It’s Borisvision! JAN MOIR watches as PM answers soft questions

It’s Borisvision! JAN MOIR watches as Prime Minister answers soft questions with no rigour… but glorious charm

Cripes! Suddenly there he was in glorious Borisvision; his imploring eyes locked on ours, his manner as kindly and sincere as that of an impoverished vicar with a leaky roof.

On a wet Wednesday in August, PMB (Prime Minister Boris) made history by embracing social media and engaging with Facebook members in what he called the first ever People’s PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions).

He wasted no time in having a dig at the sandcastles of others, pointing out that while he was busy answering questions at his desk in Downing Street, most MPs were ‘all off on holiday’.

Cripes! Suddenly there he was in glorious Borisvision; his imploring eyes locked on ours, his manner as kindly and sincere as that of an impoverished vicar with a leaky roof, writes Jan Moir

On a wet Wednesday in August, PMB (Prime Minister Boris) made history by embracing social media and engaging with Facebook members in what he called the first ever People’s PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions), writes Jan Moir

Oh, pass me that large beach towel to dry my tears! Martyrdom is a new look for Boris, I’m not quite sure if it suits.

The People’s PMQs was beamed out across the nation on laptops, PC screens and smartphones. For worker bee Boris it was live, it was real, it was reaching out to the electorate instead of soft soaping enemy armpits within the Westminster bubble.

It was also billed as edgy and spontaneous – but was it?

Boris promised that the twelve minute Facebook session would be ‘unpasteurised and unmediated,’ which suggested great squirts of raw milk hosed straight from the teat of truth.

Instead, all we got was the usual true blue-veined cheese spread on some really nutty crackers, with questions pre-selected by his aides.

Luther in Cheshire wondered when PMB intended to leave the EU. A farmer in Scotland called Nicky asked how PMB would protect the Union. Sam from South Wales was worried about another general election.

Amy in Weaverham wanted to know what he would do to restore faith in British politics. Carrie from central London wondered why he was so gorgeously marvellous and what did he want for lunch. Boris pumped his fists, ruffled his hair and seemed to enjoy himself.

He wasted no time in having a dig at the sandcastles of others, pointing out that while he was busy answering questions at his desk in Downing Street, most MPs were ‘all off on holiday’, writes Jan Moir

Oh, pass me that large beach towel to dry my tears! Martyrdom is a new look for Boris, I’m not quite sure if it suits, writes Jan Moir

‘How long have I got by the way?’ he asked around the seven minute mark. ‘I am going to keep going,’ he said, as if he were triumphing over some dread ordeal. He someone managed to drop the c-word (‘collaborating’), held up two fingers to illustrate a double digit point (never wise), but managed to escape any major gaffes.

To be honest, there is very little accountability or rigour in answering hand-picked softball questions in this manner without comeback or query, then seamlessly moving on to the next. It is not really a Q&A session – more of a monologue.

Yet to be fair, Boris did it very well indeed.

The uninterrupted close-up combined with the illusion of total extemporaneity? This is an excellent medium for our maverick prime minister, one in which his passion and sincerity can blossom without that pesky, enervating drag of detail and culpability. There is an undeniable breath of charm there, too, which is not always obvious on a bigger stage.

Prime Minister Boris was filmed inside his office, with its piles of important papers, Union flag and a model of a red London bus in the background. They seemed like strategic props to remind us that here is a great statesman, not some furry dude auditioning for Sesame Street.

Staring down the lens, Boris’s eyelids slanted like gable tiles, his suit and tie were smart and groomed – but it was hard not to be distracted by that roaring blemish on his nose.

The obliging final question about political heroes allowed classics scholar Boris to chunter on about Pericles of Athens. What? Not that drear, cheesy Greek chorus again? It is becoming a bit like Frank Sinatra doing My Way for an encore; boring and predictable.

Yet most of the Facebook audience seemed to love it. For Boris remains blessed among politicians, with that weird blend of potency and dysfunction that never dents his popularity among the party faithful.

The comments kept scrolling down the screen. Lyle Kyle thought it was a ‘load of posh tosh’ while Dan White was more encouraging. ‘You are doing a great job, sir.’

Meanwhile, Peter Barnett spoke for us all. ‘Let’s hope the people of this country actually get together and think of our country first, for a change.’

Yes, let’s. Please.

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