Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, a name that might be more troublesome than Barack Hussein Obama, was Margaret Thatcher's favorite columnist when he was editor of the Spectator, the sassy London political weekly. The best of his irreverent jests have been collected and strewn across the Internet.
British commentators, with their penchant for Shakespeare, describe him as Falstaff, with the shrewd intelligence that endears him to those who may not like his politics but enjoy his company. He's known as a court jester, a buffoon with an untidy platinum-blond mop and whose cap of bells tolls for the Tories. He defeated Ken Livingston, the lefty incumbent of the Labor Party who was mayor of London for eight years, and this gives the Conservatives hope that they can unseat Prime Minister Gordon Brown within two years.
But Boris has a tongue that slices pretense fine, and in the spirit of a more raucous and impolitic rhetoric than ours his tongue sometimes cuts Tory, too. When he was campaigning for the Conservatives in 2005, he promised infamously that "voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW." Many Tories, reprising the spirit of the queen -- Victoria, not Elizabeth -- were not amused. His habit of reaching for the laugh without regard for consequences earned him the name "Boris the Menace." It doesn't rhyme, but you get the idea.
My British friends were heartened that he stayed "on message" during the campaign, and his victory speech was serious and eloquently to the point: "Where there have been mistakes, we will rectify them; where there are achievements, we will build on them; where there are neglected opportunities, we will seize on them."
You can't make a better campaign promise than that. Tally ho!