Monday, May 05, 2008

Boris's Dad Confirms Application for Henley

Speaking to Cambridge University Conservatives tonight, Boris Johnson's father Stanley confirmed that he would put his name forward to succeed his son in Henley.

"I'll definitely put my name down. If you've been a Conservative MEP and a Candidate, and you're still alive, you've got to do something."

If it weren't for the fact that Labour has adopted the hereditary principle in Crewe & Nantwich, and been criticised for it, Stanley might have a chance. As it stands, I can't see any advantage to the Conservative Party going for whatever the term for the hereditary principle in reverse is. In fact, does such a word exist?


strapworld said...


I supported your thoughts on Crewe.
If it is wrong there it must be for a Devon based man to be shipped into Henley.

I would have thought it was the ideal seat for Portillo to make his long awaited and anticipated return to politics!!!!

Dont you think?

Astro-Turf Lawnmower said...

Stanley shouldn't be selected just because he's Boris' Dad, but equally being Boris' Dad should not disqualify him either.

How about this for an idea? Henley Conservative Association could advertise for candidates, then vote for whichever they think is best having held a hustings or something.

Stanley has put his name down, so they could pick him. Or someone else.

As long as it's a fair fight with no shenanigans, there should be no problem.

tachybaptus said...

The nearest to the reverse of hereditary is reversionary, I suppose, as when an estate reverts to its grantor. But that assumes that the estate was the grantor's to begin with -- not the case here.

As for whether it might be good for the Conservative party: well, it might be good for Henley.

Blue Eyes said...

I hope there will be an open primary to let the people of Henley decide. That said I would prefer to get "new blood" into Parliament.

Anonymous said...

This is rubbish.

Henley will go to a A-lister. Nothing against Stanley, but CCHQ wouldn't want him there at all.

Jason Brown said...

well the contest for Crewe & Nantwich is realy getting interesting, in the red corner we have Tamsin Dunwoody, in the blue there is Stanley Johnson and locked in a chest in a locked celler is Gemma Garrett the current Miss Great Britain.

On the face of it I would have to say that it looks as though Labour should be able to hold the seat, but as we have seen over the last couple of days anything can happen.

Anonymous said...

bit iffy

Doompigeon said...

Nepotism is by definition favouritism towards relatives or friends so whether up or down the family tree it is nepotism. But if he is selected fairly then I don't see why not, and since Dunwoody MKII has been selected for Crewe the Labour lot can't shout about it.

conand said...

'Meritocracy' maybe.

Much as I'd like StanJo to be an MP I think he should not stand but campaign on behalf of someone else chosen by their local system.

Adrian Yalland said...

You gotta larf though! I am surprised his sister isn't also having a stab at it!

Tom FD said...

Well the by-election hasn't been called yet. They can leave it until after C&N before selection. (I'm far from convinced it's the same thing anyway - pure "sympathy vote" stuff on Labour's part to make attacking her look distasteful and to cover up the fact that they can't find a real candidate that's good enough.)

Actually I like the hustings idea. Henley's a plum seat so they'd better find the best candidate possible - even more talent to bolster up the front benches. Would Stanley Johnson qualify for that? Certainly bringing Boris into the world seems to me a remarkable achievement enough, and something Tories should be grateful for!

Laurence Boyce said...

I suppose it would be the "ancestry principle." But if all of this is so distasteful, then why do we not turn our fire upon the worst offenders? I speak of the Monarchy, who don't even hold a vote.

Anonymous said...

The Tories should tread carefully and since Henley will always vote Conservative, this looks like smug nepotism.

There is so much untried, new blood in the Party - why not give someone else a chance. Campaign on the national issues which are gripping the electorate. Don't invite accusations about the old boys network etc

Cameron and Boris need a healthy distance IMHO

Malcolm Redfellow said...

From what little I know of such elevated circles, the Henley Association is not easily to be pushed around. If and when a candidate is required (and there really is no need before the run-up to an inevitably-delayed General Election) it'll be wasps and jam-pot time.

There may not be an obverse to "hereditary", but surely a term could be invented to cover the present possibility. One notion might be "incitation" (noun) and "incitatory" (adjective), in honour of the horse that Caligula wanted to raise to Consul.

verity said...

