This isn’t about Boris Johnson, or not really. You see people hear that name and think, good man, doing well; or they shake their aching heads and mutter, dear God, how did that happen?
Anyway, I fall into one of those categories, and if you guess correctly perhaps you will win a holiday. Or perhaps you won’t.
Boris Johnson won an election, as my aching head cannot deny. Then he appears to have ‘won’ a holiday, too. He didn’t enter a competition or anything, or not so far as we know. He wasn’t scouring the internet looking for ‘win a holiday’. One seems to have just rolled into his lap.
He probably wasn’t surprised, as if you come from his background, free stuff and holidays in the Caribbean with your girlfriend are just what you expect. Ah, thank you, waffle-waffle, could do with a break, been prime minister for all of five minutes, jolly decent of you.
At this point, we should come clean and admit that it is not known whether Boris Johnson had a free holiday reportedly worth £15,000. But that not knowing leaves a few questions blowing in the air like prime ministerial swimming trunks hanging on a line.
Labour suspects that the holiday was paid for by the Tory donor David Ross, one of the founders of Carphone Warehouse. It was said that Ross had allowed Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, to use luxury accommodation for a private holiday in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The businessman reportedly denied this to the Daily Mail, saying he didn’t own the villa on the island of Mustique where Johnson had stayed and that he hadn’t paid for the holiday. Instead he had “facilitated accommodation” (whatever that means).
We facilitated a short family trip to Poland last year, or my wife did, and two-and-half years ago we facilitated a trip to Australia. Earlier today I facilitated a return trip into York on my bike.
Being from the middling orders, I have no idea how these things work, but it seems probable that someone paid for the holiday, unless I’ve been misunderstanding how holidays work for all these years. Seeing as holidays are thin on the ground this year, I’ll happily soil my principles for a bit of sunshine in exotic surroundings.
Labour is chuntering about benefit in kind and so on, quite rightly, but you do wonder if they couldn’t find someone to send Jeremy Corbyn on holiday. Seeing him still knocking around is like having the Ghost of Elections Past hanging about the place, reminding everyone why they went off him.
Anyway, this isn’t about Jeremy Corbyn. It isn’t really about Boris Johnson either, other than to wonder why the prime minister needed a free holiday. According to the Full Fact website, his job comes with a generous salary of £152,532 a year (plus free accommodation), or that’s what Theresa May picked up, and Johnson will be paid something similar. He also earned a fortune writing the same column for the Daily Telegraph every week, until he got demoted from that job and became prime minister.
Johnson comes from wealth, he has earned plenty, and he still earns a decent whack. So why doesn’t he pay for his own holidays? Answers on a postcard to 10 Downing Street.