The weather was awful, the rain incessant, and to add to it, an accident on the M1 caused all sorts of bother. Making all roads, and any progress to get to Nottingham on time highly unlikely.
Perhaps I’d have been better off taking the Tram? Ahem. – This pun will make sense in due course.
Politicians and their events usually run to pretty tight timings, so I began to worry that I may be too late and miss the whole thing. Slightly disillusioned, I flipped the radio to Capital FM, and one of those ‘life coincidences’ occurred.
“We’ve got a special guest in! Randomly, really, quite randomly in to the studio!”
Who do I hear? No other than the man I’m making the journey to go and see. “Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London has just come in, and he’s going to do the travel update for us!”
I started to chuckle at the irony. Not only was I no longer worrying that I would be late to the event (because Boris was obviously nowhere near being there yet) but he was reading out the abysmal travel update that I was stuck in, with his usual gusto and bravado.
Turns out, he may just also be Olly Murs biggest fan as well! Check out the clips from the show below, particularly their Instagram video at the bottom of the page.
I eventually arrived at the event, and was greeted by the host of it all, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Nottingham South, Jane Hunt. I apologised for my tardiness, but she noted that the bad traffic had affected most guests, including the VIP. She was as equally as surprised as I was when I told her that actually, the VIP was probably late because he had just been doing the travel update on Capital FM.
1.3bn. crossrail investment
Mr Johnsons visit to Nottingham was part of a whistle stop tour of the East Midlands, stopping in at the Bombardier factory in Derby, checking up on London’s investment of the crossrail project for the East-West rail-link awarded to the factory, the contract with Transport for London coming in at a staggering 1.3bn.
He came to Nottingham south in support of Jane to meet her potential constituents and rally the troops who are already backing her. He didn’t fail to provide!
He swept through the doorway of the conference room with all the presence he commands, a beaming smile and his distinctively booming voice. Greeted by applause and cheers, before he had even given his performance. Shaking hands and talking to those he passed along the way, he reached the stage platform.
Ed Milibands bacon sandwich failure
You couldn’t help but feel that it was perhaps a not too dissimilar speech that had been given throughout the day in other places he had stopped off at. It was entertaining nonetheless, if not filled with strong Conservative party messages that resonated CCHQ policies and briefings. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a speech from Boris, had it not of had its share of puns, particularly those aimed at Ed Miliband.
“Ed Miliband is quite obviously, useless. Would you trust this man, to go mano a mano with Vladimir Putin, when he is defeated by a mere bacon sandwich?”
Lasting about 10 minutes, the guests heard how strong Conservative unity would be what brings this nation back to its feet, and how the party would be successful in the 2015 general election, with Boris making not so subtle remarks towards UKIP, saying “these fringe parties, that have no chance.” Clearly, he isn’t too worried.
I was delighted that I ended up having a little more time than most others, with one of the only politicians to be recognised by his first name.
What you see in the news, read in the papers and hear on the radio is most certainly what you get when he stands in front of you. I think that is what I find most admirable about him. His charisma, panache, and skill with the English vocabulary make him incredibly likable, almost to the point where he transcends party politics, truly making him a people’s politician.
He was all too happy to have a photo with me, and a couple of selfies! I leaned in and asked if I’d be able to ask him a few questions for the publication I write for;
“Of course, of course, who is it you write for?”
KettleMag I reply,
“An online publication?”
Yes it is!
“Ah, I’ll have to have a look then!” – So if you’re reading this Boris, I hope you approve.”
I followed him out of the room, and joined the small gaggle of select journalist and press members, when they’d all finished he turned to me and said, “Reece, your questions?”
Humbled that he’d remembered my name, I began.
What connections and benefits are there between Nottingham and London?
London and Nottingham are really working together on a what I think is a very important issue, which is giving power to and helping local people to set the priorities for the city, and I think that obviously its very important to invest in transport and transport infrastructure and get all those things done, but local politicians have got to have the confidence and funds to spend in the long term. We think that the devolution that has happened in Scotland and in Wales needs to happen in the great cities of the England as well, but we think its very important that will produce responsible governments in the great cities and I have looked at what’s is happening with the trams, which seems to be very much held up here in Nottingham, and we would hope that kind of devolution would give a terrific kick in the pants to local politicians and actually move them, and we would get some conservatives in who would do things fast and in a cost effective way.
When I talk about transport infrastructure things like the A453, from Nottingham to the M1, that is obviously crucial, you have to invest in that, and that means having very careful stewardship of public funds so that you have the money to do that kind of vital infrastructure investments.
Historically this is labour territory, how can the Conservative party turn that around?
We are the party for everybody; we are the party that supports enterprise and wealth creation because it helps to pay for things that a great society needs. It helps to pay for the poorest and the neediest, it helps to pay for transport infrastructure, for good policing, and that is the essence of one nation conservatism and that is what I believe in, and I think that’s the kind of policy that can win anywhere in this country.
You’ve been likened to the character of Winston Churchill for similar strengths. Do you think any of those are missing from politics at the moment?
I think I’ve got more in common with a one eyed pterodactyl than Sir Winston Churchill, but, thankfully the times do not call for someone to make and wage war like Churchill had to in the 1940s. I think what is needed now is what I’ve just been saying, is sensible, pragmatic one-nation Conservatism and building on this countries amazing talent for enterprise and wealth creation and stimulating that, and using it to create a greater society, that’s what we’re trying to do.
Irrespective of what you think or feel about Boris Johnson, he is undeniably charismatic. With beguiling mannerisms, and a one of a kind way of using his words, he embodies the meaning of ‘big character’. And, who else could possibly squeeze pterodactyl and Churchill in to the same sentence?!
What are your thoughts about Boris? Political mastermind, or all smoke and mirrors? Would you like to see him as PM in the future, if he is successful in becoming an MP again in the 2015 general election? Leave us your comments below!