Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – a man of the people if you ever did see one. Or at least, that’s the characterisation he’s long since been desperate to convey. Sure, he may on the face of it come across as an especially ostentatious clod from a mercifully undiscovered Dickensian novel but don’t be fooled – “Bozza” is most definitely one of you.
Look. He plays football and everything:
As preposterous a scheme as it may indeed be, you can’t really blame Boris for indulging. The political class have always had an image problem amongst the great unwashed, with perceptions ranging from mere distrust to full blown disgust. Cut adrift in the impenetrable Westminster bubble, they couldn’t possibly understand the endless tribulations of the average Joe. I mean how could they? Joe’s life has been defined by endless toil and back breaking graft – a existence complete with worry, financial strife and a disconcerting sense of isolation; as if the prosperous spectrum of society isn’t just a world away, but an exclusive club he’s irrevocably cut adrift from.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s formative years however, looked somewhat like this:
With this in mind, the strategy for Boris was fairly simple – if he wished to elevate his standing with the British electorate beyond that of the average cynical careerist, the only recourse was to sell the fabrication that, despite his astonishing privilege, he’s really just your average salt of the Earth bloke. Unfortunately, convincing the plebs that a man born with a silver ladle lodged down his gullet is actually an easily relatable bundle of effervescent empathy is quite the challenge, which is perhaps why Bojo has always seen fit to ramp up the absurdity at every possible opportunity. Zip-wiring, clowning, writing a heartfelt sonnet about the Turkish Prime Minister penetrating a goat – you name it. If it plays with the shit munchers, then dignity is superfluous. Anything to maintain the image that Boris Johnson is a jovial figurehead for the proletariat, bursting with patriotic pride and a heartfelt desire to put a smile back on the faces of his subjects.
The trouble is, that’s not true is it? Not even fucking close. Of course, highlighting Boris’ duplicity now isn’t quite the newsflash it would have been pre-referendum. As he bumbled out of his residence the morning after the night before, he was met with a reception more befitting of a reviled criminal than the nation’s favourite buffoon – perhaps aptly. The mask of endearing chucklefuckery had been definitively ripped away and with the subsequent sight of Johnson delivering his “victory” speech with all the burgeoning triumph of a catatonic potato, many wondered what the future held for old Bozza.
To the surprise of nobody, it contained copious amounts of surreptitious skulduggery.
It is indeed true that, in the wake of calling a close to his own leadership bid, Boris was rather conspicuously off the grid. Having fallen victim to an appropriately undignified ‘Boris-ing’ courtesy of alleged chum Michael Gove (who in turn managed to suitably ‘Gove’ up his own prime ministerial ambitions by failing miserably), whenever he did emerge from his lair into the public gaze, he cut a considerably castrated figure – the proverbial sad clown if you will.
Sadly, this self imposed media exile was not to be permanent and, with post-referendum disgruntlement having widened its reach across the entire, ever expanding swamp of deceit Brexit was fast becoming, Boris saw explicit opportunity in May’s failings to instil himself as a de facto figurehead of opposition within the minds of the Brexiteer horde – all the while being able to exploit Theresa’s hierarchical superiority to form an especially convenient shield as he fired potshots from the relative safety of the Foreign Office.
Boris was indeed back. Regrettable certainly, not least because it signalled the distressing rebirth of an especially sickly string to Boris’ bow – pseudo Churchillian wankery.
Look at him. It’s like a little boy playing dress up, isn’t it? One expects him to have rehearsed that very pose throughout many long and lonely nights in the Foreign Office, as if in preparation to fulfil a self imposed sense of destiny. The lofty reverence in which Boris regards Winston is clear as day – and his apparent desire to leech off the Churchill mythos to bolster his very own cult of personality is as laughable as it is cynical.
There’s a sense of grim predictability about all of this. Boris’ irrepressible desire to lead was universally confirmed the moment he shafted Etonian ally Cameron, effectively placing himself in direct opposition by leading the fight to leave. In practical terms, it’s proved entirely inconsequential that the man who drafted an essay in support of Remain the day before proclaiming himself a fervent Brexiteer is operating completely within his own self interest. The cynicism attached to his every move is, remarkably, met with begrudging acceptance rather than justified outrage; though perhaps the shock factor is significantly lessened when his infuriating solipsism is considered an open secret – just “one of those things”.
It is, of course, no surprise to bear witness to Boris’ latest not at all transparent attempts to slither into the Number 10. It’s merely part of the Boris Johnson cycle – and absolutely everyone knows exactly what’s going on. Though there is a troublesome irony to seeing him warble out his best Winston during a resignation speech to the House of Commons, the watching masses being acutely aware that the entire farce was overwhelmingly inspired by deep-seated instincts of profound cowardice; ever lingering in the murky depths of Boris’ lamentable being.
In truth, there’s only one phrase that adequately sums up Johnson’s game plan – chaos exploitation. Ever waiting in the wings, leering over a the carnage (which, quite likely, was of his own creation), eternally on the lookout for an opportune moment to swoop in and be heralded as a savoir – increasing his favour with the masses, edging a few more inches up that disgustingly greasy pole before fleeing into the shadows relatively unscathed, moments prior to the dysfunction levels reaching critical mass.
It’s often been said by an assortment of unpardonable cretins that “it would be a RIGHT laugh if Bozza was in charge!” and that may indeed be so – at least on the most superficial level imaginable. Laughter is widely considered to be a vaguely effective treatment to unrelenting misery and there’s most certainly a fairly receptive market to pompous buffoonery somewhere out there. But, as with laughter only serving to distract from considerably more tangible personal struggles, the inevitable Boris Cavalcade of Clownery will be nothing more than a mere sideshow to the clusterfuck originated by a man who most probably left the notion of integrity back in his mother’s womb.
Guffaw all you want the next time Boris becomes marooned on a zip-line or tumbles down a well. After all, Boris would most certainly approve. As every shyster knows, the sound of uproarious laughter is the perfect cover under which to hurriedly exit stage left. Boris won’t want anything to do with the mangled corpse of our nation once his master-plan of chaos exploitation has reached its natural conclusion.
Nor will you once the laughter dies down.Follow @grahamlithgow