The National:

"A thoroughly good-egg", "a man of supreme integrity", "a straight-talking megalith" ... these are how an article published by the BBC described Boris Johnson in 2004.

Alastair Brian of The Ferret dug up an article available on the magazine section of the supposedly impartial public service broadcaster's website.

The source of the fanmail is "an admirer" – Simon Stacpoole, editor of

To quote the Beeb's own description of the piece: "As Boris Johnson turns 40, an admirer takes a fond - and completely biased - look at the floppy-haired editor, MP, columnist and 'good egg'."

It's nice of them to point out it was biased, just in case we thought all the glowing praise from the editor of a Boris Johnson fan site was neutral.

Can you imagine their reaction if someone suggested doing the same for the First Minister?

Yet the BBC was content to publish, without opposing comment, a 750-word puff piece for Boris Johnson.

It includes such gems as:  "He's a thoroughly good egg, a man of supreme integrity - and that's what marks him out from the crowd."

Or, on his columns: "His regular columns in The Telegraph are noted not only for their sparkling wit and command of the English language but also because he consistently hits the nail on the head - it may not be what you want to hear, but you know in the back of your mind that the great buffoon is right."

This would be the same year that, as editor of The Spectator, Boris Johnson published a poem labelling Scots a "verminous race" who should be exterminated.

And it's not just his politics the author is in love with: "In this world of trials and tribulations, of huge conflict and political cynicism, the man who Alistair Campbell once described as a 'great, quivering mass of indecision' has shown that you can balance a busy working life while having a jolly good time."

The piece concludes: "He has become the darling of an increasingly jaded nation - and for that, Boris, we salute you. I know I speak for many when I say - happy birthday, Boris Johnson."

And now, Boris Johnson is set to become prime minister.

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