Monday, 26 August 2019
Boris Pulcinella - the lord of misrule
I watched as Channel 4's Head of News, Dorothy Byrne, gave her forthright MacTaggart speech from Edinburgh's media conference.
That's the speech where she urges media to confront power with truth and to call out lies and cowardice.
'The mouth of truth/La Bocca della Verità' - Rome
Ms Byrne illuminates her proposition with some of the recent stories told by Boris Johnson and of the curious way he avoided getting involved in panel-based question and answer sessions.
That he then went on to broadcast his own, controlled, Facebook multicast instead of facing credible press questioning.
The aftermath of the speech was predictable. Boris has now boycotted Channel 4's interviews and their coverage of the Biarritz G7 summit.
It's a move direct from Trump's playbook and so surely it can't be that long before we start hearing 'Fake News' chants from his podium? -suitably adapted to an Etonian turn of phrase - maybe a few peeks at Theophrastus for some character traits?
Boris represents (using Bevan's words) "the small body of people who, whenever they have the chance, have manipulated the political influence of the country for the benefit of the privileged few.” He's the traits of a chancer, hell-bent on aggrandisement, using the tools of bluster, body bulk and buffoonery to make his case, the odds of which have slid from a million to one to 'touch and go' in a matter of days. Kind of like a cliff edge?
I realise he is becoming easier to read now, too. The poker-playing distractions can be edited, the expansive arm waving, the personal space invasion, the faux detailed knowledge, the Greek and Latin quotations, the smirking demeanor, the Gary Oldman Churchill impressions, the raggedy attire. He thinks he is playing a blinder at the moment, with the character notes scrawled on his cuffs:
1. Who am I? A chancer
2. Where am I? On the edge of reason
3. When is it? one minute to midnight
4. Where have I just come from? The depths of Tory indoctrination
5. What do I want? Power and the glory
6. Why do I want it? Mine is the Kingdom
7. Why do I want it now? I'd get rumbled
9. How will I get what I want by doing what? Whatever it takes, including suspending democracy.
10. What must I overcome? Vox populi, vox imperium
I doesn't always work though. Donald Tusk illustrates he can read Boris and then use a spot of Neuro Linguistic Programming to out-flank him at this press confrontation. Tusk leans forward, mirrors and goes wide to outflank. Boris the Dangerous gets Tusked.