HeraldScotland: Kevin McKenna unspun banner new

Those who think Boris Johnson was grievously damaged by his chaotic performance at the CBI this week write him off at their peril. These pratfalls; all his cloddish blunders now number so many that they seem to form a pattern. This bears the hallmark of design and choreography.

I’m not discounting the possibility that the Prime Minister really did fumble the page order of his speech and that this discombobulated him so much that he began babbling about Peppa Pig and the Ten Commandments (now that’s an adventure I’d like to see).

Ah hae ma doots though. Mr Johnson, as you may recall, is able to recite extracts of the Iliad - in Greek - on request. He’d be well capable of memorising those few platitudes and banalities required to soothe Britain’s boss class as they mentally made their menu choices for the grand dinner. And then to ad-lib for a few minutes.

His speech malfunction bore the hallmarks of that cringey interview a couple of years back when he wanted us to believe that he painted double decker buses on empty cardboard boxes as a means of relaxation. Aye, right! The man who exploited working-class suspicions about the EU stealing their jobs would have known that memorising Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in his spare time might not have resonated with his target constituency.

It’s only been Twitter’s smug savants and the media class (including me, it has to be said) who have had their fun with the Prime Minister’s verbal maladroitness. Since Mr Johnson embarked on his political ascent though, it’s never really been us he’s addressing. I suspect rather that he deploys the Westminster press lobby as conveniently-placed stooges while he reaches over and above them to the country beyond.

“Look; these middle class media types and bureaucrats mock me, but I’m really one of you.”


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