Thursday, 28 October 2010

Boris Johnson's 'social cleansing' comment will damage coalition

Thomas Paine wrote 'that the summer solider.. will, in crisis, shrink from the service of his country.'

For the Prime Minister, he must be cursing the first summer soldier to stick his head above the parapet, the blonde mop of the Mayor of London.

This is because Boris Johnson's comments that he won't allow welfare cuts in London to be 'Kosovo like social cleansing' are more than just another 'Bojo' gaffe

What is shows is that with a Mayoral election on the horizon, Boris is prepared to put the coalition's neck on the line ahead of his own. The summer soldier is ready to turn his rifle on his own party.

This is before the full effect of any cuts have become apparent.

I am confident this public use of such strong (and completely unnecessary) language will damage the coalition because it sets a precedent.

Long into the night, when the winter of discontent has left its bite on the country, Lib Dem and Tory MPs will face the same decision as the Mayor.

Do we stick to the coalition line or do we play to the crowd, to try and battle Labour on the anti-coalition vote?

They may well take a glance at Boris, daring to march against the agreed line and see if he still holds power in the Capital.

If he does, then temptation will take hold.

It's not just a gaffe, Boris, it's a damaging blow to the coalition's internal and external reputation.

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