Earlier this week Boris Johnson came to the rescue of film director Franny Armstrong when a bunch of hoodlums set upon her. Although she’s not a Tory and actually voted for Ken Livingstone at the last mayoral election, Armstrong said: “If you find yourself down a dark alleyway and in trouble I think Boris would be more use than Ken”.
Is this true? Does Boris really trump Ken when it comes to fighting prowess? Here is a very serious assessment of their differing capabilities…
BORIS ‘BRUISER’ JOHNSON
HEIGHT: 5 feet 10 inches.
COMBAT EXPERIENCE: Trained in basic thuggery at the ’Bullingdon Club’. Thought to be a specialist in smashing plates, throwing pot plants through windows, and then paying for the damage. 8/10
ALLIES ON THE BATTLEFIELD: His mate Darius Guppy knows some gentlemen who will break legs for cash. Boris is happy to go along with such schemes. 6/10
BRUTE STRENGTH: Look at him, he’s a sizeable fellow. Plus his constant cycling and history of rumbustious extramarital affairs suggest considerable energy. 8/10
SECRET MANOEUVER: ‘The BoJo Piffle’. Boris starts waffling on about Ancient Rome and drops in a few witticisms whilst waving his arms around manically. Potentially amusing, but rarely deadly. 3/10
LOW CUNNING: Pretending to be a buffoon but actually getting himself elected as London Mayor and perhaps establishing himself as a rival to fellow Old Etonian David Cameron. 9/10
OFFENSIVENESS: Has managed to offend cities such as Liverpool and Portsmouth. Has said ridiculous things about gay marriage. During his editorship of The Spectator he was happy to allow pretty racist articles to be printed. His own ‘humourous’ description of African “watermelon smiles” and “piccaninnies” also got him in a spot of bother during the mayoral campaign. 9/10
OVERALL ‘KO’ ABILITY: 7/10-ish
KEN ‘LEFT HOOK’ LIVINGSTONE
HEIGHT: I can’t find a reference to Ken’s height on the intergoogles, but considering his love of giving planning permission to tall buildings let’s say somewhere around 1,020 feet.
COMBAT EXPERIENCE: As a prominent anti-war figure it would be against Ken’s principles to involve himself in violence, although he can get very cross indeed during heated arguments with Evening Standard hacks. 2/10
ALLIES ON THE BATTLEFIELD: Very chummy with former general Hugo Chavez. Ken’s hosting of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in the 1980s and suicide bombing justifier Yusuf al-Qaradawi in 2004 means he has good contacts with people not totally averse to physical force tactics. 9/10
BRUTE STRENGTH: Ken doesn’t do too well here, but his love of whisky drinking could well unleash some pent-up aggression at the required moment. 5/10
SECRET MANOEUVER: ‘The Screaming Newt of Doom’. Ken revs up his voice to produce an ear-splitting nasal whine so powerful that it can destroy Frank Dobson’s mayoral hopes and really irritate Prime Ministers. 10/10
LOW CUNNING: Getting cheap oil from Venezuela for London buses whilst they get, um, consultancy or something wishywashy like that in return. 7/10
OFFENSIVENESS: Telling a Jewish journalist that he was like a concentration camp guard and then refusing to apologise was fairly rude. His cosying up to Islamists and views on Israel have certainly not endeared him to the Jewish community. Saying things about the British treatment of the Irish being worse than Hitler’s treatement of the Jews made him seem like a twit in just about everybody’s eyes. 9/10
OVERALL ’KO’ ABILITY: 7/10-ish
Ergo, Ms Armstrong is wrong to so readily dismiss Ken’s fighting skills.
Although the former mayor may not look up to much, the people on Ken’s Christmas card list could prove very valuable as allies in a combat situation, and the secret manoeuver he keeps hidden up his sleeve can be devastating.
Admittedly Boris is better in a straightforward punch-up, but a holistic assessment suggests that the former and the present London mayors are pretty evenly matched.