Ted Heath

Boris for leader?

The Telegraph

Could Boris Johnson recuse the Conservative party? There is now talk of him tilting at the leadership. If he did it would be just awesome:

The Government is still scratching around furiously to produce some sort of autumn relaunch that might give the Coalition fresh impetus, while Tory MPs agonise about their future and scheme their schemes.

And among the plotters, it is Boris Johnson who has snatched the spotlight away from the Prime Minister and used the Games as a launch pad for his leadership ambitions. Westminster is divided between those who now believe him to be unstoppable, and those who can’t stop laughing at the idea that he is being taken seriously as an alternative prime minister. The outbreak of speculation about his chances, or even his suitability, should worry Mr Cameron less than the reason for the sudden outbreak of Boris-mania: Conservative donors have had enough, and are lining up behind the London Mayor. In City terms, the money men are shorting the Tory leadership. This has happened before; it’s what helped finish Iain Duncan Smith.

The reason for this City stampede is plain enough. Business has had enough of what it complains is the Government’s equivocating on the economy. Mr Cameron is now routinely derided by business leaders as another Ted Heath, a failure who started on the right track but lost his way. They want robust action on tax, workplace regulation, European bureaucracy and reducing the size of government, all themes that the London Mayor made a central part of his campaign for re-election. It doesn’t seem to matter that Mr Johnson enjoys the luxury of being able to pronounce on issues over which he has no say. He has found a knack for speaking Thatcherite truths about the economy in a modern idiom that does not appear to frighten the voters.