Boris Johnson's role as stand-up comic for the Tory faithful was faithfully reprised today for the blue-rinse brigade in Manchester (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2009/oct/05/boris-johnson-tory-conference-cameron ).
However, the best gag in his routine was unintended when he declared that if the Tories could win control of London, they could win any inner city in Britain. Yes, that's right, any inner city. Including Liverpool, to which the cycling bon viveur made the most indirect & fleeting of references.
Now, of course, we all know that although Johnson was Spectator editor at the time of the anti-Liverpool editorial (tastefully timed in the wake of Liverpool man Ken Bigley's murder in Iraq this time five years ago), it should be said that the scousers-are-self-pitying-thieves scrawl came courtesy of Simon Heffer, who wasn't even criticised by the now-London mayor for his, erm, thoughts.
It also brings to mind Geoffrey Howe's observation to his Tory cabinet colleagues in the wake of the Toxteth riots that government policy for areas like Merseyside should be one of "managed decline".
Incidentally, I couldn't help but notice that at the end of the Guardian's jarringly-edited video, the camera focuses on Cameron as, of all songs, "Shout to the Top", by the Style Council is played. Does Weller know about this?