COMMENT: Unfinished business with the would-be prime minister

Politicians are, as a rule, exuberant, self-assured and well skilled in the dark arts of self-publicity. Journalists, on the other hand, have a reputation for being shrewd, cynical and immune to political blandishments.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 2:50 pm

So excuse us if we do not fall hook, line and sinker for the message portrayed in our front page picture.

When the Boris Johnson Tory-leadership-bid bandwagon rolled into our fair city it was a fair bet that at some point the blond ballot-botherer would end up either kissing a press-ganged and suitably cherubic Portmuthian under the age of one or, as predictably happened, brandishing a Pompey shirt.

So far, so good. All’s fair in love, war and the race to Number 10.

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But regardless of your political colours, or whether you back Mr Johnson or his rival Jeremy Hunt in the Westminster derby, such a shameless stunt would be hard to beat. Particularly as Mr Johnson and the city of Portsmouth have unfinished business.

You may recall a story in The News and other media way back in April 2007 when Mr Johnson’s words caused a modicum of upset in the city.

After a chauffeur-driven visit to the University of Portsmouth in his role as Conservative Party spokesman on higher education, Mr Johnson wrote in GQ magazine: “The streets are full of rain. Poor bedraggled students splash across the campus in search of their lectures on feminism and media studies.

‘Here we are in one of the most depressed downs in southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, under-achievement and Labour MPs.’

Let’s hope Mr Johnson has been made aware that there is today much to be applauded in Portsmouth, which never deserved his dismissive low blow. He may not even remember his words but he can rest assured that Portsmouth has not forgotten.​​​​​​​