Category Archives: personal notes

Happy New Year fellow bloggers!

I say fellow bloggers, but the truth is that so far I have been a pretty feeble blogmeister.

The real wizard behind this site, as you all know, is Melissa Crawshay-Williams, and I have for some time been consumed with guilt that I am not helping her by supplying more of my own stuff.

So here’s my New Year Resolution – try to get down to the blog at least once a week.

Continue reading Happy New Year fellow bloggers!

Safe Cycling and the Road Safety Bill

Watch out for that treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeThese are dark days, my friends, and it would be quite wrong for any of us to cycle around London without lights. Which is why it is all the more depressing that in Blair’s Britain they steal your bike lights within five minutes, and you are lucky if they don’t steal the saddle and the wheels as well.

So for the last two years I have used something called a Danlite, a magical device that fits in the side of your handlebars, winking white to the front and red to the rear.

And when you park your bike, you simply unscrew the Danlite (it is about the size of a large walnut) and put it in your pocket.

Be bright.
All night.

Continue reading Safe Cycling and the Road Safety Bill

Statement on The Spectator article

From Boris Johnson – sent to the Liverpool Daily Post this morning

It is quite an education to be at the centre of one of these sudden media firestorms: the cameras on the doorstep, the phone ringing off the hook, the endless requests for interviews, the shouted abuse.

By Saturday morning my poor Commons secretary was so overcome by the avalanche of electronic hate mail that she had to retire to her bed. And yet I can’t really pretend to be surprised.

We had a firestorm because we had an editorial in the magazine that was frankly incendiary, and I have no one to blame but myself.

I am the editor. I put it there. I must now take responsibility for enraging my party leader, alienating the people of a great city, and incurring the anger of not a few of The Spectator’s readers.

What on earth was I thinking of?

How could I possibly have approved an attack on Liverpool?

Continue reading Statement on The Spectator article

Conservative Party Conference

Day 2 – 3

**Good ripples of confidence following the Tory Leader’s speech**

This morning gliding in smooth lines against the vast expanse of the sea, Bournemouth seagulls reflect the mood of the day: Michael Howard is soaring like an eagle.

Trust is at the centre of the General Election planning strategy. The Daily Telegraph debate went ahead with gusto as questions flowed from the floor – keeping an eye on regulation, taxation and immigration. Liam Fox highlighted some of our mistakes in the 1997 election. The debate swung to foxes and one voice popped up like a cuckoo in support of the fox, but it was a lone one. Bill Deedes was the acknowledged hero of the day as he arrived in an ambulance from his hospital bed where he is nursing a broken leg. Boris Johnson, who chaired the event, urged members of the panel to “get some Deedesian concision in replies” to questions. Vicki Woods spoke in favour of re-capturing the old vote – as well as re-capturing the young (Why not the whole caboodle, I asked myself?) and made some sensible points about getting more good-lookers in the shape of 30something ladies as potential MPs (a shade of the Blair babe idea?) that could do wonders in making people wake up to politics again. Alice Thomson and Matthew D’Ancona were upbeat about Tories’ hopes for the future and their “pluck and fortitude”.

Michael Howard succeeded in regaining the trust of the people by going back to his roots in a moving reference to his immigrant family origins. He said that while Blair courted a date with destiny most people are looking for a date with the dentist!

The feeling of international community is abroad here. Oodles of Chinese were mingling in the Reception hosted by the Chinese Ambassador and the Conservative Chinese Group. The event was graced with the presence of the stunning Sandra Howard. There was also a breakfast hosted by the BBC World Service reminding us of the value of global communications. At current ratings of 180 million global listeners per week the World Service (news and online) is the largest international broadcaster in the world. Surely they deserve generous financial support from the FCO? Alas, it seems that their future is under threat owing to government cutbacks.

The thunder of a Redwood and Hannan meeting now beckons …


Conservative Party Conference Diary

Day 1

Fizzing with the buzz of friendly faces at every turn, swarming with police – protective bumblebees crawling round the Conference Centre honeypot. There is an oozing sense that the centre of gravity emanates from here.

Liam Fox, Co-Chairman of the Party, gave a rallying cry for *ACTION*

Boris Johnson’s talk on future Arts policy was delivered to an enthusiastic audience who were taken in particular by reference to the American model of sponsorship.

