Useful Notes / Boris Johnson

"You canít rule out the possibility that beneath the carefully constructed veneer of a blithering idiot there lurks a blithering idiot."
Boris, in a rare display of political self-awareness

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson MP (born 19 June 1964) is a British Conservative politician, former Mayor of London, Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Foreign Secretary of Theresa May's cabinet, journalist, novelist, historian, classicist, and TV personality.

He's also the secondnote  most famous Tory bicyclist after fellow Eton and Oxford alum (and Bullingdon Club member) David "ignore that car behind me" Cameron. Easily recognizable by his unruly mop of blond hair, general air of amiable distraction, and tendency to talk like somebody out of P. G. Wodehouse.

A journalist covering politics and cars, and editor of The Spectator magazine, he came to major fame with an appearance on Have I Got News for You. He was a journalist only known - and then only really to other journalists - for an audio tape of a phone call in which he agrees to help an old school friend of his beat up another journalist. Ian Hislop had a transcript of this which he used to mock Johnson, which he hadn't been expecting; following this, he claimed in his column that the show was entirely scripted.

And then reappeared on the show later to retract this, reassuring "all the little children out there" that the show was indeed entirely spontaneous, and admitting that he'd agreed to come back purely for the money. He also appeared later as a repeated guest host.

While others will point out to him that he's made controversial comments out loud, while microphones are still on, and kept on digging himself in deeper even after it's been pointed out to him, he appears to be immune to embarrassment. It's everyone else who gets embarrassed instead, one of the key components in his ability to defy political gravity - despite all the above mentioned gaffes and many, many, many more, including an affair and at least one illegitimate child (the sort of offences for which any other politician would and have been tarred, feathered and run out of the Conservative party for on principle) and a not entirely unjustified perception by Remain Voters following the EU Referendum that Boris had only joined the Leave campaign (in which he was a crucial component, because approximately 80% of the country unconditionally despises Nigel Farage) as part of his political ambitions, and had therefore screwed over the country for his own vanity, especially as several months before the Referendum he had said leaving the EU would be disastrous. Then he was promptly stabbed in the back by supposed political ally Michael Gove, before performing a phoenix like resurrection barely a week later to become the Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet of new Prime Minister Theresa May. This left much of the country utterly baffled - not so much because he least because Boris is second only to the legendarily blunt Prince Philip in being possibly the least diplomatic person in British politics, especially where foreigners are concerned. And Philip has the excuse of being 97 years old as of 2018. Since the 2016 US election, he has sometimes been compared to Donald Trump - while the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement demands caution, it is worth noting that there are certain similarities. However, it is also worth noting that the common consensus is that Johnson's persona is a case of Obfuscating Stupidity. Despite beliefs/hopes to the contrary, the common consensus is that Trump's... isn't.

On a different note, he is probably the most ethnically-mixed political person of significance living today after Barack Obama himself, being not only English but American (born in New York, which means it is possible for him to be the only man ever to have served as Mayor of London and President of the United States - though as of 2015, he has apparently given up his American citizenship), French, German, Russian, and Turkish. He's the whole Crimean War in one messy blond package!

You can learn more about him at That Other Wiki here.

Tropes applied to Boris Johnson in his appearances in media:

  • Bestiality Is Depraved: He once won a Spectator competition for a limerick in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sex with a goat. (There once was a fellow from Ankara, who was an enormous wankerer...)
  • Colbert Bump: invoked Johnson's appearance on an April 1998 episode of Have I Got News for You is credited as being what brought him to a far wider audience; emphasising a bumbling upper-class persona, he was viewed as entertaining and invited back on to later episodes, including as a guest presenter. After these, he came to be recognised on the street by the public, and was invited to appear on other television shows, such as Top Gear, Parkinson, Breakfast with Frost, and Question Time.
  • Kavorka Man: To the point where it was noted by Polly Toynbee, writer for The Guardian (Britain's chief centre-left newspaper) and the British edition of Cards Against Humanity. In Toynbee's words, "It's that sodding hair."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He's pretty up front about it, as the page quote shows. It is generally accepted that he is much more ruthlessly Machiavellian than he seems, with his on-screen persona being just that - a persona. However, people seem willing to go with it anyway (though approximately half the population hates him following the Referendum, so there's that).
  • Politician Guest Star: To the point where there is a special part of the HIGNFY DVD collection called "The Full Boris".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Combines this with a set of "oh, gosh", "um, ah" placeholder noise VerbalTics to rather odd effect, leading Russell Howard on Mock the Week to speculate that when really excited, "he'd sound like a thesaurus going through a blender".
  • The Starscream: The panellists on Mock the Week commented that Boris' post in the new cabinet of Minister Without Portfolio was really 'Minister of Sit There Where I Can See You'. The joke is based on the widely-held belief that Boris was after David Cameron's job, which was proved entirely accurate after the EU Referendum.