“It’s hard to nail him down, he has many facades all true and false and tries to play them to advance himself”
said Harry Mount author of ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson’.
In light of former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson being selected as a Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Brunel University invited Harry Mount. Journalist, author and second cousin to David Cameron as a guest speaker for the ‘journalism matters’ lecture, addressing aspiring journalists on the true character of Boris Johnson.
Not only is Boris Johnson seen as a likeable character with untamed hair unlike ordinary politicians, but it can be said that this depiction of Boris Johnson is seen as a deliberate one, as he shows “false ignorance” said Harry Mount. This illustration contrasts the stereotypical view of the Mayor of London being a laid back politician, proving there to be a method behind the madness.
“This image of stupidity is sophisticated as he shows subtle supreme intelligence” claimed Harry Mount, through the use of a friendly carefree character. He then further explains this through an example, when asking Boris Johnson if he knew of the book Harry Mount was publishing. Boris Johnson then replied in a carefree manner as though he did not know of the book. However when questioning his secretary if this was true; the secretary said he knew all about the book, providing a prime example of one of Boris Johnson’s “facades”, in order not to come across as a show off to achieve his likable character.
Another technique used by Boris Johnson outlined by Harry Mount was “flattery”. Every time Boris Johnson would see him he would refer to him as his “boss”, when he was simply his editor. This “flattery” character is consistently used to advance his popularity as he ensures he holds no figure of authority over anyone.
“He’s like a Bill Clinton, not as attractive like George Clooney, but has the same steel trap of a memory” declared Harry Mount, reinforcing the notion of Boris Johnson showing his intelligence subtly and not overtly like many politicians.
However although Boris Johnson may be a likable personality, he does also have an Achilles heel being his “Machiavellian character”. Reason being “he approaches people and has a deep confidence, which in turn causes him to let people down as he breaks promises, however he uses his charm to escape these problems” claimed Harry Mount. As he further expands that “punctuality is alien to him” as even when Boris Johnson was sending his articles to Harry Mount he was mostly late and would always ring and apologise over the phone whilst making jokes. Making it difficult not to forgive him due to his charm, Harry Mount did however say “this was due to him taking on too much”.
As a result according to Harry Mount it is this weakness that will lead Boris Johnson to not fulfil his ideal of being the Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Nevertheless behind the image of “false ignorance” is a man who “undoubtedly wants to be a MP at 10 Downing Street” said Harry Mount, making clear the passion and determination of the former Mayor of London to succeed. From both of these points it is made clear the uncertainty of the future actions of Boris Johnson, yet as Harry Mount concluded in his lecture “watch this space”.