Tories dreamed of a ‘boom, he’s back’ moment. Instead they got an Ant and Dec skit and some questionable theme park photos
You may have heard the odd lie fall from the lips of Boris Johnson, but few are more solidly outrageous than Monday’s claim that he “loved” Peppa Pig World. Sorry, but no. I refuse to believe any adult human has attended this attraction and not spent a significant time in the queue for Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight Googling “Mirena coil” or “vasectomies near me”. I know Johnson’s desire to bring unspecified numbers of children into the world is thus far irrepressible, but here, surely, is where these urges meet their Waterloo. The entire place reeks so powerfully of the nudge unit that I don’t even believe its genuine purpose is a theme park. It’s just a massive, brightly coloured loss leader for Big Snip.
Anyway, by now you will be well across the prime minister’s speech to the CBI, in which he lost his place for more than 20 agonising seconds. This in itself feels a bit of a warning sign. As a public speaker, Johnson is such a determined recycler of his old stuff that every podium address constitutes little more than another extremely familiar dive into his greatest hits. “Losing his place” in his speech is a bit like Gary Barlow losing his place in Back for Good. Embarrassing in the short term, yes, but probably the reminder you need to book that cognitive function test. In the meantime, perhaps Johnson’s No 10 team would consider putting The Basic Speech on a thumb drive, allowing the prime minister to simply lip-sync and do the arm gestures.
Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist