borisBy Heathcote Williams  – (Public Reading Rooms £9.95)

Review by Colin Gibson

In a post-truth world where idle conjecture has replaced fact and where public opinion is shaped by the keyboard tapping of sociopathic web-dwellers, it is refreshing to read fellow Etonian Heathcote Williams’ polemic demolition of the fat owl of the remove, Boris Bunter Johnson.

What makes this acerbic hatchet job such an especially delightful bowl of schadenfreude is its deadly accuracy. Every regrettable Boris quote such as the wildly racist “Left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain” or his description of the uber-rich as “a put-upon minority like Irish travellers and the homeless” is surgically researched and annotated by source, location and time, along with every swivel-eyed career move in Johnson’s mendacious ascent of the greasy pole.

The question of course is; how did this bumptious, over privileged hooligan, (whose mindless cruelty reached a sort of apotheosis at Eton’s exclusive Bullingdon Club, where the entertainment might occasionally consist of stoning a caged fox to death with champagne bottles during a gluttonous banquet), gain any political credence whatsoever? How did this duplicitous overgrown schoolboy manage to establish himself as a floppy-haired national treasure, a mayor of London, and finally, via some shockingly two-faced Brexit jockeying and a brief but unsuccessful attempt at becoming Prime Minister, become foreign secretary?

Williams charts his life, and that of his equally unscrupulous father, with terrifying precision, and riven as it is with hair-raising descriptions of violent cronies like fraudster and PG Wodehouse soundalike Darius Guppy, is not  a pretty story. In my opinion, the sooner this magnificent account of political flimflammery is filmed or televised the sooner Johnson’s ersatz star will burn up and plummet to earth, and the better it will be for all of us. There is a wonderful quote from Pulp Fiction which sums up the fat fornicator perfectly; “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character”, but my favourite has to be this: “There’s a German word for people like Johnson: Backpfeifengesicht.  It means a face that needs to be punched.

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