Boris Johnson Is Male Entitlement Made Flesh
As Boris Johnson quits as Foreign Secretary political commentator James Millar takes a look at the man and his recent career - WARNING: CONTAINS VERY BAD LANGUAGE
Perhaps the most telling anecdote about Boris Johnson is one that passed most people by at the time.
There are screeds to be written about all the awful things he’s done through his career. Too often Johnson is described as awful in the Dick Emery sense – ooh you are awful, but I like you – whereas he should be described as such in the despicable sense.
But this one occurred after his return to the Commons in 2015 having stepped down as an MP seven years previously to become London mayor.
He crept into the chamber during a dull debate led by one Jo Johnson, Boris’s brother and then newly installed universities minister. On paper his intervention was as harmless as it was pointless but to those of us that watch parliament closely enough to even notice such events it was clearly designed not to support his newly promoted baby brother but to steal some of the spotlight, to niggle him and test him. To remind him that despite being a backbencher at the time Boris was back and he was the senior Johnson in parliament.
For Boris has to remind everyone at every opportunity that he is important. The public stage is his playground.
This despite a track record of ineptitude at best and wickedness at worst and an utter failure to cultivate the necessary charisma to match his giant ego.
This is why Johnson is still struggling to attain his ultimate goal of becoming Prime Minister. Despite his surname being American slang for the male member he is a cunt.
That might seem harsh but this is a man who started out trashing restaurants in Oxford for fun as part of the Bullingdon Club and whose behaviour has deteriorated from there.
There’s the serial affairs, the casual use of the most offensive racist language, the spinelessness that saw him jet off to meet the deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan (the deputy! He couldn’t even find a friendly minister anywhere else in the world to do him a favour he had to pull rank and impose himself on a nobody) to avoid having to follow through on a pledge to vote against Heathrow expansion.
His journalistic career would be marked mainly by the time he made a quote up had he not trumped that by agreeing to give an investigative journalist’s details to a chum who wanted to have him battered.
His stint as London mayor was given a lovely gloss by the Olympics which had been won and largely organised by Tessa Jowell yet he still couldn’t keep his ego in check, he signed off the cable car over the Thames that is so rarely used that journalists have got bored of asking for the user figures under freedom of information and tried to impose an equally useless garden bridge on the city.
And as Foreign Secretary charged with protecting and defending UK citizens and interests overseas if anything he’s increased the predicament of Brit Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe languishing in an Iranian jail.
Eddie Mair, in the days when he was still a broadcasting hero before he decided to jump ship to share a channel with Nigel Farage (he’s denied doing it for the cash but, going right back to Morecambe and Wise, there’s only one reason anyone dumps the beeb to join commercial broadcasting), had BoJo bang to rights when he ambushed him and asked: “you’re a nasty piece of work aren’t you?”
But if all the above is true how come Johnson’s career has lasted so long and he’s still being spoken of as a potential PM?
Because he is male entitlement made flesh.
White, male and posh there is no danger of imposter syndrome for Boris (as evidenced by the fact that at time of writing Theresa May’s Brexiteer enforced reshuffle has been made entirely of white men). He’s good at pressing the flesh with the overwhelmingly white and male and invariably posh members of the parliamentary press corps which is a skill but not the key skill to running the country.
His ego drives him on. Like Donald Trump he’s not a man who wants power in order to do anything with it, he’s shown no sign of a mind focussed on improving the lot of the nation. He appears to want to be Prime Minister just to prove who’s best.
Will he make it to the top? No.
Some politicians, Tony Blair springs to mind and those that have met him claim Barack Obama – someone about whom Johnson was racist about despite of course not being a racist – was the same, have the magic c-word: charisma. Of course they are ambitious but they have that quality that makes people admire them if not actually like them. (Warning: charisma rubs off in the bloodbath of poorly conceived foreign policy jaunt).
The most successful politicians have it in spades and when they harness it with a vision it’s unstoppable.
Boris lacks that quality.
And that’s why it’s a different c-word that sums him up.
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