I raised a few hackles among readers of this blog a few weeks' back for daring to criticise Boris Johnson, so I was interested to read about the report by Compass on why the former Spectator editor is unfit to be Mayor of London.
Frankly, I think the Brownite think-tank was being a bit po-faced by quoting Boris's comments on driving a Ferrari against him - "the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion".
It may be tasteless, but most readers would probably take this comment in the light-hearted spirit in which it was meant. Racism, though, is a different matter - especially in a city as multiracial as London.
In its report, Compass described Johnson as "a type of Norman Tebbit in a clown's uniform." Perhaps a better comparison, though, would have been with Enoch Powell.
The Compass dossier, which delved back into Johnson's journalistic career as well as his more recent political utterances, reminds us that Johnson once wrote a piece in which he referred to black people as "piccaninnies with watermelon smiles."
The phrase "wide-grinning piccaninnies" was of course used by Powell in the notorious Rivers of Blood speech in 1968 which effectively ended his career in frontline politics. As such it is a word which all aspiring Tory politicians should surely avoid.