Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Cripes! Boris is an inspiration!

Does Boris Johnson have the best PR in the country at the moment? Despite his eccentricities and frequent embarrassments, he always seems to come out on top, whether in his role as a politician, journalist or now as a member of the Eastenders cast!

Last Friday, Boris filmed a cameo for the popular soup, during which he has a run-in with the legendary Barbara Windsor, as the Queen Vic’s feisty landlady Peggy Mitchell. “It was a tremendous honour,” said Boris. “'EastEnders is a true London icon and I was delighted to highlight to its huge audience the part the mayoralty plays in the city's rich tapestry.”

What next, Gordon Brown turning up at the Rovers Return? Somehow I can’t see it myself! And that’s the beauty of Boris’ reputation – he can get away with so much more than your average politician. If it was Boris who had claimed a duck house on expenses, I wouldn’t be surprised if the nation had just laughed.

The extremely media-savvy Boris is a famously dedicated Twitterer, and recently received praise for contacting the Transport for London office and getting them to turn off their bus heaters after receiving complaints on Twitter about how hot they were during the heatwave. This was a fantastic PR opportunity, gaining coverage throughout the media and portraying Boris in a very flattering light. He listens! He cares! He has the power to change things! (Arguably, the people who originally complained could have just contacted TFL directly, but that just wouldn’t be as newsworthy. Nor would it be as newsworthy if – gasp! – Boris doesn’t actually manage his own Twitter account…)

For an Old Etonian and politician, Boris is doing an incredible job of being seen as a man of the people. This year, when politicians have been lambasted even more than usual, Boris has risen above it. When he was running for London Mayor, in a time when politics is not exactly popular with younger generations, Facebook was awash with support.
Despite the controversies, Boris is an inspiration as a public figure, demonstrating at every turn an involvement with the people and a seemingly genuine desire to help make London a better place, appealing to people in a way the Prime Minister never will. Whether you’re Gordon Brown or Katie Price, there may be a lesson in there somewhere!

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