Now that Johnson has the Tory leadership practically sewn up, more and more distressing facts are coming to public attention.
The other day, for example, he viciously attacked a lesbian couple on a London bus, beating them to a bloody pulp.
Well, if you want to be pedantic about this, Boris wasn’t the one landing the punches. In fact, my sources confidently report he wasn’t on that – or any other – London bus that day.
However, according to the victims interviewed on Channel 4, Johnson was the real culprit in the attack, more real than the actual thugs who had drawn blood.
Now it’s no secret that Channel 4’s affection for any politician is inversely proportionate to his conservatism. Since this month Boris seems to be the most conservative of the realistic candidates, Channel 4 would happily see him eviscerated, stuffed and put on public display in the Whitechapel Monster museum.
Hence one of the first questions the interviewer put to the victims concerned Mr Johnson’s suitability for high office. What else could he possibly have asked two women beaten up on public transport? The floodgates were flung open.
Homophobic hate crimes are alive and well, they complained, and it’s all because Johnson personally creates a climate of hatred. Fit to lead the United Kingdom? You’ve got to be joking.
“I do not think that Boris Johnson is fit to lead anything much less the United Kingdom,” fumed one of the victims. What, not even a dog on its walkies?
Since Johnson’s guilt was self-evident to both parties, the interviewer didn’t probe into the issue too deeply, which was good news for the candidate. After all, incitement to violence is a crime that potentially could land him in Wormwood Scrubs rather than 10 Downing Street.
But being by nature an inquisitive sort, I looked into the matter more closely. After all, we may be talking about our next PM.
It turns out that in his 2001 book Johnson expressed opposition to homomarriage. Not only that, but he actually suggested he saw no valid difference between marrying two men and a man with his dog.
Having myself written things along these lines many times, I’m ready to spring to Johnson’s defence.
The only marriage worthy of the name is between a man and a woman, which argument can be made from every conceivable angle: historical, religious, moral, social, cultural, demographic and so forth.
The counterargument is typically eudemonic: if two people of the same sex are naturally inclined that way, why shouldn’t they marry? Wouldn’t that increase the happiness of the world?
The response to this is that in a moral society not all natural inclinations are to be condoned, much less encouraged. For example, we still, for old times’ sake, refuse to exonerate a chap naturally inclined to violence or thieving.
And if our society is no longer moral, then what’s the difference between a man having sex with another man or, say, a sheep? On what grounds do we discriminate against one perversion in favour of another?
Some Welsh sheep I’ve seen are more attractive than Sir Elton John and, if rumours are to be believed, some shepherds are naturally inclined to succumb to those ovine charms. Consummation of such attraction doubtless makes them happy, so why not let them marry?
Isn’t this the same argument as one in favour of homomarriage? I think so, and so evidently does Mr Johnson.
You may disagree, although only false modesty prevents me from claiming that I could easily destroy any dissenting argument based on logic (a purely emotional one is of course indestructible). So could Mr Johnson.
But one way or the other, how can putting forth an argument be seen as incitement to violence, even if we happen to disagree? I dare say the ability to argue soundly and logically ought to be hailed as a great asset for any politician trying to make sense of our mad world.
However, precisely because Mr Johnson chooses to be rather conservative this month, an open season has started.
Since according to Descartes all knowledge is comparative, Johnson’s beastliness can be best illustrated by comparing him to some rather disagreeable political figure of the past. Such as Hitler.
Not to my mind, but to the giant one belonging to Mohammed Amin, the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. Mr Amin has vowed to quit the Tories after 36 years as a member if this present-day answer to the führer gets to lead the party.
The parallel between Mr Johnson and Hitler isn’t so obvious as not to require a clarification. Mr Amin is happy to oblige. Yes, he admits grudgingly, Johnson is popular, but “popularity is not the test. A lot of Germans thought that Hitler was the right man for them.”
Now the first part of that statement is correct: popularity isn’t – or rather shouldn’t be – the test.
It’s the second part of the statement that makes me doubt the giant size of Mr Amin’s mind. True, Hitler was popular with the Germans, but that’s not all he’s known for. He also gassed Jews, which to my knowledge isn’t Mr Johnson’s plan (I’m not so sure about Corbyn’s Labour).
Anyway, if popularity isn’t the test, what is? Put another way, what is the test Mr Johnson fails so comprehensively as to rate comparison with a mass murderer?
Mr Amin explains: “The test is, is this person sufficiently moral to be prime minister, and I believe he fails that test.” That may be, but there’s much moral mileage between failing Mr Amin’s rigorous moral tests and being evil.
That Mr Johnson isn’t exactly a choirboy is well-known, but he isn’t a candidate for canonisation. He stands for Tory leadership, a job in which certain moral laxness doesn’t necessarily spell automatic disqualification.
Boris is known for a roving eye but, compared to some great statesmen of the past, he’s indeed a choirboy. The list is long of US presidents who ran an uninterrupted string of girls through the White House or of French kings and first ministers who did the same at Versailles. Nor has every inhabitant of 10 Downing Street kept the premises monastically pristine.
Many people who seek political office are highly sexed: lust for power is closely related psychologically and hormonally to other lusts. If we wanted to elect sexual teetotallers, we’d have to raid monasteries. Alas, they haven’t existed in Britain since Henry VIII did just that.
Actually, it’s not really Mr Johnson’s sexual shenanigans that most vex Mr Amin. “There are lots and lots of Muslims in the party,” he says, “who are very concerned about Boris Johnson.”
I’m surprised there are “lots and lots of Muslims” in the Tory party tout court. I can’t help feeling they have to be either bad Tories or bad Muslims.
After all, British conservatism traditionally takes a dim view of such Muslim practices as the stoning of adulterers, although Mr Amin seems to think that may be a good idea in this case.
The problem is that Mr Johnson’s pronouncements on Islam highlight the divergence in the Tory and Muslim views of the world. For example, he favours a ban on the public wearing of the burqa, claiming that women thus clad resemble “letter boxes” or “bank robbers”.
The similes may or may not work, but show me a Tory who isn’t offended to see swarms of women sporting Halloween costumes in England, and I’ll show you, well, the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum.
It would be too much to expect a Muslim scorned to choose a less emotional comparison to put Mr Johnson down. A Muslim Tory (if they exist in anything other than name), for example, could say that Tony Blair was popular, but he was one of the most destructive prime ministers in British history.
But where’s the emotional charge in that? No, Boris Johnson has to be a latter-day Hitler, who attacks lesbians on buses and wants to gas all homosexuals and Muslims.
That much-vaunted British understatement, wherefore art thou?