BORIS Johnson was doing press-ups on the front page of the Mail on Sunday yesterday. And I was doing press-ups on nobody’s back page while sketching out this blog.
The accompanying sub-heading on the MoS began: “As PM says he’s ‘fit as a butcher’s dog’ (and proves it) and is helping with nappies and night feeds…”
According to the Phrase Finder online service… “The allusion to a butcher’s dog is to a dog that would be expected to be very well fed from scraps. Why that is considered to epitomise fitness isn’t clear, as it might be thought more likely that the dog would be overweight than fit…”
When plucking that phrase from the drawer of characterful old sayings, Johnson was being truthful in a way he perhaps didn’t intend. Not so much fit as spoiled and over-indulged. And who on earth says things like that anyway? Only a man pretending to be someone they aren’t; but that’s Johnson all round.
We don’t know how many press-ups Johnson managed or how well he did them. I speak as a 30-a-day man. I saw a physio once about some uncooperative joint or other and he asked to see my press-ups. “Well, that’s one way of doing them,” he said dryly, without elaboration.
I’ve just looked at online videos and, well, I don’t share much with Boris Johnson, but being rubbish at press-ups may be one similarity. At least Johnson didn’t go the whole Putin on us and ride his bicycle without his shirt, moobs on the wobble.
According to the Daily Mirror Sir Keir Starmer joked about doing 50 press-ups during PMQs this week. You have to admit that Starmer looks more capable of pulling off that feat than Johnson: but, guys, does it really matter? You’re meant to be politicians, not Joe Wicks.
The MoS interview appears to be a bit of buttering up: PM gives interview to favoured newspaper, and favoured newspaper returns favour with unctuous coverage (and accompany photo of the prime ministerial bum in mid-rise).
Times Radio launched this morning with what it claimed was Johnson’s “first sit-down broadcaster interview since the start of the coronavirus lockdown”. That’s opposed to his first press-up newspaper interview only the day before.
It was telling, though, that the BBC-averse Johnson should choose to help launch Times Radio. His lockdown-busting adviser, Dominic Cummings, is said to have long wished to dismantle the BBC, and pushing Johnson onto Times Radio fits.
It had seemed the BBC would be safe for a while after its Covid-19 coverage, especially the focus of those working within the NHS. But Cummings is not a man to be deflected, so the Beeb had better watch out.
Further proof of Cummings getting what he wants can be seen today in the departure of Sir Mark Sedwill as cabinet secretary and chief security adviser. Another leading civil servant defenestrated after months of hostile anonymous briefings from Downing Street – backstreet muggings with cowardly words rather than fists doing the damage.
Anyone who doesn’t stick to the cold testament of Brexit is booted out. Johnson surrounds himself with like-minded types who all come from similar backgrounds – and who all swear fealty to him and Brexit (or really to Dominic Cummings).
We’re stick with a Boris Brexit now, even though nobody has a clue how it will turn out; particularly not the man doing press-ups on the front of the Mail on Sunday.