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Boris Johnson's real views exposed

Tory chancer Boris Johnson has built a career on posing as both a right-wing Thatcherite ideologue and a bumbling maverick 'character'

Tory chancer Boris Johnson has built a career on posing as both a right-wing Thatcherite ideologue and a bumbling maverick "character."

His willingness to endure - provoke even - public ridicule by looking like an unmade bed, getting himself into a number of scrapes, sounding like a parody of Billy Bunter and volunteering for embarrassing photo-ops means that he is rarely out of the headlines.

This suits him well since his basic intention is to replace his "mate" David Cameron in 10 Downing Street.

That's where his far-right political stance - the serious side of his persona - comes in since Cameron's willingness to embrace whatever policies appear in vogue has alienated many erstwhile backers in the Tory Party.

After going along with the Tory current that apologised for elements of the "nasty party" identified by Theresa May and jetted up to the Arctic to be pictured with huskies to reinforce his spurious green credentials, Cameron is no longer trusted by shire Tories.

Johnson is because, while he has no time for the grotesque homophobia and racism that traditionally infected much of the Tory Party, its gilded elite know where he stands on economics.

Everyone else should have a better idea too after his vile speech for the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, organised by free-market, neoliberal think tank the Centre for Policy Studies.

Social inequality, in his view, is caused by poor people being too thick to take advantage of opportunities available to them.

He justifies this crude idea by reference to people's IQ as a fixed value as though this was a scientific assessment rather than a discredited thesis taken apart half a century ago by Professor Brian Simon and other advocates of comprehensive education.

Johnson, like David Cameron, John Major and other Tory grandees, claims to favour social mobility.

This leads him to urge a return of grammar schools "to help bright children everywhere to overcome their background."

This version of social mobility would enable a tiny proportion of working-class children to find their way into the upper reaches of the economy, academia, politics and so on that are traditionally the preserve of those like Cameron and Johnson who have gone to Eton and other taxpayer-subsidised private institutions.

Those who gaze back at grammar schools with rose-tinted vision ought to recall that the separation of working-class children at 11 effectively wrote off the vast bulk of them at that tender age.

Not for them the personal tutors, private schools and social contacts to ease them effortlessly into the positions to which they believe themselves entitled by right.

Johnson's recognition that boardroom greed or "the natural and God-given talent of boardroom inhabitants" has encouraged a wider gap between rich and poor is self-evident.

But whereas most people are alarmed by this, he praises social inequality as a "valuable spur to economic activity."

The most valuable aspect of Johnson's Thatcher lecture is that it lays bare the contempt that he and his ilk feel for those they feel happy, metaphorically, to wipe their boots on.

Remember, it was the mayor of London who led the charge to lower the top rate of income tax when even George Osborne feared that it might prove provocative.

George Galloway's suggestion that this latest outburst could cost Johnson his post in 2016 should encourage construction of a militant and unifying campaign to deliver that outcome.


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