Boris Johnson was like a dinner lady doling out a soggy rice pud: HENRY DEEDES watches the Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland
Details of Boris Johnson’s trip to Scotland yesterday were available on what gimlet-eyed spooks call a need-to-know basis. No schedule, no itinerary. More covert than a CIA black op.
The PM’s ventures north of the border are always toe tippers. Boris is as welcome here as Donald Trump landing a gold helicopter in the middle of Celtic Park. Antelopes in the Serengeti have been known to receive warmer receptions from the local leopard community.
The official line from No10 was that the PM had come to meet front-line medical workers helping fight the virus. Frankly you can put as much stock in that as a science briefing from Commons anti-lockdown loon Sir Desmond Swayne.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Lighthouse Laboratory used for processing PCR samples, during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus in Glasgow January 28
Boris’s main purpose was to drum up support for the Union, currently draining faster than a leaky washing machine hose.
First stop: Glasgow’s Lighthouse laboratory, a testing facility on the city’s University campus.
The PM was decked out in a blue bib and marigolds, his blond bob smothered in a giant shower cap. What a sight! He could have been a dinner lady doling out soggy rice pud.
You wouldn’t have got a vain booby like David Cameron, or indeed Sir Keir Starmer, in such garb. For Boris, the dafter the better. He’d don lederhosen if he thought it could raise a laugh.
He padded about bothering laboratory workers. Every now and again the PM shook his head in wonder. A schoolboy being shown around the cockpit of a Stealth bomber. High tech gizmos, flashing dials. He loves the Boy’s Own stuff.
Some of the lab girls tittered coquettishly. You could see why the PM’s people send him up here. When this lot clocked off last night, you can bet most of them were telling friends Boris wasn’t quite the twerp they all thought he was.
Next it was on to Livingston, home to French biotech firm Valneva, which is developing a yet-to-be approved vaccine. We saw the PM awkwardly squirting something into a sample bottle. Nothing more toxic than saline water I hope. The PM’s podgy hands are not exactly blessed with a surgeon’s touch.
Eventually he agreed to speak to a reporter in a little ante-room. He was asked whether this was really an essential trip considering current travel restrictions.
Boris Johnson meets troops as they set up a vaccination centre in Glasgow’s Castlemilk district on January 28 during his controversial visit to Scotland
‘I’m here to thank officials for their fantastic work!’ replied Boris a little over enthusiastically. It was as though he was trying to convince the hostess of a dreary cocktail party what a fabulous time he was having.
Talk quickly turned toward Scottish independence. A slight wince. C’mon Boris, you knew this was coming.
He insisted holding another referendum wasn’t the right thing to do at this moment. Besides, the Scots had just had one. Next!
Would he meet with Scottish fishermen struggling to get their catches to the EU since Brexit? ‘I’m always happy to meet with any section of business,’ Boris smiled. Just not today of course. These people carry harpoons after all.
He mentioned the word ‘fishermen’ before quickly correcting himself to ‘fishing communities.’ Oh dear. Still, better than the BBC cranks who’ve recently started calling them ‘fisherpeople’.
Boris Johnson tried his hand at one of the tests as he visits the French biotechnology laboratory Valneva in Livingston where they will be producing a Covid 19 vaccine on a large scale, during a visit to Scotland
Sir Desmond Swayne’s controversial claims about scientific data surrounding the virus being manipulated were raised. Boris stared blankly.
Hadn’t a clue what his interviewer was referring to. Seriously? Swayne’s comments had been big news all morning.
Hard to think Boris’s handlers hadn’t briefed him during the journey up. Perhaps he was taking a nap.
More likely he was covering for Sir Dessie whom I can tell he rather likes. Giving him time to retract his loopy remarks before having to sack him as a Tory MP. The PM seemed far crosser when asked about Jacob Rees-Mogg, who earlier in the Commons referred to Nicola Sturgeon as ‘Moan-a-lot’.
Boris denounced the jibe as ‘petty personal issues’. Thanks a bunch, Moggster, you could see him thinking. He’d come all the way to Scotland to smooth feathers – only for the Leader of the House to go ruffling them up again.