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Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister of Britain. Unlike most people who rise in politics, he has not been a career politician. Sure, he was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, beating the shoo-in Labor candidate and winning re-election to a second term after his first four years. London is a very cosmopolitan city, so this is similar to a Republican winning the election to be Mayor of San Francisco. I'm not going to relate his entire life history, you can read that in his Wikipedia entry, and many other places.
Before he became a politician, he was a journalist. In 1999, Conrad Black, the owner, offered him the editorship of The Spectator provided he gave up his political aspirations and he agreed. The Spectator is the longest-running continuously published magazine in the world, having been first published in 1828. A piece of trivia: the oldest continuously published magazine in the US is Scientific American, which was first published in 1845.
The Spectator's editorship has sometimes been a stepping stone into politics. Perhaps most famously one of its editors was Nigel Lawson who went on to be Margaret Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer, effectively her deputy. And now Boris Johnson, who was editor from 1999 to 2005. At the start of his editorship it was losing money, by the end it was profitable. In 2001, he ignored his promise not to get into politics and won election as a Member of Parliament (MP), roughly equivalent to a Congressman. Black called him duplicitous but didn't fire him.
Around 2000, when he was editor but not yet an MP, I started writing pieces about technology. I started it to see if I could do it, and to have something to send to my daughter who was away at school. I thought they were still on my consulting website but they don't seem to be there anymore. But I reused a lot of what I wrote when I started to write the EDAgraffiti blog in the 2008 downturn when I had no job.
The back of The Spectator had (and still has) several columns called things like "High Life" and "Low Life". The current selection is "High Life", "Low Life", "Wild Life", and "Real Life". Weirdly, that last one is mostly about horse-riding (or horseback riding as it seems to be called in the US, as if there might be other choices).
I emailed Boris several of the pieces I'd written and suggested it might be good to add some technology to the more literary bent of much of the rest of the magazine. We exchanged a couple of emails since he said he liked what I'd written, although he was famous as editor for not always reading everything before publishing it, so maybe he never even read them. Anyway, he decided not to add a column. So "Silicon Valley Life" or whatever never appeared in The Spectator. To be honest, I was surprised to even get a reply, since I assumed he must be inundated with potential contributions. Those emails were on my old PC and I never kept them. Of course, had I known he was going to become Prime Minister, I'd have treated them more like sacred texts.
I went on writing anyway, first with the EDAgraffiti blog on the EDN website, then at Semiwiki, and finally Breakfast Bytes which you are now reading. Luckily, Cadence liked my writing more than the British Prime Minister!
Boris was actually born in New York, with the splendid name Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. So if you think politics can't get any weirder, don't forget that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is also a "natural born citizen of the United States".
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