late. I might ring him up at 5.30 in the evening to say, 'Where's the copy?' because he'd have about half an hour left to get the copy in. And what would quite often be the case would be that clearly the copy wasn't ready, not only that but he hadn't begun to write it. And it wasn't unknown for him not to know what he was writing about at that point. It really was very, very taxing, particularly for the poor sub-editors and so on. And boris would say, 'Yes I'm coming, coming, coming,' and he really was flying by the seat of his pants, and the only thing you could do - and I did it once, I think, possibly twice - is to spike the copy because it's so late in order to teach him a lesson. For a month he'd behave better and then back to the same.
But, of course, he knew that he could more or less get away with it because, again, it's the genius, it's different. It's unique. He has a way of turning a thought upside down in an illuminating manner. It's not just a bag of tricks. There's something very good about it because he does not think along conventional tram lines and in a funny way he does have the interests of, if you like, ordinary people at heart, by which I mean he has a completely non-bureaucratic, non-party way of looking at things. He gets a sort of intuition about what is it like to be someone on a bicycle in the streets, what is it like to have a problem about getting your child into a school. He's actually remarkably good at that for someone who you might think of in some ways as an elitist, so-called - I don't like that word - he's actually got a sort of empathy with people who are not part of the political process, not part of the political class, not part of the overweening governmental bureaucracy. and I think people respond to that, and they love it, and it's very funny, of course, but the funny-ness is to do with the fact that in some weird way he's on your side.
I think he could be a disaster [as mayor] and I think he could be a great success. What I've noticed in the campaign, which I find interesting, is that he knows that. Sometimes I've been really worried, as a sort of concerned friend of Boris - and if you are a friend of Boris you are sometimes a concerned friend of Boris - that he'll never be able to get out of some of the habits which really make it all very difficult. And clearly he's understood that. He's realised there has to be the moment when you stop being Prince Hal and you become the king. He believes you can do that without sacrificing, if you like, the true Boris. We shall see, but it's very good that he understands that problem.
I think he has those gifts of communication, of empathy of understanding what the life of a civilisation in a city is. He has an imaginative grasp, which in his case goes right back to his knowledge of ancient Athens, and he's also very good at understanding a modern city, so that's all great. And then there are serious problems about whether he'll stick to anything, whether he will perform any acts of administration, whether he'll get frightened off when the going gets tough because he doesn't like being criticised and attacked. I sometimes worry about the sort of tenacity.
I think it could go either way, but I feel optimistic about it because he has a mandate and he has a real will to do it and, goodness, Boris has a will. He is a very, very ambitious person and I'm sure that he wants to prove that you can be this extraordinary person, and you can be this sort of pretend fool, you can do everything your way and you can end up, I think, being prime minister. That's what he most of all wants, though mayor will certainly do for the time being. And so he's always trying to prove something. The idea that Boris, because he's amusing and charming, that he's relaxed and doesn't care is utter rubbish. He cares tremendously and he's got the most driving egotism and ambition and some sort of rather amazing fancy about this country and what it is and what he can do for it. So I think it will be a fascinating experiment which Londoners will sometimes find enraging but will, on the whole, enjoy.
I think he wants to win whatever the highest prizes are, according to terms he sets and by methods which other people don't pursue. That's what he's done in journalism and that's what he's done in politics and he's - I was going to say nearly come off the rails- he actually has come off the rails on many occasions, but he's somehow climbed back on to them. That's part of it. That's part of that unique way of approaching everything."
Egotistical, empathetic, anti-establishment. Yes, it could go either way.