Boris Johnson was on Today this morning. His interview can be heard here:
It was a grippingly bizarre interview. Boris is entertaining in an unnerving way. He does not do “neat and tidy”. At any moment a car crash could occur. Anyone who thinks he could be Prime Minister must be mad. If an interviewer asked him to describe an apple, he’d still be waffling and huffing and puffing away five minutes later throwing in Latin mottos and words most people have to look up.
Today’s interview was about life sciences and its “Golden Triangle” of London, Cambridge and Oxford, which is meant to be like Boston MA, except you don’t have to drive for hours behind a tractor (i.e between Oxford and Cambridge) to get around Boston.
London is the U-bend of the Golden Triangle
– announced the Mayor of London with great aplomb, no apparent irony, and after serious thought, it seemed.
Like a toilet.
In a triangle.
After questioning from John Humphrys, Boris changed allegories. After momentarily describing London as “the armpit”, he said London was the “crook of the elbow of the Golden Triangle”.
Later on, Humprhys offered that the Golden Triangle is like Mickey Mouse, because Oxford and Cambridge are like the ears on Mickey Mouse. Boris didn’t take up that suggestion. It’s fair enough comparing London to a toilet, or armpit, in a triangle, but describing it as “Mickey Mouse” is going a bit far, it seems Boris thinks.
In the end, hands were shaken on describing London as the “dog leg” of the Golden Triangle. Great.
Presumably, a dog leg cocked (or crooked?) over the U-bend of the Golden Triangle.
While we were assimilating all those pot shots at mixed allegorical imperfection, Boris threw in:
Nothing propinks like propinquity
That threw me. It turns out to be a quote from Ian Fleming’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’. It seems to mean that nothing makes people nearer than being near. Like people being in Oxford and Cambridge and London. Really propinquitous.
Then we were treated to Boris avoiding supporting Maria Miller for two minutes before ending with the words:
Nemo iudex in causa sua
I did Latin at school. But I had to look that one up. I do wonder what percentage of the Today audience knew what the hell Boris was on about. Probably about one per cent.
Imagine someone like Norman Lamb describing the Golden Triangle of life sciences in England. It would be relatively smooth and the point would come across.
The point was eventually got across by Boris. But the elaborate concoction of mixed allegories, aphorisms, Latin mottos and general huffing and puffing turns the whole thing into a rather painful street show.
Move along now, nothing to see here.