Boris and Stanley, a Son and a Dad
Both went acanvassing, and what fun they had
The son was the father, the father, the son
Whichever was which, British Politics won
They enjoy doorstepping: the cut and the thrust
They have fun what they’re doing, they engender trust
With straw coloured head atop wide open grin
Good pedigree; brains: they are favourites to win
More on the Conservative campaign: election 2005
Johnson and Johnson: a family soap
Comedy on the campaign trail as father aims to be the first MP to follow his son into the Commons
Thwack. Squeak, squeak, …. Two mops of white-blonde hair, two twirling rackets, two turned up collars. Boris Johnson called it “glorified torture”. Stanley Johnson, his less famous father, said it was a “needle match”.
How else would the Johnsons mark their historic bid for two seats in the Commons but by playing squash against each other in Newton Abbot? If Stanley, 64, can wrest the Devon seat of Teignbridge from the Liberal Democrats, he will be the first father to follow his son into Parliament, the Johnsons think.
If Johnson Sr, a poet, novelist, farmer, 1980s Tory MEP and, latterly, an environmentalist, succeeds it would also be a victory for a different era, when politicians were not robotic careerists but free-thinkers, not afraid to tell bad jokes.
Resplendent in a green jumper (“the reason I’m wearing it is I saw an enormous spot on my tie and didn’t have time to buy a new one”), Stanley Johnson has a unique approach to winning.
He trekked 70 miles from his farm in Exmoor to Dartmoor to prove he lived within easy walking distance of his constituents after realising that “being Boris’s dad is not enough to wing it”.
Johnson Sr is having “a joyous time” meeting voters on the doorstep.”We go from pub to pub. One forgets what a central feature of village life the pub is,” he says.
Before the squash, the Johnsons trail off together around Teignmouth town centre like a couple of naughty schoolboys.
“So sorry to barge in,” says Boris, making a beeline for two waitresses sitting in the corner of Dairymaid restaurant.
Johnson Sr admits that “being Boris’s dad” has boosted recognition on the doorstep. One voter mistook him for Boris; another, to his delight, asked if Boris was his father.
The problem in Teignmouth seems to be the reverse.
“Hello Stanley,” says a pensioner to Boris.
“No I’m Boris,” replies Boris. “This is Stanley.”
“No this is Stanley,” insists the pensioner, pointing at Boris.
Voters warm to them. “I agree with a lot of Stanley’s policies on farming and fishing,” says Portia Woodhouse, a law student working in Scoopys ice-cream parlour. “I’d love to take Boris for a drink. He’s a great laugh and politics needs that.”
Stanley Johnson collects “nuggets” during canvassing and posts them on his weblog. “A chap said to me ‘are you on the electoral roll?’ and I said ‘of course I’m on the electoral roll. We are rolling down here,” he says. Boris covers his face with his hands.
But the Johnsons are never far from trouble and the audience criticises Stanley for declaring in his blog he hopes to do “not too much” in Westminster. “It was in the Greek sense of meden agan, nothing excessive,” he protests.
“In a nutshell, the Tories have a jolly good message to put over at the moment,” he tells the Guardian. “More police.” A long pause. “Controlled immigration. Lower taxes. Cleaner hospitals. There’s another one. We’re missing one. Don’t go away, I’ve got a crib here.”
On the squash court he is defeated. “This is not symbolic in any way,” he shouts cheerily.
He has a clear idea of his role: “My job and Boris’s is to help inject a bit of fun into the campaign. It ought to be fun. So far it’s been an absolute joy.”
For full article see here
Channel 4 Election Political Blog
Stanley has been writing an entertaining Blog; will he be adding a comments facility to it, I wonder?
See the blog here
Stanley Johnson is the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon. He has lived on a family farm on Exmoor since 1951. He is a former MEP.
He says about his eldest son, Boris:
… Boris, was president of the Union at the time. The Chernobyl disaster had just occurred. Boris rang me in Brussels two days before the debate was due to take place. “I’m running into trouble finding a speaker” he said “What’s the topic?” I asked. “‘This House believes that nuclear power is both safe and essential’ I’d like you to propose the motion!”
Well, I helped out then and Boris is helping me out now, down in Devon.
Stanley is first-rate and we wish him all good fortune and luck on Election Night.