Today's Sunday Post column in full.
Operation Stop Bojo. If you don't know the nickname of London Mayor Boris Johnson, you must live outside the M25 bubble. If you don't understand why Tories would want to halt the rise of their most popular politician, you must live outside the ConDem bubble too. On the other hand, if you don't see why a self-confessed "prat" should be a contender for the job of Prime Minister just because he backed a successful Olympic Games, you might be Bojo himself. Confused? Don't be.
Boris was repeatedly asked in an ITV Daybreak interview last week if he would like to be the next PM but dismissed the speculation as a "silly season" story. "No, of course not, because I have got four years of mayor of London ahead ... perhaps this is the moment to knock this once and for all on the head?" Well, it looks like Boris will have to knock it a bit harder.
An opinion poll has found Boris is the most popular choice to replace David Cameron should the Tory leader resign before 2015 – a switch which would apparently also cut Labour's current eight percentage poll lead. Last week, Tory MP Nadine Dorries tweeted: "In 2005, senior member of the cabinet told me to vote for David Cameron for leader as Boris wasn't ready yet. He is now!" In short Bojo is on a roll and Tory grandees are rattled. One Cabinet source said: "This Boris love-fest has to stop. We won't allow him to be the star turn at conference. That's reserved for David Cameron. Boris is just part of the choir." And of course even if Boris proves to be Pavarotti he is currently singing solo outside the all-important kirk of the Commons. But there are several constituencies into which the bold Boris could be parachuted before the 2015 general election leaving him time to challenge Dave for the party leadership. And although it's all rather last minute, parachuting might suit Boris rather well.
Any other politician would have been mortified by the stunt that went wrong high above crowds in London's Victoria Park last week. Boris got stuck on a 150ft high, 1,000ft long zip wire and was left hanging above the crowd for several minutes. "How on earth could you elect that guy? How could anybody elect a prat who gets stuck in a zip wire?" Mr Johnson quipped. Don't believe that self-effacing modesty for a moment. Bojo has his eyes on the prize – and the public senses it. The next day an adventure park in Wales gave away free zip-wire rides to all visitors wearing a blonde wig – or named Boris. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Bojo must be chuffed. Especially since positive publicity overshadows gaffes like inviting disgraced media mogul Rupert Murdoch as guest of honour to the Olympic swimming finals. Why on earth did Boris do that?
Opponents also claim the married Mayor is a "ladies man" with a stack-full of skeletons ready to fall from the closet. He was sacked from the Tory frontbench by former leader Michael Howard in 2004 after an affair became public – although he was reinstated by fellow Etonian David Cameron before becoming Mayor in 2007.
Who knows if there's more to come? Meantime though, Boris is precisely the kind of outgoing, independent, have a go hero many folk want for a Prime Minister. But does the Bojo effect work beyond London? If Dave flatlined in Scotland, can Boris "bounce" here? Supporters say Bojo is the "Heineken Tory" who appeals to voters no other Tory can reach – and Labour supporters certainly helped him win a second mayoral term last year.
Policy-wise he's a mixed bag -- against Lords reform, pro-growth measures, anti-Europe, pro-immigration and pro-gay marriage. Mind you he also says London "exports" its taxes to Scotland and there's "not a cat's chance in Hades" Scots will vote for independence. I think that's what you call a "rough wooing". But then Bojo doesn't need Scottish votes to become Tory leader – or even PM. And the charm of Boris is that he doesn't try to sound like anyone but the eccentric Old Etonian he actually is. His children are named Theodore Apollo, Cassia Peaches, Milo Arthur and Lara Lettice Johnson. He's a descendant of King George II and David Cameron's 8th cousin. If Danny Boyle was the brains behind the barking Opening Ceremony, Bojo is its very personification. Eccentric, posh, heart probably in the right place and strangely effective.
People like his unruly hair, his blunt name, his background as a journalist and the way he stood up to Paxo on Newsnight. But is that enough to propel Boris to the top?
Stranger things have happened. And as Boris proved last week – he doesn't mind hanging around to find out.