Endless Fox to give: Laurence 4 London Mayor is another empty Telegraph exclusive

Christopher Hope once again plays stenographer for the world’s most divorced man in his quest to become Dickhead Whittington.

In recent months, The Daily Telegraph’s Chief Political Correspondent, Christopher Hope, has regularly acted as a bargain basement Boswell to an even more self-aggrandising Samuel Johnson, albeit one who seems to have stopped learning new things in secondary school. Whenever Laurence Fox wants to honk like a ghastly goose sent half-mad by other more ‘woke’ waterfowl, he waddles his way to Christopher Hope and The Telegraph to give them the ‘exclusive’.

I would say that Hope lacks self-respect but ‘Chopper’ has an ego that is nearly as enlarged as Fox’s. Instead, he’s willing to act as a stenographer for the world’s most divorced dad because he fully buys into the ‘culture war’ and cannot get enough of poking ‘the wokeists’ — defined here as anyone who thinks history should include the bad bits, thinks not all statues should stand, and isn’t obsessed with Churchill to the point of a fetish.

Under the booming headline, Laurence Fox exclusive: I’m standing for London Mayor to offer a voice to those being dominated into silence — because being shovelled millions of pounds by a hedge funder and given national newspaper coverage for your every utterance screams ‘silenced’ — Hope writes breathlessly:

Laurence Fox is to fight Sadiq Khan in the upcoming Mayor of London elections, vowing to “offer a voice to those who are being dominated into silence”.

The actor and leader of the anti-Woke Reclaim Party has revealed to The Telegraph that he is entering the race for City Hall as part of the fight against "extreme political correctness".

Mr Fox will also fight on a platform for lifting lockdown as soon as he is elected in May rather than waiting until June, when all restrictions are due to be removed.

I think Sadiq Khan will be pleased to hear that Fox is dedicated to splitting the dickhead vote with the Conservatives’ catastrofuck candidate Shaun Bailey, and UKIP’s nominative determinism gone mad candidate, Dr Peter Gammons.

In a move that fits with Fox’s real role as a flesh puppet for far-right voices too chicken shit to put their own faces to the pontificating policies, his campaign is being bankrolled by “a new single donation from [multi-millionaire asset manager and] former Tory donor Jeremy Hosking”. Hosking put £5 million into Reclaim back in September 2020.

Reclaim is merely a rebadging of train-mad Hosking’s previous failed political party Brexit Express, and Fox — looking like a hipster cadaver reanimated by having six AA batteries shoved up its arse — is a convenient frontman for his backer’s obsessions. It’s unsurprising that Fox has clumsily noted in previous interviews that he’s been heavily-briefed by ‘advisors’. Those advisors are never named, of course.

Hope’s hilariously boot-licking article is balanced on spurious polling about Londoner’s attitudes to ‘wokery’, which was commissioned by… the Reclaim Party. Even paying for the polling and presumably leaning pretty heavily on Savanta ComRes to shape the questions to produce the answers they wanted, Fox and his Reclaim entourage could not get a big percentage on their side:

One in four voters in the capital thought Mr Khan was "too woke" - although 27 per cent found him "not woke enough".

A similar proportion - 25 per cent - were against a review ordered by Mr Khan into whether statues should be removed because of links to slavery or colonialism, against 39 per cent in favour…

The survey, conducted by Savanta ComRes among 1,000 people in London in late February for the Reclaim Party, found that 25 per cent of Londoners wanted lockdown lifted by the end of this month.

Some 58 per cent wanted it gone by the end of May. Among Londoners aged 18-34, the latter figure rises to 63 per cent.

The link in that first line is to an article by Nigel Farage, someone with whom Fox has said he has a good relationship and who The Sunday Telegraph also has an ‘exclusive’ with today, inevitably framed around his ‘war on the woke’.

In ‘reporting’ on the polling, Hope has used one of the cheapest tricks in the book of tabloid tradecraft — mixing your units to make a figure seem larger than it actually is. So he writes, “One in four voters” because it sounds bigger than the 27% that comes later in the sentence, even though one in four is 25%.

Hope will also be well-aware that removing Covid-19 restrictions is not in the gift of the London Mayor. They are laws put in place by the Westminster government that will only be loosened on the say-so of ministers, particularly the Prime Minister. Yet Hope writes:

Mr Fox will also fight on a platform for lifting lockdown as soon as he is elected in May rather than waiting until June…

Fox could also fight on a platform that promises the introduction of a unicorn breeding programme at London Zoo and a lifetime supply of lead spun into gold for every Londoner if he wants to focus on things that aren’t going to happen.

