An ear-splitting rant in 10 Downing Street could be heard across the capital on Thursday, when the PM sacked his Media Manager without notice, and for good cause: no photograph of him had been printed in any of the tabloids or press whatsoever that day - a true debacle and fiasco.
Boris Johnson has been chauffeured around the country to photo-shoots in almost every town of the land, and now this. He is usually holding a fish or putting on a mask or driving a truck or speaking down to someone or clapping or getting a vaccine or hanging from a line or waving a flag or saluting or harassing schoolchildren or riding a bike or visiting another hospital, habitually smirking, a million snapshots, not just for posterity, but for his people, i.e. Britons who love photos but cannot read. The great advantage of such pictures for the PM is, of course, that you cannot hear him lying. Mute staging has become his magnum opus. He invariably has his white shirt sleeves rolled up in embarassing symbolism, and was more than vexed when a reported asked why he didn't just wear a short-sleeved shirt which might prevent him perspiring so much.
The press conference on Thursday evening was as agonizing as ever.
"It is with great regret," he fibbed, "that I herewith announce the termination of contract of my Media Head with immediate effect. She is paid to provide, if you'll pardon the expression. And today, she didn't. Not a glimpse of me in the papers. My people need to see me, they need to see I'm one of them, or of us, or whatever, and if there's no photo of me with my sleeves rolled up, they lose faith, get depressed, won't buy anything, and this may cause the markets to wobble."
The PM's ample gut hung nonchalantly over his trouser belt, and he continued:
"Tomorrow, I will be visiting a shepherd and his sheep in the Cotswolds, and will then be belting down to Cornwall to eat a pasty and catch a trout in Truro, followed by a 2-minute rugby match shoot at the local grammar school. I will then visit Exeter Hospital for another fake jab and snapshot with nurses. It's my fortieth in two weeks. And everything with my sleeves rolled up!! Beat that!!"
Hail the ides of March! Mr. Johnson is fast becoming irrepressible.