The Perfect Murder

October 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was watching the Channel 4 news the other night when I was reminded of a long ago but still fondly remembered ex-boss. He was the best of bosses and the worst of bosses. Loyal, visionary and energetic whilst at the same time erratic, paranoid and exhausting. His right hand was his secretary of many years who was often the only thing that stood between him going into complete meltdown and the rest of us collapsing into an emotional morass. She also played the role of the Roman slave who whispered in the ear of the Emperor that he was just a man. One of the ways she did this was by giving him small gifts highlighting his flaws which he always took with good grace if not always insight. For example, she once gave him a framed cartoon of a vain man advertising hair dye.

What reminded me of my old boss was seeing Boris Johnson on the evening news. A familiar clip of him smirking as he waddled down Downing Street, in an ill-fitting suit, having announced he would oppose the government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow. I immediately thought of another gift that my boss’ secretary gave him in response to one of his more excessive and overly ambitious ideas. She hung a toy mechanical flying pig over his desk which she would trigger to remind him how often his flights of fantasy crashed to earth. Boris, in my mind is increasing resembling that pig and not just because he is rapacious and undifferentiating in his appetites.  Neither is it because Boris increasingly seems to be fulfilling the role of Napoleon in Orwell’s Animal Farm. Nor indeed is it because just about the first thing that enters your head in response to any of Boris’s utterances is: “Yeah and pigs might fly!”

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No why I thought of my old boss on seeing Boris on the news was (and I’m conscious that in this matter I pretty much live in a glass house): “Blimey Boris, you’re turning into a real porker!”   In the course of just a few months Boris Johnson has gone from being merely portly to being far beyond the point where he could imaginably dangle from the famous zip-line in Victoria Park. How did that happen? I then remembered some research from a few years ago that somewhat counter-intuitively demonstrated that people who spend their working lives travelling extensively gain excessive weight. So since becoming Foreign Secretary I guess the airline food, erratic schedules, diplomatic luncheons, and Ferrero Rocher have taken their toll. How long will it be before Boris explodes or succumbs to a CVA or cardiac infarction? Then it all made sense.

I doubt that I was alone in being totally bemused at Boris Johnson’s appointment as Foreign Secretary. There was Teresa May, lifted, apparently unexpectedly, to the Premiership of the United Kingdom, which in itself gives some indication of her acumen in tactical positioning, yet I never had her down as a great strategic thinker. How wrong I was. Holed up in Downing Street in the first days of her office looking back on Boris’s role in the chaos of the Brexit referendum. He may have stumbled at the last hurdle of his vaulting ambition but May knew he wouldn’t go away, so what to do? Then she recalled the research I had read a couple of years ago on excessive weight gain and out of the blue appointed Boris Johnson as the Foreign Secretary. The perfect murder!

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