If Hope was in the business of committing acts of journalism, he’d say Fox’s policies are ludicrous and unlikely to appeal to all but the most rabid culture warriors but remember this is the man who assured us that Boris Johnson will build a tunnel under the Irish Sea, avoiding all the nuclear waste and carelessly dumped munitions. Hope specialises in barely credible speculative fiction.

After Hope is done poking the bones of Fox’s anaemic agenda around his plate, we get a piece bylined to the political colossus himself. He begins by confessing that he learned all he needs to know about history in Year 8 and refuses to be bothered with further ‘context’ now:

As a small child, I always thought that Britain was brilliant at everything. I sat in secondary school being told stories of great battles and inventors. Brave kings and wars that lasted a hundred years. Of Hurricanes and Spitfires dancing around the sky, vastly outnumbered, holding fast against the relentless juggernaut of fascism that had swept across Europe, ready to cross the Channel to suffocate England in its deadly embrace.

As a small child, I thought my dad could beat up the Terminator. Small children are, while often very entertaining, also by and large idiots. That’s the state in which Laurence Fox has remained, a career adequately pretending to be other people having kept him in a state of perpetual childhood. His idea of history is a Boy’s Own (and boys only) conception; a cheap comic that starts with King Arthur and ends with Churchill.

Fox writes about “the relentless juggernaut of fascism” — what a prose stylist he is! — without realising that, in the Reclaim Party, he is involved in building the rickety Robin Reliant of fascism, trundling along with a boot full of right-wing cash and no real policies beyond, “I should be able to breathe on whoever I like and not being allowed to say slurs with impunity is PC gone mad”.

Reclaim won’t claim a significant slice of the vote in the Mayoral election. Fox has — as the tedious media metaphor has it — ‘thrown his hat into the race’ too late to make a dent in Sadiq Khan’s poll lead. Even if he had got off his Old Harrovian arse earlier his rants about ‘free speech’ and ‘lockdown’ are designed to be catnip to former UKIP voters, the more extreme wing of the Conservative Party, and the dwindling readership of The Daily Telegraph.

Fox’s article — and I’m being generous using that word — barrels through the usual talking points about ‘free speech’, statues, ‘freedom’, and lockdown — a greatest hits for the biggest shits — but he doesn’t talk about budgets, housing, transport, or “the bins”, which as anyone who knows about British politics will tell you are always the most vexed issue on the electorate’s minds.

If in some unlikely King Ralph-style scenario, Laurence Fox did become Mayor of London, he’d be baffled and bored within minutes. He’s a giant child who has spent his professional life pretending to be people who are more intelligent than him and, while still being handed a script to read, has fooled himself into thinking that he can actually be a politician. Being Mayor is boring. He wouldn’t get to cry ‘freedom’ and rush across London’s bridges with a sword in his hand, he’d be spending wet Wednesday’s talking about bus provision in Wandsworth.

As if Fox’s garbled thoughts in The Telegraph were not funny enough, Reclaim has also produced a party political broadcast, featuring him wandering around an empty restaurant with an odd limp that I can only assume is the result of a psychosomatic wound from his days taking incoming wokeist fire on the culture war frontlines:

Speaking directly to camera with a martial drumbeat behind his words — an attempt to inject gravitas into drivel — Fox intones:

The one thing that we can agree on is that we find ourselves here, now, today — not tomorrow and not yesterday, thank god — today… so what are you going to do? Well, I am going to stand to be mayor of this beautiful city…

The tone is not, as he clearly hopes, Churchillian but reminiscent of the confused sloganeering of Kang and Kodos in The Simpsons pulling on skin suits to campaign for the Presidency as ‘Bob Dole’ and ‘Bill Clinton’:

“The politics of failure have failed! We need to make them work again; tomorrow when you are sealed in the voting cubicle vote for me, Senator Ka… Bob Dole!”

“I am looking forward to an orderly election tomorrow which will eliminate the need for a violent bloodbath…”

I’m not, of course, comparing Laurence Fox to a blood-thirsty space alien. That would be unfair on Kang and Kodos who were both competent and capable of winning an election.

The problem with the ‘Laurence4London’ campaign is not that he might win — he won’t — but that it is another means for Fox to get airtime that far outweighs his relevance. While complaining bitterly that he is silenced, he’ll slip onto more and more news shows, given a thin sheen of credibility by his Mayoral run and trafficking the talking points provided to him by his big-money backer.

A win for Fox isn’t gaining political power but further pushing the debate rightwards, all the while honking on about ‘freedom’. Laurence Fox isn’t Oswald Mosely, but he can plausibly play him on TV.

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