By Tim Montgomerie
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Over the last couple of days we published the first two of ten picks of 2012 – as chosen by ConHome readers; Jesse Norman won the backbencher of the year award and, less happily, Nick Clegg won Yellow B**tard of the Year.
In the contest for Conservative achievement of 2012 there were four categories and the winner was Boris Johnson's re-election with 41.4% of the vote. The other nominations were…
- Continuing reforms of schools, welfare and local government, scoring 29.3%;
- A successful London 2012, scoring 16.6%; and
- A reduction in health waiting times, crime, unemployment, immigration and borrowing, winning 12.6% of votes.
At the time I explained Boris Johnson's success in terms of three key factors…
"(1) Boris has never neglected Conservative values: "Some Right-wing Tories like to think that Boris has prospered because of his opposition to the euro, his hawkish approach to crime and his support for lower taxes. These things have indeed been ingredients of his successful political recipe. He has never lost the support of core Tories because he has never forgotten that vital American maxim that you ‘dance with the one that brung you’.""
"Never" might have been over-stating it but "rarely" is close to the truth.
The other two factors were…
"(2) Boris is a small-government not an anti-government Conservative: "He wants low taxes but he will also enthusiastically embrace government when appropriate. He has, for example, championed a much higher basic wage for all public-sector workers and believes that extra spending on infrastructure will help lead Britain out of recession."
(3) Boris is also entirely comfortable with modern Britain: "He celebrates the multi-ethnic nature of London. He has embraced the concerns and hopes of the city’s gay community. More profoundly, and in huge contrast to the miserable Mr Livingstone, he exudes optimism. He believes that no problem is too big to overcome. ‘Ever since Hesiod, ever since Isaiah,’ he once wrote, ‘human beings have loved to listen to prophets of doom and they have loved to believe that theirs is a uniquely fallen and selfish generation. I don’t believe it.’ A leader is a dealer in hope, said Napoleon. In these tough times Boris is the politician who provides most hope to London and, increasingly, to the grassroots of the Conservative Party.""
> In Thursday's FT (£) David Goodhart examined 'white flight' from London and concluded that "the data on the white exodus from London underlines just how remarkable Mr Johnson’s re-election was, given how most minority groups still overwhelmingly prefer Labour". Over on our Comment pages the Croydon Central Tory MP Gavin Barwell is examining how the Conservatives might address our lack of support among minority voters.