Boris Johnson, the stuntman politico

As Boris showed during the Olympics, he’s prepared to do his own stunts. In a way, one could describe the whole Games as a contiguous Boris stunt, but I’m referring specifically to his dangling off zip wire.

Nothing short of a masterstroke, that, and Boris milked it for even more than it was worth. Supposedly dispelling rumours that he’s setting up a run for Tory leadership, Boris said, in that stand-up comic style of his, “How could anybody elect a prat who gets stuck in a zip wire?”

Quite easily, is the answer to that one, and Boris knows it. We love politicians who dangle, turn in the wind, twist around. Before long they begin to resemble weathervanes, and then we know they’re definitely going places.

Ever sensitive to the way the wind is blowing, Boris has now recorded a video in support of the ‘Out4Marriage’ campaign for homonuptials, launched by that traditional Tory publication Pink News. Speaking of the delights of married life, with which he’s only too familiar, Boris said, ‘I see absolutely no reason why that happy state should be denied to anybody in our country.’

The wind blew in a slightly different way in 2001, when Boris wrote, “If gay marriage was OK… then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog”.

Really. Surely marriages involving more than two are too unconventional still, unless of course the extra parties are kept on the side, discreetly or at a pinch scandalously. But cross-species unions? ‘In principle’? On second thoughts, why not?

In 2000 the Dutch scientist Midas Dekker published the book Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, in which he argued that people and animals can form loving erotic relationships, just like hetero- or homosexuals. So why can’t ‘that happy state’ be pursued?

Can’t you see it? “Down, Jessie, down, there’s a good girl. Now promise Daddy you won’t bite the registrar when he pronounces us man and bitch…” Five gets you ten, if the wind changes direction towards bestiality, as it soon may, Boris will claim he was dead serious in 2001. That he indeed ‘saw no reason in principle why [such] a union should not be consecrated.’

For the time being, Boris has to restrict himself to supporting a marginally different declaration: “I now pronounce you man and man.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for a second that he indeed sees ‘absolutely no reason’ to find anything wrong with the idea, a bright lad like him.

For, when Boris was at Oxford, he didn’t just join his Bullingdon mates Dave and George in getting pissed, trashing restaurants and then paying for the damage. In his free time, he also read Classics. So he must know a society is on its last legs when it first condones and then welcomes decadence in general and sexual perversion in particular. Surely he must have read Gibbon, explaining why and how Rome declined and fell?

I don’t know if he also read a bit of political science, but any scholar worthy of the name could have explained to him that, unless a society is anchored by traditional institutions, it’ll be cast adrift. And in the West, no institution is as vital as marriage, defined as a consecrated union between a man and a woman (one of each).

Families are the cells out of which the body social is made, and they also provide the model for other close-knit groups patterned after them: village, parish, guild, local government, kinship. These became all-important when the West divested itself of the Hellenic notions of res publica and privatised the individual.

Ever since, family has been a natural competitor of the mighty central state, and only the tethers of Christian morality used to prevent the state from waging an all-out war. Such tethers have now been slipped, and the war is in full swing.

Hence the government using every means at its disposal to destroy family and debauch the very idea of it. Our megalomaniac welfare state assuming the role of the provider father, thus making him redundant, is one line of attack. Another prong is our tax system that encourages cohabitation rather than marriage, and makes it necessary for most mothers to work full time.

Homomarriage is supposed to administer the coup de grâce. It’s no longer a man and a woman. It’s now a person and a person or, soon, any mammal of a person’s choice.

That’s as far as the underlying strategy is concerned. As an immediate tactical objective, the Tories want to win the 2015 election. Yet, their bloodhound’s nose smells defeat, and their eagle’s eye sees the writing on the wall. It says, ‘You’ve been tried for a few years and found pathetic.’

Whether the Tories lose to Labour or to a made-in-heaven coalition between Labour and LibDems is immaterial. One way or the other, they know they’ll lose – unless a miracle occurs, unless a St George rides in to slay the dragon.

Enter Boris, with all his little Eton twitches, stuttering gollies and gees, Have I Got News For You, zip wire, little marital infidelities, shock of discoloured hair, the lot. The Tories sense in their political bone marrow that Dave would lose and keep them out of power for the next generation. They need someone who comes across as quaint, heterodox, weird even – provided that underneath it all he’s just like Dave, an unprincipled, spivocratic mediocrity. (Oh, I’m sure Boris is clever enough. What makes him a mediocrity isn’t a deficit of brainpower but a failure of character.)

The clarion call has sounded, and Boris has answered it. Hence the zip wire for the weird bit, but hence also his support of homomarriage as a bit of just-like-Daveness. The lad is the Tories’ last ditch, and he’ll do what it takes. They, in their turn, would hail Caligula as a saviour, if only he could come back from the dead and the polls went his way.

Let’s just hope that the next opinion poll doesn’t make it imperative for Boris to make a principled stand in favour of, say, necrophilia. After all, that way a man could enjoy ‘that happy state’ without really hurting anybody. Except, of course, society, but then we all know there’s no such thing.


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