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Paper Monitor

12:18 UK time, Monday, 29 September 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's not every Tory politician who prompts wolf whistles just for walking on stage. Indeed, it is a rare politician of any stripe who elicits such a response.

But Boris Johnson does not fit the usual template. He is, as the Times sketch writer Ann Treneman summaries, the party's "favourite stand-up". Ho ho ho, David Cameron appears to be saying in the accompanying photograph of BoJo's delighted audience. Nor does he appear to be laughing through gritted teeth, though Treneman notes the Tory leader's grin became more fixed as the adulation wore on.

But before Boris made his appearance, Mr Cameron "slipped" into a seat in the auditorium (quotemarks Treneman's own) and sat watching himself deliver a pre-speech tribute to the former MP for Henley, "his preternaturally squeaky-clean face looking even more squeegeed than usual".

For that description alone, Paper Monitor would happily award the mighty Treneman with muchos kudos.

And that is before she recounts the court jester's passive-aggressive power struggle with his master, masked as blokey joking: "'Dave!' he cried, his arm going up in mad salute. 'Can I call you Dave?' he cried. 'Yes I can!'"

All of which does rather undermine the foundations of the "untriumphal arch" the Daily Telegraph imagines Mr Cameron constructing in Birmingham, in an effort not to appear hubristic. "How we trembled for this modest edifice when the Mayor of London came on to speak," writes Andrew Gimson in his conference sketch.

Boris has previously vowed to emulate Emperor Augustus, a leader famous for his transformation of Rome from a city of brick to one clothed in marble. Gimson again uses this comparison to draw out his architectural analogy, as London's mayor spoke of his grand hopes for his city come the 2012 Olympics.

Really Boris? What have the Romans ever done for us?

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