Speaking on Andrew Marr this morning, Boris Johnson said that he doubted that Alistair Darling's supertax on bankers' bonuses could work without "super-penalising London". The Mayor of London said that he shared anger at the idea of taxpayer-funded bonuses but that any attempt to tax these bonuses should have been agreed internationally.
He began his interview by saying that he was a full convert to the climate change agenda, citing the Stern Report as a key moment in the development of his thinking. He paid tribute to David Cameron for putting green issues at the heart of British politics and said that climate change sceptics should realise that there were often good financial reasons for combating global warming anyway.
Boris was at his best in combating Andrew Marr's attempt to raise the 'Eton question'. Marr asked if there were too many Etonians at the top of the Conservative Party. I forget which school you went to, retorted Boris. "Lorretto," replied Marr. Currently £8,500 per term. The media is stuffed full of public schoolboys (as Iain Dale has blogged). But do voters care about this issue at all? 70% told ComRes that they disagree with the suggestion that David Cameron's Eton education makes it harder for him to be a good prime minister for the whole country. Only 20% agree.
PS Jonathan wrote on Thursday about James Forsyth's Spectator essay on what Cameron can learn from Boris. I think the key lesson was missed by James: Get on with radical reforms from day one. Stephan Shakespeare wrote about this in July: "He’s done many good things in his first year. Ousting Ian Blair. Opposing Heathrow's third runway. Stopping the extension of the congestion charge. But these are election year initiatives that win voters. They are not difficult first year reforms that will cause pain now but produce dividends in three years' time. Where is the confrontation with the transport unions? Where is the cull of over-paid public sector workers?"
Boris' chances of re-election depend upon two things. One, strikingly an increasing independent identity. He'll be up for re-election when a mid-term Conservative government is likely to be cutting spending. He needs to be seen as his own man, not an integral part of that cutting agenda. Two, he needs to be standing up for London against the parts of the UK that it subsidises. He started this recently with his article on the Barnett formula.