Boris Johnson was sacked from the Times for making up a quote. He also told a 'barefaced lie' to Michael Howard about an extramarital affair.
And he humoured an old friend when he asked for a phone number in the knowledge that the friend intended to beat the man up. Even Conrad Black, the newspaper proprietor imprisoned for fraud, is wary of Boris, whom he describes as "a sly fox disguised as a teddy bear".
Yet Ed Curran apparently thinks that Eddie Mair asking him: "You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?" is rude. Come off it, Ed. Boris is very popular and was recently re-elected as mayor. He has ambitions to be 'world king', or at least prime minister of the UK. He cannot expect to be treated with kid gloves.
The public, apparently, will forgive a likable rogue almost anything. Yet, are they not the same people who constantly complain that they don't trust politicians because they tell lies and are only in it for themselves?
Perhaps this explains the other saying that people get the politicians they deserve. And perhaps it also explains why so many journalists fail to call politicians to account.
Well done, Eddie Mair, a model of politeness – and brilliant menace when needed. If only we had your like here during the Troubles.
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