Boris Johnson: Don't fear Farage, he's 'one of us'

London Mayor tells Ken Clarke to 'calm down' and says Tories should be 'comforted' by UKIP's rise

Column LAST UPDATED AT 08:59 ON Mon 29 Apr 2013

BORIS JOHNSON has rubbished the veteran Tory MP Ken Clarke for "freaking out" over the threat posed by UKIP and their leader Nigel Farage, who are threatening to eat deep into the Conservatives' core vote in Thursday's local elections.

Clarke repeated the withering verdict of David Cameron in 2006 that UKIP was packed with "fruitcakes and closet racists".

"I've met people who satisfy both those descriptions in UKIP," Clarke told the Daily Mail. "Indeed, some of the people who have assured me they are going to vote UKIP I would put in that category. I rather suspect they have never voted for me."

Right on cue, Godfrey Bloom, a UKIP MEP, told BBC Radio 5 last night that firms should not employ women of child-bearing age due to what he called "draconian" employment laws.

"If I wanted a receptionist or I wanted a dental nurse I would be thinking very carefully about the age of that woman because she has to turn up at 9 o'clock every morning, said Bloom. This isn't rocket science is it? This is perfectly straightforward small business policy."

The Guardian's Patrick Wintour called the MEP Godfrey van de Bloom in a Tweet and reports that Ed Miliband is backing Cameron in trying to bar Farage from joining the leaders of the three major parties for the televised debates at the next General Election.

But in his column for the Daily Telegraph today, Johnson compares Clarke's hostility to UKIP to the actor Nicholas Cage "freaking out" in the film Face Off when someone steals his identity. Johnson advises people like Clarke to "Keep Calm and Carry On being Conservative".

Boris praises Farage as "One of Us" and describes him as "a rather engaging geezer". "He's [Farage] anti-pomposity, he's anti-political correctness, he's anti-loony Brussels regulation," says Boris, adding: "He's in favour of low tax, and sticking up for small business, and sticking up for Britain."

"Rather than bashing UKIP," says Boris, "I reckon Tories should be comforted by their rise – because the real story is surely that these voters are not turning to the one party that is meant to be providing the official opposition. The rise of UKIP confirms a) that a Tory approach is broadly popular and b) that in the middle of a parliament, after long years of recession, and with growth more or less flat, the Labour Party is going precisely nowhere."

This opens the interesting prospect that a Tory party led by Boris (rather than his brother, Jo) could do a deal with UKIP to avoid both sides fighting each other at the next election. Farage has ruled out any electoral pact so long as Cameron is the Tory leader, but if UKIP do well and the Tories lose 800 seats on Thursday night, the prospect of Boris replacing Cameron will become less like a fantasy for the nutters' party. · 

Disqus - noscript

If Boris replaces Cameron, the fruitcakes and nutters will have two parties to choose from.

How strange, if this Boofhead quote is accurate " the real story is surely that these voters are not turning to the one
party that is meant to be providing the official opposition. The rise of
UKIP confirms a) that a Tory approach is broadly popular and b) that in
the middle of a parliament, after long years of recession, and with
growth more or less flat, the Labour Party is going precisely nowhere."
So is he saying that UKIP exemplifies a Tory approach more so that the, y'know, the tories?
With friends like the unmade bed, the Cameroons need no other enemy.

Clarke is offensive and pompous. The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour have many unsavoury characters in their ranks - at least UKIP will be in good company! And, incidentally, I cannot bring to mind any UKIP party activists serving time, or having served time, for fraud or dishonesty in office - the list of Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem "worthies" fitting that category is too long to repeat here!

If Cameron, Clarke et al had kept their promise of a European election immediately after the 2010 General Election, UKIP would not be threatening the re-election chances of the Conservatives.

Clarke is unreasoningly pro-European - he seems not to be able to understand, or accept, that UKIP is a legitimate political party and that the electorate are just as entitled to vote for UKIP as they are for any other political party - and they should NOT be vilified and insulted for voting in a manner that Clarke doesn't approve of.

By what right do Miliband, Cameron and Clegg seek to exclude UKIP from mainstream public debate? On the results of the Eastleigh by-election it should be Labour who are excluded - they came a very poor and distant fourth in that result - UKIP came a very close second - to exclude them from televised debate would be to try to disenfranchise potential UKIP voters.

Boris is quite right (again) - calm down, Ken Clarke or get out of politics - you haven't been of much use so far.

Hello "amphibious" - good to read your comments again. I think that, what you describe as, "the unmade bed" (I like that analogy) is trying to say is that UKIP is filling the policy vacuum that is becoming increasingly obvious under the "Cameroons".

Naturally, for any traditional Conservative who might feel that he or she is no longer being represented by Cameron and his career politicians - the only obvious (to them) place to turn to would seem to be a party that recognises and addresses their concerns and aspirations - UKIP.

It is another debate entirely whether or not they are SENSIBLE by supporting UKIP - but one can understand what they are doing and why they (the potential UKIP voters) are doing it.

Ken Clarke and his ilk seem to offer these disillusioned potential UKIP voters nothing - but that does not deter him from openly ridiculing and insulting them.