Boris Johnson has gone so barmy he doesn’t even know what a journalist looks like

It’s possible the prime minister had mistaken them for nurses and surgeons, which as we know look uncannily like cameras and tripods

Mark Steel
Thursday 19 September 2019 18:10 BST
Angered parent confronts Boris Johnson at hospital over NHS cuts

There are times when you realise how fortunate we are to live in a free society with a media that questions authority. For example, our prime minister visited a hospital and met a sick child’s father, who was angry at the state of that hospital, and angry that Boris Johnson visited for “a press opportunity”. And Johnson replied “there’s no press here”, in front of a big pile of press.

But luckily our most prominent political reporter dared to hold the powerful to account, by revealing the father is in the Labour Party, the deceitful pig.

Other reporters might have been distracted by tittle-tattle, such as why hospitals have got into such a state. But she stuck to the main issue, uncovering the scoop that he was in the Labour Party with exhaustive research, such as looking at his page on Twitter that said “I am in the Labour Party”.

That stopped his game of pretending he was angry because his child was ill and the hospital was falling to bits. He probably planned it all along, arranging for the baby to be born a week earlier, having moved to that area because it was the sort of place Boris Johnson was likely to visit, then fed the newborn baby unripe apples and cigarette butts to make it ill so he could pop down to the hospital, bump into the prime minister and make a cheap political point.

At least he should have been honest and said to Boris Johnson, “Hello prime minister, I’m distraught as my child is ill and relying on a crumbling underfunded health service, which brings its anxieties but in the interests of balance, before I continue I should disclose I’m a Labour activist”, the way any reasonable person would have done.

Holding the father up to scrutiny like this is much more important than asking how a prime minister can claim “there are no press here”, while stood amongst a squad of reporters and camera crew.

There’s probably more footage from later on, when he said “I’m not the prime minister, I’m one of the patients. I’ve just had my nose removed. I can play the xylophone with Twiglets. My father invented the ostrich. Where are we going next?”

At the moment he claimed “there’s no press here”, right next to him was a BBC camera crew, a video journalist and a journalist from the Press Association. But it’s possible the prime minister hadn’t noticed them, as cameras and tripods look uncannily like nurses and surgeons, and men with Press Association tags dangling round their neck are easily mistaken for bundles of laundry.

So he may not have known the press were there, as there were no other clues, apart from a notice sent out as a press release to the press including the Press Association. But we shouldn’t expect him to work out from this sort of complicated jargon that his visit had anything to do with the press.

Downing Street also sent round an operational note about the visit, to all the press, with the subject line “PM to visit hospital in London”. But this doesn’t mean the visit was for the press. He was simply informing them so they could avoid the area, as it was likely to cause traffic congestion while they were on the way to a more important story about a squirrel that climbed onto a bus.

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After the visit, the Press Association posted forty-five photos of the trip, despite the fact they weren’t there, which is certain to be a major story in the next issue of Psychic News.

You might think, if someone was surrounded by a group of people that were obviously from one profession, which they had arranged themselves, it would be a worry if they couldn’t see them. If you booked painters and decorators, then wandered into your kitchen while they were painting and decorating and said “at least I won’t meet any painters and decorators today”, that might be a cause for concern.

If it happened in a hospital you might consider this was quite lucky, as the afflicted person could be wheeled straight in for an emergency scan to see if their brain had tipped upside-down.

But if the person concerned was the prime minister, and this was only the latest example of such confusion, this could be a major story, though thankfully we live in a more thoughtful country than that so the actual major story is that the bloke he said it to is in the bloody Labour Party.

If Boris Johnson had wandered into the X-ray room, dropped his pants and said “X-ray this beauty, you’ll find it’s full of lead ha ha”, the story would be “It has emerged the radiographer who tried to remove him once signed a petition against NHS cuts in 1988, so his opinion is worthless.”

And this is to be celebrated, because we need our leaders to have imagination and this prime minister is full of it, especially with regard to the Health Service. Our hospitals are only collapsing because we’re not counting the imaginary funding he wrote about on a bus, and parents are only worried because they see the press, when they could just as easily imagine all those reporters were astronauts or flamingos.

Always thinking, always creating, Boris Johnson has already moved on from proroguing and discovered the art of gaslighting, informing us the people in front of us aren’t there.

This is normal now. So thank the lord we don’t live in Russia or Iran, where their leaders are allowed to say any old twaddle and there’s no free press to contradict them.

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