Boris Johnson today said the government ‘needs to stop pussyfooting around’ and get serious about helping private businesses, with massive infrastructure projects and specifically (surprise, surprise) the new Thames Estuary airport billed ‘Boris Island’.
The Olympics have certainly given Boris Johnson a major lift in popularity in recent weeks, with Tory grassroots activists tipping him for the next Tory leader. But in characteristic style, BoJo has taken the moment to mouth off a little, and make the Conservative front bench squirm. In an interview with the Evening Standard, he said: ‘The way to get business really motoring in the UK is to cut taxes, cut regulation, create the infrastructure and get behind it. That’s what you should do.’
He even pointed explicitly at the Olympics as an example of his belief: ‘I think that what the Olympics has done is to confirm in a lot of people’s minds around the world that London is the capital of the planet. What I think the Government should do is make a very powerful statement of ambition for London.’ Last month the government delayed publishing its consultation on the future of the UK’s airports, with some ministers reticent about building a third runway at Heathrow.
But Boris slammed the dithering as ‘totally mad’, and added that ‘the attempt to try and long-grass it for three years…is just not realistic.’ Interestingly, Labour supporters also fear that Boris would be a tougher opponent for leader Ed Miliband if the former became Tory leader. Still, BoJo ruled out doing anything Parliament-related until his newly refreshed four-year term as Mayor of London is up.
Perhaps he prefers the zip wire fun in Victoria Park to the seriousness of running the country…