Boris Johnson has leapt to the defence of Britain's free press, emphasising his support for "our imperilled" media by saying it would be a national tragedy if The Guardian was to stop producing its print edition.
The mayor of London defended the "brutal, exuberant and uninhibited media" of Britain in his Daily Telegraph column and expressed sympathy for Lord Leveson as he prepares to report his recommendations for press reform.
However Johnson expressed incredulity that new regulations could be imposed while the media are already under threat by free content being so widely available on the internet.
To emphasis his strength of feeling, he refers to a reported incident among top management at The Guardian where the idea was apparently floated to scrap the print edition all together. The Guardian has rubbished claims that it is stopping the presses permanently in order to concentrate soley on their online operation.
But Johnson stresses his support for The Guardian is not motivated by personal interest, writing:
"When I was standing against Ken Livingstone, they did a special supplement in which various members of the Lefty great and the good were invited to say what a prat/plonker/berk/buffoon I was. Many of them vowed to leave London if I were elected (a promise, sadly, they have not kept)."
However in a rather tongue-in-cheek defence, the mayor of London expresses revulsion at the disappearance of the print edition saying we need to see The Guardian "lowering at us from the news-stands in all its highmindedness."
"Guilt-ridden Lefties will need it to swat the mosquitoes in Tuscany, or to light the wood-burning stoves in their second homes, or to line the tuck boxes of their little ones as they guiltily pack them off – like dear Polly Toynbee – to their fee-paying schools. And it would be a calamity for us Conservatives if we no longer knew what the enemy was thinking."
Johnson puts the issue in perspective, echoing his previous column 'Never mind all those badgers – it’s time to save Nick Clegg'
However he finishes this time with the flourish: "Never mind the badger. Save the Guardian from extinction!"
SSSSSHHH, quietly now Boris
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