Boris should enjoy his moment in the sun, but he won't be PM

Comment

Opinion digest: the rise of Boris, Olympic sexism, Romney's Bush-era diplomacy, German euroscepticism

LAST UPDATED AT 11:07 ON Tue 31 Jul 2012

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BORIS WON'T LEAD THE CONSERVATIVES - HERE'S WHY
STEVE RICHARDS ON LONDON'S MAYOR
For Boris Johnson, right now it's political heaven, says Steve Richards in The Independent. As Mayor of London he has become the witty, authoritative voice of the Olympics that have "cast an intoxicating spell". On top of that, opinion polls are citing him as the most popular successor to David Cameron as Conservative leader. "But it will not happen." Not because of any flaws in Johnson's personality, but because being Mayor of a vibrant, progressive city has less scope for unpopularity than national politics. Right now Boris is associated with bikes and the Olympics, bright lights amid the gloom. "But the lights would not shine so brightly if Boris were to return to national politics." To take on Cameron as leader, he would have to be in the Commons before the next election. And if he were to desert Londoners in order to get to the Commons, he would become a less appealing figure - "an over-ambitious, disloyal leader-in-waiting".

FEMALE ATHLETES ARE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS
RACHEL SYLVESTER ON OLYMPIC INEQUALITY
Women athletes are treated like second class citizens, says Rachel Sylvester in The Times. Women were banned from the ancient Olympics, and only begrudgingly included in the first modern games in Athens in 1896. "There has been progress since then, of course, but not enough." There have been stories in this Olympics of the Japanese and Australian women's teams flying economy class, while their male counterparts travelled in business. This is the first games to include women's boxing and a female kayak, and still not all sports are equal. Some canoeing events only have men's categories. But this represents the general discrimination surrounding female sporting events – "only five percent of the media coverage and 0.5 percent of the sponsorship goes to women". Despite these problems, the London Olympics are the most democratic Olympics ever, with "breakthroughs for women athletes across the world".

IF YOU LIKED GEORGE W. BUSH, YOU'LL LOVE MITT ROMNEY
GIDEON RACHMAN ON ROMNEY'S FOREIGN POLICY
Mitt Romney's main critique of Barack Obama's foreign policy is that the president has spent too much time courting America's enemies and dissing its friends, says Gideon Rachman in The Financial Times. Romney contends that Obama has assuaged the Muslim world, but not visited Israel, courted Russia and rising powers in Asia, while allegedly neglecting old alliances, such as Poland and the "special relationship" with Britain. Romney's recent tour drives home the point by visiting old friends and allies. He may have some valid points, but it's a troubling return to "the Manichean world view of George W. Bush" – a world divided into US friends and enemies. It's thrilling for those who yearn for a return to Bush-era "moral clarity", but the implications are alarming - war with Iran, trade war with China, confrontation with Russia. Obama's emphasis on diplomacy may be difficult, but it's better than "foreign policy based on biffing bad guys".

GERMANY REACHES ITS EUROSCEPTIC MOMENT
ALAN POSENER ON EU INTEGRATION
Consensus over European integration is being eroded, says Alan Posener in The Times. It's not just about PIIGs; the real danger to the euro isn't the exit of a peripheral country. "It is Germany's increasing disgust with the common currency." There has been widespread anger in Germany that the country has been forced to bail out Spanish banks. Political parties on all sides have been reciting the mantra that the eurozone must not become a "transfer union", that there should be no mutualisation of debt. In the stereotyped terms of the debate, "Mediterranean sloth and tax evasion" will not be rewarded by hardworking, honest Germans. Despite calls by politicians for "more Europe", a weekend poll found that 51 per cent of Germans want a return to the Deutschmark. Given our own economic problems, Britain shouldn't gloat. But Britain could take advantage of Germany's eurosceptic moment, "if it plays its cards right". · 

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