Following the birth of Boris Johnson’s latest child, columnist James Forthright sent VICE this article which was spiked by the 'Telegraph' for not being fawning enough to the Prime Minister and, after a lot of pleading, we agreed to publish it. As told to Simon Childs.
It's a boy! I must admit I got a bit misty-eyed with the news that Boris Johnson and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, had birthed a bouncing baby. The fact that the Prime Minister has had his sixth (or perhaps seventh. Or eighth?...) baby months after getting divorced just goes to show that, amid all this chaos, life does go on.
I can't be the only one who felt this way. Indeed, the whole nation seems to have a spring in its step as Britain skips its way towards having one of the worst coronavirus death tolls in Europe. It's easy to imagine overwhelmed care home workers, contract cleaners working without adequate PPE and the newly-unemployed enjoying a brief moment of respite as they mused happily on this little bundle of joy. There's an undeniable gaiety in the air, mixing with the coronavirus particles.
In times of crisis, more so than any coherent plan or adequate preparation, people need stories to rally around. And this one has all the drama of a Greek myth. Just three months ago, Britain was uniting to celebrate Brexit. We were to "ping off the guy ropes of self doubt and negativity", in Johnson’s Gulliverian turn, and float, in our balloon of hot-air, off into the sunset. Nothing could stop us.
Except for the Chinese. Jealous of the newfound prosperity Brexit was certain to unleash, Xi Jinping hatched a dastardly plot to subvert our hopes of becoming a great trading nation again. But Johnson wasn't to be deterred. With his fiancée Carrie already with child, he bravely carried on, refusing to let the deadly global emergency deter him from his historic mission.
Unbowed by fear or the warnings of the WHO, he continued to spread joy around the nation, shaking hands with coronavirus patients in hospitals to show that we Brits won't be cowed. Alas, it was his commitment to his work that was to be his undoing, as he caught the virus. But after three nights in an ICU, he arose, Christ like. And lo, unto Him, a son is born. Back from the brink of death and then, zap: here's one I made earlier. You couldn’t make it up. A living legend.
Naysayers will claim that Johnson didn’t have an adequate response to the pandemic. But it was right there all along, in Carrie's bump. In Johnson's baby we see our hopes and dreams for a post-corona future, when we can get back to enjoying the benefits of a high-tempo, high-stress consumer economy, and when Britons will once again be able to enjoy the conviviality of the mass events that unite us all: Wimbledon; the Big Tent Ideas Festival; the Spectator summer drinks party.
All I have to say is: why stop there? The public, once frightened, now marvels at the Prime Minister's fecundity, and we say to him: go forth and procreate. For every avoidable corona-death, may you pump out another child to replenish our nation. May our herd grow ever greater. Boris is the sire of Britain, ready to rut his way through this crisis – and we are his nation of grateful heifers.