Friday 8 August 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Boris Johnson - zip wire to Prime Minister?

This week Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced the explosive news that he will, “in all probability”, work towards becoming an MP at the next general election.

As with every statement that Boris puts out, the media coverage was both wide ranging and abundant. The Express was kind to the incumbent Mayor, quoting the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid “it’s fantastic news”, whilst The Guardian was more sceptical. It focused on how the announcement “drew accusations of hypocrisy” in regards to his previous statements that he would not hold two political offices at once.

Stepping past the issue as to whether or not he would make a good MP (again), the dramatic announcement through Bloomberg says more about his long-term political intentions than his short-term plans to become an MP. A Mayor of London running to be an MP is not a new thing. It is exactly what his predecessor Ken Livingstone did for a year, so the news should not have attracted as much attention as it did.

Some in the City have speculated that Boris will do anything for a headline, an idea that suggests this announcement was just another headline grabbing ploy ahead of a much bigger campaign. Few can forget the famous zip wire event of 2012 when he was famously left stuck and dangling and his name subsequently splashed across the media. Did the zip wire really stick by accident, or was it planned?

Fast forward two years... Does Boris truly plan on running for MP and then “sticking” with these two roles? Or is he simply building his reputation ahead of a bigger and more prime ministerial campaign?

Almost every piece published on the topic speculated that this move could simply be a small step for Boris ahead of challenging David Cameron for the role of Tory Party leader / Prime Minister. Cameron’s quote, interactively shared through social media, suggests that he was delighted with the news. He said that he has always wanted his “star players on the pitch”. Whilst this comment is clearly very supportive towards his old friend Boris, we must bear in mind the old adage: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

If further building his reputation and positioning himself as a potential PM was Boris’s intention when announcing his MP-ship plans, he satisfied his objective.

Of the comments that resulted from the news, many contained expressions of delight at the idea of Boris becoming Prime Minister:

BBC: Corrigenda (6TH AUGUST 2014 - 16:10): Excellent news. This will liven up politics and will much increase interest and further eclipse Milliwatt-Balls.

nj (6TH AUGUST 2014 - 12:36) I would really love to see this MAN as our Prime Minister who speak TRUTH and stand by his words. Who walks with the current times.

Twitter fans also shared their views: Chris Beech ‏@chris1310beech (Aug 6): Yess Boris Johnson says he is going to run for priminister, come on Bojo!!!!

For now we have to wait and see what comes of both the 2015 election and the Uxbridge & South Ruislip seat. What we can do, however, is take stock of the media coverage that Boris achieved this week and keep an eye out for more headline grabbing moves on Boris’s political road to Westminster.

There was a flurry of activity in the Abchurch office this week with two particularly good Market Lunches taking place. Following the successful float of Savannah Petroleum last week, there was lots to talk about at the Natural Resources lunch. The take-home point from the Environmental lunch was that it is down to larger tech companies to bring environmental technologies to the forefront of consumers’ agendas and so solve the current energy crisis.

This week we congratulate Anne-Sophie Girault on her appointment as managing director of EMEA business development at RBC Global Asset Management, having moved from Aviva Investors. Meanwhile, RPC appointed David Gubbay, from Dechert, as a Partner in their corporate team, whilst Stephenson Harwood announced that Ben Stansfield will join as a real estate partner after having worked in the environment and planning group at Clifford Chance.

“Political stunt” - When a politician seeking to influence a politician or governmental policy takes an action they know will gain attention but is not likely to achieve its stated goal.

Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle will take place this Saturday. 10 miles of road in central London will be closed for the occasion, enabling cyclists to pass through the city safely without regular traffic. The route features Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, and many more sites along the way.

For fans of underground opera, Grimeborn Festival of New Opera will take place from 4 August to 7 September, featuring new composers, musicians, and artists. The festival is taking place at Arcola Theatre in Dalston Kingsland.

The 3 Crowns Wine Fair will take place near the Silicon Roundabout. Branded Portuguese, French, and Italian wine will be available at £5 per glass. There will be original folk music performance throughout the event.

Follow us on Twitter @AbchurchComms

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