I’ve never quite seen an interview like this talk between TalkRADIO’s political editor Ross Kempsell and Boris Johnson, the likely next prime minister of Britain (and successor of Theresa May). I can only agree with Sam Coates Sky: “I’m transfixed.”
You can just skip the first part of the interview. It only gets interesting from 6 minutes and 1 second onward.
Kempsell asks Johnson a question about his “personal lifestyle.” “What do you do to relax? What do you do to switch off?” It’s a simple question, one any normal, sane person should be able to answer off the bat.
However, Johnson has great difficulty with it. He starts stammering and stuttering. He becomes uncomfortable. And then he finally answers: “I like to paint. Or I make things. I make… I have a thing where I make models of […] buses.”
“You make models of buses?” Kempsell asks with a little smile on his face. “What I mean by models of buses,” Johnson then goes on to explain, “is I make, I get old… ehm… I don’t know, wooden crates.” At that moment, the interviewer has a look on his face that says “can we move on please?” No, no, you mentioned buses, so Johnson is now into it.
“And I paint them.”
He then explains that these boxes are generally separated into two parts. Or, as he calls it in his truly professional language: “It will have a dividing thing.”
“I turn it into a bus. And I put passengers… You really want to know this?” Johnson asks rhetorically.
“You make buses,” Kempsell concludes, after which he signals that it’s time for a different question. “OK, that’s what you do to enjoy yourself…”
Oh no, Johnson wasn’t done quite yet.
“I paint buses,” the frontrunner for Tory leadership says. “I paint the passengers enjoying themselves.”
“Great. Great,” Kempsell interrupts, clearly thinking that can go back to a somewhat sane subject.
“On a wonderful bus,” Johnson continues nonplussed, “low carbon, of a kind to be brought to the streets of London, reducing CO2, reducing nitrous oxide, reducing pollution.”
Yes, he actually went from his weird little hobby to terrible talking points for the climate change crowd.
Next, Kempsell asks Johnson who he’d like to be if he wasn’t himself. A figure from history. “Well, ehm, I always greatly admired Pericles of Athens because he was the guy who said that politics was about the many, not the few,” he said. Johnson then explained that he loves Pericles so much because he invested heavily in infrastructure, especially in an ancient port. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what Johnson promises to do if he becomes prime minister.
Johnson is also asked about when he is the happiest. A normal person would answer that with something about being with his family. Not Johnson. Oh no. “Like all human beings I probably feel happiest when I accomplish something that I have worked very hard to do,” he answers.
It’s unbelievable, but he even succeeds in turning that question into a political issue — and he does so in a completely unnatural, artificial manner.
“What makes me happiest I think is a sense of completing a great task. And that is what we must do. I will not be happy and I will not rest until we get out of the EU on October the 31st.” He then continues with his rambling on the same subject, until Kempsell interrupts him again with a completely different question.
“What was the last sports match you watched?”
Johnson can’t answer it. He doesn’t know. He hasn’t watched a sports match — any match — in ages.
Thankfully, he can answer the final question: “what is the last sport you’ve played?”
“Tennis. I play tennis quite a lot.”
It’s the only sensible, sane, natural and non-artificial answer he’s given in this “personal” part of the interview. Sadly, however, Johnson succeeds in making it awkward again by suddenly saying that he does remember the last match he watched. “I tell you what, I watched a cricket match. I went to watch England against someone or other, unfortunately, I fell asleep.”
As Johnson himself would undoubtedly say in my position: “Ehm.”
The good news for Johnson is that, regardless of his inability to speak, if he succeeds in getting Britain out of the EU, he’ll be considered one of the great prime ministers in history.