William Hague really did pave the way for his return to the political stage at his packed out event on his book William Pitt the Younger. He spoke of how William Pitt was both Prime Minister and Chancellor at the same time and suggested Blair should read the book to learn a lesson or two. The book is selling like hotcakes. He kindly agreed to have a photo taken especially for this site. He said this morning at his book-signing session: “Wow! for Boris Johnson’s new website!” He was on fantastic form.

The Liverpool European Capital of Culture stand is ringing out with The Beatles’ “All my lovin’…tomorrow I’ll miss you” live music.

The fringe circuit warmed up to a crescendo at the Hilton Hotel last night at the politicians v journalists quiz with Boris chairing in a Have I Got News for You style contest. Champagne, darkness hanging in the room, smoke-swirling atmosphere, suspect goody bag … you get them all at Conference! (photo to follow next week).


Message from Boris Johnson

hello Bloggers.

All I can say about this blogging business is that it is very hard work. Please can you wait until tomorrow morning when I will be posting an incredibly exciting article from the Daily Telegraph about radio masts…In the meantime, I am passing you now to my brilliant parliamentary secretary, Melissa Crawshay-Williams, who is coming with me to Bournemouth next week for the Tory conference. She (I hope) will say a little about what she thinks the Tories have to do now to capture the political initiative, and what she wants from the conference. Over to Melissa.

Boris put me on the spot here.

Tories – you are the sun to me. Let’s crystalise ideas that will bring out the best in each individual and deliver the best of British to the nation.

There is so much bonhomie at Conference – it’s got to be the best party of the year.

Let’s hope that the movers and shakers really blow the clouds away.


Conservative Party Conference 2004

Highlights include:

1.00pm Boris will be speaking on “The Arts and the Next Government”
5.00pm Lord Saatchi, Advertising guru, “The Way Ahead”
5.45pm William Hague will speak on William Pitt the Younger (paving the way for his return to frontline politics?)

9.45am Michael Ancram and Michael Gove (The Times) to speak on “The World After Iraq”
10.30am David Willetts, Rob Parsons (Care) and Ed Mayo (National Consumer Council) on “The Debt Time-bomb”
11.45am Address by Michael Howard
12.45pm Daily Telegraph debate. Chair: Jon Snow Speakers: Boris, Matthew D’Ancona, James May, Alice Thomson, Liam Fox
5.00pm Malcolm Rifkind speaking on “Britain’s Place in The World” (making a bid for strong recognition on his impending return as MP)
5.45pm Michael Portillo, Mark Simmonds and others on “Skills for People Or skills for Business” (Portillo’s swan song at conference?)

10.00am John Redwood and Daniel Hannan MEP on “EU and its Constitution”
12noon Ann Widdecombe, John Midgley “Putting a Stop to Political Correctness”
12.45pm Andrew Tyrie “Re-engaging the Electorate”
1.00pm Boris and Lord Strathclyde – general discussion
4.00pm Boris and Malcolm Rifkind to take questions from the floor in the main Conference Hall

12.00 Michael Howard’s Final Speech

Ambassadors from Iraq, China, Israel and Saudi Arabia will also be addressing meetings at Conference.

Boris reporting for duty

Hi folks, this is Boris Johnson here. Welcome to my blogsite, where I hope to be blogging for some time to come. You may ask yourself why on earth I am filling the electronic ether with yet more of my stuff, given that I can already be discovered in the pages of the Henley Standard, Daily Telegraph, Spectator etc.

It is a damn good question.

The answer is that very persuasive man called Tim has recently been to my office in the Commons. He told me that blogging is the future. He spoke of the online community, and its rapid expansion. He said that newspapers were outmoded.

He spoke of a new kind of politics. He waved his hands and rolled his eyes. So I have acceded to his advice, and begun to blog.

Tim tells me that the idea is that I fall out of bed every morning, blazing with inspiration, and thunder out 3000 words on the issue of the hour, so generating a pandemic internet controversy. I am not sure, frankly, that I will manage that. But I hope that there will be some other bloggers out there who may feel moved to give me some advice – not least on the funding of the Arts, to which I am now devoting my meditations.

Must blog off for the time being.