In the beginning of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s interview with the BBC’s Eddie Muir, we see some highlights of a new documentary about Johnson. As Muir begins narrating over the clips, he stops suddenly and sternly says “stop interrupting”. As the highlights come to an end, the camera pans to a sheepish looking Johnson, who is just about to receive the thrashing of a lifetime.
The painful interview that goes on for 15 minutes revolves around the documentary that attacks Johnson for a series of misdemeanors including ‘sandpapering’ (or making up) a quote when he was a journalists for the Times, lying to his boss about having an affair, and offering up the address of a journalist to get beaten up by a colleague. The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour describes the horrific beating as follows:
It was inevitably described as a car crash, but in the case of Johnson, it was more of a bicycle crash: spokes all over the road, wheels mangled and a reputation badly dented.
After the opening exchanges – “Good morning, how are you?”; “Very, very good, thank you” – Johnson went downhill at an alarming pace until by the interview’s close, admitting he had “sandpapered” quotes as a Times journalist, failing to deny he lied to the party leader at the time, Michael Howard, about an extramarital affair and conceding that he had humoured an old friend when he asked for a phone number in the knowledge that the friend intended to beat up the owner of it.
By the interview’s close, “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” was one of Mair’s more generous reflections on Johnson’s integrity.
You can’t really tell how badly the interview goes without watching it, but it’s suffice to say that Johnson, a normally exceptionally charming chap, is left looking like an utterly incompetent idiot. Ouch.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.