There's something rather distasteful and opportunistic about this. It sounds as though he hadn't considered standing for any other seat. Just the one vacated by his son the MP who is now the Mayor of London. Coatails. Riding. On ...

OTOH, I hate Cameron's uppity, undemocratic imposition of his A-list with a passion and would like to see someone slip through it.

Paul Hulbert said...

I'm not sure that there's an opposite to hereditary. But I'm reminded of the quotation "Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children" (Sam Levenson)

Or more seriously: "When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary" (Thomas Paine)

Richard Elliot said...

It would be rather convenient for Boris. He could do 4/8 years as Mayor and then his dad kindly steps aside, he gets his old seat back and is straight into the Cabinet.

Anonymous said...

"Paternalism" - always been a Conservative favorite, that.

flavius said...

Absoultely right about keeping it in the family and Stanley Johnson. It's something the Americans (Kennedy, Clinton, Bush) and the Labour Party (Cooper, Balls, Harman, Drony, Alexander, Benn ... and now Dunwoody) do so well but the Tories would be well advised to stay well clear of such political incest, especially in Henley, and especially after the justified attacks on the labour selection in Crewe.

judith said...

Bad, bad, bad idea.

Stanley has had his time and opportunities, just like any other 67yr old.

He, and some of the current bed-blockers at Westminster, should make way for the next generation.

Newmania said...

How I feel for Boris , as the possesor of a loud and egomanically disposed father I know the sweaty agonies he will be suffering

" When you`ve been an MEP" indeed ! Why not "When you`ve been a trumpet playing transvestite" They have to do something , not in my view though.

Coincidentally Pere Newmania and Pere Johnson met at a Party conference once and had a drink or two. I doubt either listened to a word the other said and I expect both were sublimely happy

(I love him dearly of course)

Croydonian said...

Although Johnson père has been an MEP and ran for us in Teignbridge in 2005, the bigger problem would be the distinct possibility that he was keeping the seat warm for Boris as and when he completes his term as mayor.

Weygand said...

This would be a dreadful own goal.

It has nothing to do with the merits of Johnson père, except if he cannot see what a rotten idea it is, that alone undermines his suitability for the role.

Can it possibly be argued that Mr J (a gentleman of a certain age)is the most able candidate to represent this constituency for the next ten years? Better than all the other A list candidates who might apply.

If so, then I for one would be looking for a party with more talent; especially young talent.

The only places where this sort of nepotism is allowed is where democracy is stifled by wealth or caste.

Any floating voters would recoil in horror and say to themselves - look at the Tories, it's still who you know and what your name is that counts.

Especially after all the fuss that there will be re Tamsin Dunwoody.

Any suggestion that his candidature will have any chance must be stopped immediately.

kinglear said...

It's simony - nepotism is when you put your children into position, but simony is any other relative, I seem to recall.

Richard said...

Will Iain himself put his name forward...?

Iain Dale said...


Anonymous said...

When he stood in Teignbridge I thought Stanley was very good, given more time he would have won over more voters. Read his blog of the 2005 election.

Anonymous said...

On Stanley's Blog of his adventures in Devon, he says if elected he wouldn't do much! Still DD knows a thing or two - "I was glad to see that Simon Hoggart recorded this exchange faithfully in his Guardian sketch this morning. My experience of Simon is that he is usually pretty accurate. He once related in his column a brief conversation I had with David Davis, then Chairman of the Conservative Party. This was a couple of years ago when I was thinking of applying to be put on the list of official Conservative parliamentary candidates and asked DD whether he thought it would be a good idea. (Actually, I wanted to be put back on the list, since I had been on the list in 1973, unfortunately the archive had gone missing under the 30-year rule)

“Do you want the long answer or the short answer?” DD asked.

“The long answer if you’ve got time” I said coyly.

“The long answer is “no”.

Well, we’ve all passed a lot of water under the bridge since then. I was put on the list of approved candidates just in time to be rejected by Thanet South, Jonathan Aitken’s old seat. The first question the Chairman of the selection committee asked me was to name a single thing I knew about Ramsgate, Thanet South’s main town.

