Big, blonde, bumbling Boris. If anyone could take him seriously, nobody would be laughing.
When Boris Johnson came to Kingston University in 2011 he was treated exactly as he’s used to being treated. A 100-or-so strong crowd assembled to massage his ego as he rode on an eco-friendly scooter, mindlessly applauding his calculated idiocy as if he were some kind of fat, grotesque five-year-old grinning his stupid blonde chops off after getting a B+ on his latest spelling test.
Don’t get me wrong, I find Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson amusing too. His wit, bumbling personality and charisma is undeniable – but he’s a clever man, a genius even, to use it to get everyone to eat out of his hands. Voters, companions, the media… He’s the story wherever he goes and it means he never has to engage anybody politically.
Nobody mentions his stream of lies, ignorance, and obfuscation.
Used to getting it his own way
Until this week. It was delightful to see a journalist, Eddie Mair, finally ask Boris some real questions, instead of taking him on within his own territory as a demi-comedian. (see video below)
Johnson has orchestrated his rise from a right-wing sensationalist journalist through the ranks of politics by refusing to be a politician. Appearances on Top Gear (twice), Have I Got News For You (eight times), Room 101, Who Do You Think You Are, Richard and Judy, Parkinson and more have cemented him as a funny man in British television. The man is supposed to be a politician and he’s been nominated for a BAFTA!
He’s no friend of students
His visit to Kingston came less than a year after students had been out on the streets protesting against the Tory policy to triple our tuition fees, yet apart from a handful of students who demonstrated against his presence on campus (before being hurriedly removed by security, lest it tarnish Johnson’s PR appearance) all the students and staff there lapped it up.
After the first student protest, Johnson called for more G20-esque police tactics to be used on protesters. Remembering that a man was killed at the G20 protests, what does that show about the contempt he holds us students in?
Politician – not comedian
It’s not wrong to find the Mayor of London endearing. But when you go to vote in the next mayoral election (or, heaven forbid, general election if he runs for Prime Minister, which is looking likelier by the day) consider him for his policies and history, rather than how much he makes you laugh. People need to remember that he’s Johnson, the Bullingdon-club Tory; not Boris the pantomime hero.
He can’t keep it in his pants, agreed to supply the address of a journalist his friend wanted beaten up, and uses his personality to escape difficult questions.
Boris Berlusconi, anyone?
Watch Michael Cockerill’s documentary, Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise, here. And a short interview exposing some of the skeletons in Johnson’s cupboard below.