THERE are some pictures out there of Boris Johnson, the Tory London Mayor, and Tulip Siddiq, the Labour leisure chief at Camden Council, smiling sweetly together at Maria Fidelis School on Thursday. An impressive mobile swimming pool had landed in the playground and with a Labour selection battle ahead of her, this isn’t the moment for Tulip to miss a photo opportunity.
It was one of those set pieces where Boris gets to the play Colonel Bumble, the lovable bounder posing in suit and tie next to arched synchronised swimmers from Team GB. In the interviews after he played up how he learned to swim in a Camden school pool, i.e. he’s not just a mop from Eton. For all that, it’s hard to be a grinch about the scheme which will get more kids swimming and provide a community facility even if just for a few weeks.
In those interviews afterwards, one journalist asked him if his kids were good swimmers, which threw him a little. But perhaps his stickiest moment in on Thursday happened out of sight. Before he appeared for the pictures, Boris and Tulip met in a back room at Maria Fidelis, where she shoved him a petition calling on him to stop the closure of Belsize Fire Station. He hadn’t come here for that.
The kids looked like they were having a great time in the pool when the flashbulbs went off, but Tulip and Boris having a right old ding-dong in the school office would’ve been a front page picture.