“You’ve got me stumped there” I was forced to reply.

Happily, Teignbridge came up a couple of months later and I was lucky enough to catch the selectors’ eye. If by any chance I am elected here, I shall expect David Davis (assuming he wins in Haltemprice) to buy me a drink in the House of Commons."

Curtees said...

Europhile patrician whose only qualification is being Boris' dad - he'd be an appalling candidate and a worse MP. A step backwards when the candidate should be forward-looking rather than a throwback.

Anonymous said...

It certainly isn't simony- that's when money changes hands. Nepotism AND simony are what did for Wolsey

Charles said...

It would be a PR disaster selecting Stanley Johnson. For starters it would draw more attention on Boris, when he needs to deflect it for a while. And, as you say, the hereditary principle is a massive no-no, upwards or downwards.

Why he is putting his name forward is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Surely the new, inclusive, caring, sharing Tories should put up a black candidate from their A list for this safest-of-safe seats?

Cameron talks the talk; can he walk the walk?

Martin said...

'Simony' refers to the buying or selling of ecclesiastical office; nothing to do with favouritism as such.

'Nepotism' is simply the preferment of relatives; it derives from the practice of certain popes of appointing their illegitimate sons ('nephews') to office.

Enough of being sad and back on topic: I think it would be a very, very bad idea to have Stanley Johnson as the candidate for Henley. Any dirt flung about nepotism in the Crewe campaign would come straight back at us.

verity said...

So. A remarkable consistency of opinion here, for once.

We all think it is a bad idea, for various reasons.

The man is a judgement-free egotist, I'm afraid, and his egotistical inability to see what a bad idea this is is telling.

Also, someone above said he is a Europhile and we don't need any more of those in national office.

Anonymous said...

A very bad idea. Stan is definitely not the man. In any case, he needs to be available to care for his grandchildren and spend money on them as Boris wont have much time to spend with them now he has to actually put in meaningful working hours to look after us Londoners and he must be taking a massive pay cut having to give up all his lucrative journalism.

Diversity said...

I believe that in the Johnson family usage the term that you are searching for is "sucessio antesessorio" derived from homo antesessor. Since the "antesessorial principle" is not English, we have to say "patristic succession" despite the ambiguity. The Americans are better off. They can say the "Poppy principle" (a family can always fall back upon an earlier generation).

Anonymous said...

I wonder if everyone isn't being altogether too serious and high minded about this. Its not as if he would be selected for electoral advantage as its a safe seat.
Im not sure voters might not take an altogether more indulgent view and if he was allowed to stand elect him with an increased majority. They might see it as recompense for having their MP stolen by London.
Im not sure it would even be a PR disaster but might be seen as a good news, "and finally..." story because its not going to be a by-election of political importance.
Voters there have voted for a flamboyant, floppy-blond-haired Conservative since 1974 and I wouldn't bet against them doing so again.

Anonymous said...

This is a by-election in a reasonably strong Tory seat, Lib Dems in a strong second, a significant Labour vote to squeeze in a poor third.

SJ is 67, lives in Devon, and we have just denounced Labour nepotism in Crewe.

I'm sure SJ is a lovely bloke but if we want to throw the seat away into the fat sweaty hands of Chris Rennard and his bar charts, and chuck into the bin all the momentum we've been getting out of the locals and London, then SJ is the man.

If not, pick someone young, locally based and enthusiastic.

Anonymous said...

August 31, 2007 4:46 PM , Laurence Boyce said...
"Anyway, all I really want to say is that if Boris Johnson becomes Mayor of London, I shall kiss Donal Blaney's arse."

Anonymous said...

Boris hasn't yet said that he is giving up his Henley seat.

He might decide to be Mayor of London and MP for Henley.

It is not impossible. After all, Brown is PM and MP.

John Pickworth said...

Stanley quite impressed me while being interviewed during Boris's campaign...

But no, he shouldn't do this, its inviting too much trouble.

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Nick said...

The obvious candidate is not well known to the media, but will do a better job than Boris senior.

Frank Browne recently stood down as leader of Wokingham Council after several years of competent management.

He will make a superb MP, so get moving Frank, and Boris, hurry up and do the chiltern hundreds watsit.