Boris is a good political clown, but do we want a joker for PM?

Comment

Opinion Digest: Boris Johnson hasn't a chance – and nor do state school pupils when it comes to sport

LAST UPDATED AT 11:12 ON Fri 3 Aug 2012

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BORIS FOR PM? WE MUST BE JOKING
PHILIP COLLINS ON THE MAYOR OF LONDON
As Boris Johnson cavorts around London, taking credit for Tony Blair's Olympics, the mayor's supporters fantasise about him becoming Tory leader, says Philip Collins in The Times. But talk of good polls and Boris's general popularity is just the opening salvo of the silly season. It takes no great skill other than chutzpah to capitalise on Olympic gold. None of this means Johnson would make a good Prime Minister. The only way back to popularity for the Tory Party is for David Cameron to improve his personal best, "not to pretend there is any prospect of salvation from the Olympic Village Idiot". Boris is a PM for a joke country, not a serious country that enjoys a joke. In a dreary age, there's room for a clown in public life, and Johnson trades on being an antidote to politics. But at the top, discussing defence budgets or in diplomatic talks with Putin, "the joke would soon wear thin".

DIFFICULT SEARCH FOR BANK GOVERNOR
JEREMY WARNER ON FINDING THE NEW KING
It will be difficult to find a suitable candidate for the post of Governor of the Bank of England when Sir Mervyn King retires next June, says Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph. Almost all of the candidates suggested so far have been flawed. Paul Tucker, the deputy governor, is the most obviously qualified, but his chances have been scuttled by revelations that he failed to address Libor manipulation when he had a chance. Mark Carney, a former investment banker with public service experience, is another option, except the Canadian may not want to commit to eight years in a foreign land. Lord [Gus] O'Donnell has support but seems too identified with the policies of the last Labour government to be acceptable. The list goes on, but whoever the Chancellor chooses they will have to answer profound questions about the future of central banking. The financial crisis has shown "central bankers have been a large part of this mischief".

STATE SCHOOLS WON'T GIVE US GOLD MEDALS  
NICK WOOD ON THE SPORTS CULTURE GAP
Britain's fee-paying schools educate just seven per cent of the country's young people yet they are over-represented in the Olympic medal tally, says Nick Wood in the Daily Mail. The sports in which Britain now excels (cycling, rowing, sailing and horse-riding) are elite in that they are either taught in clubs or at public schools, while we are weaker in more popular sports such as track and field, which require less in the way of facilities, equipment and specialist coaching. The left predictably moan about the lack of resources, but the "obstacles are cultural rather than financial". Independent schools invest time in competitive sports to attract parents. But in state schools, after the teachers' strikes and work-to-rule of the mid-1980s, less teachers give up hours of their spare time to coach pupils or referee matches. "All this is part of the much wider left-wing antipathy to competition" - and we can now see the results. · 

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