Johnson. The very model of a modern useful idiot

Boris Johnson during his TalkRadio interview

As the unmitigated disaster of a Boris Johnson premiership slouches towards Downing Street, his unfitness for his dream job becomes more evident every time he opens his mouth.

His infamous model bus interview with Ross Kempsell on TalkRadio showed in every way why Johnson is unqualified for responsibility.

Accusations that Johnson always ducks difficult questions are beside the point. He cannot even articulate answers to simple ones.

Watching him literally grasping at the air to come up with a response to the easiest question in the world – “What do you do to relax” – was pitiful. Again, whether or not he was lying, as some pundits accused him of doing, is beside the point. The significance was the desperation in his eyes as he frantically sought to process a simple sentence or two. From the TalkRadio transcript:

BJ: I make, I have a thing where I make models of… When I was mayor of London… I make, buses.

RK: You make models of buses?

BJ: I make models of buses.

RK: So they’re going to be in Downing Street?

BJ: So what I do is, well, I don’t make models of buses. I get, I get old, um, wooden crates, right? And I paint them and they have two… It’s a box that’s been used to contain two wine bottles right? And it will have a dividing thing. And I turn it into a bus and I put passengers … you really want to know this?

RK: You’re making buses, you’re making cardboard buses. Okay. That’s what you do to enjoy yourself.

BJ: No, I paint the passengers enjoying themselves.

RK: Okay, great.

By now, it’s all laid bare under the eye of the cameras: that vacant, thousand-yard stare as Johnson retreats deep into his mental labyrinth to locate the link he knew he was trying to make between painting smiley people on boxes and a tangible Johnson policy achievement. He gets there but it comes out as clumsily as you’d expect:

BJ: On a wonderful bus. Low carbon of a kind that we brought to the streets of London that reduces CO2, reduces nitrous oxide, reducing pollution.

You could pick any reply from the interview at random and see the same disconnects between intent, understanding and articulation. He only managed to land one decent Johnsonesque literary allusion when he quotes Sir Francis Drake.

“… I will not rest until we get out of the EU on October the 31st. It is not the beginning of any great task but the continuing of the same until we be thoroughly finished that yieldeth the true glory.”

But then Kempsell lobbed him another easy one about watching sport. Johnson predicably turned it into an opportunity to show how bad he’s likely to be at seeing anything through.

RK: What was the last sports match you watched?

BJ: Um, oh God, I don’t know. What was the last sports match I watched, blimey. Well, I suppose I must’ve watched some, I don’t ever watch TV anymore. […] I tell you what, I watched a cricket match. I watched … I went to watch England against someone. Unfortunately I fell asleep. That went badly.

It beggars belief that this shambling, untrustworthy, inarticulate joke of a candidate is in the running for 10 Downing Street, let alone that he has a good chance of getting there. Unfortunately for Britain, even though Johnson can barely manage to balance a ball on his nose and bark sound bites at the same time, he does have very powerful backers outside politics. He is indeed, the very model of a modern useful idiot.