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Boris Johnson

Five takeaways from Boris Johnson’s weird Vogue-style video

He talks cod and chips, alternate realities, and taking his dog for a shit

Since the election was announced on October 29 – just hours away from a No Deal Brexit – the Conservatives seem to have been running an increasingly self-destructive campaign. Just days into the launch, senior Tory politician Jacob Rees-Mogg said that the 72 people who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire should have ignored the advice of the emergency services and shown “common sense” in order to survive. Stormzy, who has been a consistent voice in seeking justice over Grenfell, called him an “actual alien” in response. Stormzy for PM.

Shortly after, the Tories were caught out manipulating this video of Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Brexit to try and make it seem like he was dumbfounded by questions on his party’s Brexit policy. During an era of rampant fake news, this isn’t a good look for the ruling party of the United Kingdom – when asked about the doctored footage on Good Morning Britain, Tory chairman James Cleverly, said that it was just a satirical video. Cleverly was then empty chaired on Sky News later that same day when he failed to show up for a scheduled interview about, well, how much Rees-Mogg fucked up by blaming Grenfell victims for their own deaths.

They simply can’t help themselves. But where’s the prime minister, Boris Johnson, in all this? Well he’s currently out in Stainforth, Yorkshire – an area hit by recent flooding – getting mercilessly heckled by the locals. One resident said: “Why has it taken you six days to come here to South Yorkshire? What’s taken you so long prime minister?” But earlier this morning, Tory HQ decided it was time to give the campaign a new lease of life as polling day (December 12) edges ever nearer, releasing a high-res video message from the PM on Twitter. So, what did the he have to say? Let’s break it down.


It’s a widely known fact that the Conservatives have absolutely no idea how to use the internet or harness the power of social media. Last year Tory MP Brandon Lewis reportedly hired an army of “tweeters” to streamline his social media presence, while his colleagues were given Instagram training around the same time, to try and make them seem more like real people. Now it seems they’ve decided to go full on cinematic with this one-shot masterpiece filmed in the vein of Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, or Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, but instead of a drug-fuelled night out in Berlin, or a mesmerising journey through the bowels of a Broadway production, you get an Etonian talking about how he takes his dog for a shit every morning. 


The stage is set; the film crew are ready; the extras are typing away in the background making it seem like the Conservatives are actually planning this election campaign, and not deliberately fucking it up. Johnson bursts into the room, full of enthusiasm, to deliver a rallying cry ahead of the forthcoming general election. This is the moment for him to rescue his beloved party from electoral oblivion, to re-launch a cartoonishly woeful start to the campaign. But the first thing he says to the Tory faithfuls who are looking to him for some leadership and guidance is that he takes his dog for a shit each morning. “I tend to get up early and then I go down and take the dog for a walk, and then the dog does its business and so on, and so that’s my start to the day.” Inspiring.


Vogue’s 73 Questions Answered by Your Favourite Celebs interview series has a knack for making even the most mind-numbingly dull people seem astute and genuinely interesting – I once watched Zac Efron’s without trouble, for example – so honestly, entirely lifting this video format to resuscitate your dead election campaign was a smart move from the Tory social media team. Instead of pulling up in a sports car outside a sunny LA mansion, Johnson stumbles through a fire door in a halogen-lit office with Tory HQ busy-bees hurriedly typing away in the background. His opening line, “I can’t lie to you, I’ve been thinking a bit about this general election campaign”, is truly inspiring!


Johnson knows that IRL people actually kind of hate him, so he tends to construct these alternate realities where he’s actually a pretty interesting, stand up, decent bloke who just likes to build model buses from cardboard in his spare time. But every time he tries to further this narrative he ends up drawing on increasingly surreal imagery. In this latest video when asked if he preferred fish and chips or a Sunday roast – much loved staples of British cuisine – he replied: “I think fish and chips on a cold night on a beach, you can’t beat it.” The PM eating cod and chips alone, in the cold, at night, on a beach. A beautiful image.


Johnson is continuing the age-old motif of prime ministers pretending to love a British rock band to curry favour with voters – Gordon Brown liked to say he was an Arctic Monkeys fan but was unable to name a single track when asked in an interview back in 2006, Tony Blair once said “Oasis are great”, and, of course, David Cameron was banned by The Smiths from liking their music with guitarist Johnny Marr tweeting in 2010: “David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.” Now Johnson is getting in on the fun. When asked what his favourite band were, he said: “Either The Clash or it’s the Rolling Stones.” Joe Strummer, the late lead singer of The Clash, was an avid supporter of working class rebellion and a vocal critic of US foreign policy. In stark contrast, Johnson is essentially the lapdog for the current US President Donald Trump, who takes him out for a shit each morning. 

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