The interview above has caused something of a political earthquake in Britain. Boris Johnson is one of the Tories’ (Britain’s conservatives) rising stars and current mayor of London, but he was completely and utterly rattled during an appearance on the BBC Sunday. His questioner, Eddie Mair, asked him questions about past affairs (with women not his own), Johnson “making up” a quote when he was still working for the Times of London newspaper, and even his friendship with individuals who ran into trouble with the law.
Now, Johnson is a very talented politician, with great charisma. Still, he lost his cool here and may very well have dashed his chances of ever occupying ‘Number 10.’
Be that as it may, the question is why? Why did he fail to live up to the standard he normally sets for himself? Being as talented and experienced as he is, how could Mair take him by surprise?
He answered those questions himself at the end of the interview:
“I thought I was coming on to talk about the budget and housing in London and you, you… well, I don’t mind all these questions about that other stuff, but I think it’s more important if we look at the economy…”
In other words, he thought Eddie Mair, the BBC journalist, would treat him like he treats, say, Labour leader Ed Milliband. Nothing could be further from the truth. The media, in the United States as well as in Britain, are institutions of the political left. Any politician who lets himself be interviewed or questioned by such an outlet has to be prepared for an assault. Those who don’t, set themselves up for failure, as Mr. Johnson did yesterday morning.
Rather than moaning and complaining about the “unfair” treatment they receive, conservatives have to finally understand the game they are playing and its rules. Then, and only then, can they possibly hope to win this battle, be it either in Britain, on the Old Continent, or in the United States.