Wilfred, Winston, Oliver, Pericles, Diggory, Kevin, Josh? Whatever they decide to call him, what kind of a world will Boris’s baby son inherit? Born in the storm of a global pandemic, toddling through the corridors of power as the world tries to steady itself amid an economic maelstrom, listening at Grandpa Johnson’s knee as the old boy reads aloud from the 18th volume of his memoirs?
What will life be like for this little lad? Because all bets are off now. Who knows what 2025 will bring when we scarcely know what 20.25 tonight will bring? Everyone will be affected by what comes next, even the son of a Prime Minister. Even the Prime Minister himself. Indeed, what next for Boris? He spoke last night of how his government was dealing with the crisis by ‘throwing everything at it, heart and soul, night and day’.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) with his partner Carrie Symonds leave after attending the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
He also sounded sincere and optimistic when he praised the people of this country for their ‘effort and sacrifice’, adding that we had ‘many reasons to be hopeful for the long term’. Is his leadership one of them? We all know that Boris Johnson has led an extraordinary life. But even by his own lights, the past ten months have been astonishing.
Replacing Theresa May as Prime Minister in July, then five months later delivering the Conservatives’ biggest election victory in more than 30 years, finally followed by Brexit itself. Along the way there was a fruity pole-dancing American blonde (remember her?), messy prorogations and even messier altercations.
Former prime minister Theresa May with the current Prime Minster Boris Johnson
At one point, the police were called to a South London flat following a row between Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds. She threw a plate at his head after he spilled red wine on her sofa — and, in that moment, she won my heart. Yet what the heck was going on? Here was a married man two years into a relationship with a woman 23 years his junior; a serial seducer who appeared to be of no fixed abode. Was he even fit to be Prime Minister?
Once upon a time the Tory lionisation of such a man, one with a rackety past and an unstable home life, would have been unthinkable by the party of family values, something only the French would tolerate. Yet then and now Boris remains bombproof; adored by the Tory faithful and inspiring the kind of doe-eyed devotion among his followers that is often embarrassing to witness.
There is no sign yet of his jet-fuelled charisma flooding the engine room of his capabilities, but for how much longer can he coast along the feel -good highway? Even when the clammy horror of the pandemic began to take a grip on the whole country, at a moment of extreme national peril with a government that seemed initially slow to rise to the challenges, Boris still managed to play a blinder.
Just at the point when criticism started to be aimed at him, the Prime Minister was hospitalised with a serious dose of Covid-19. Not only did he survive — and thank goodness he did — he survived as a hero, somehow managing to cover himself in even more patriotic glory and national affection. And then the cherry on the kingpin cake: the joy of a new baby boy.
From near-death experience to becoming a father again in the space of a few weeks? It could only happen to Boris. If the astonishing arc of the Prime Minister’s life were to be serialised in a fast-paced political drama for televi – sion, it would be dismissed as too farfetched. No one would believe it! All those nail-biting cliff-hangers for a start. Could he win against the odds?
Boris Johnson with his wife Marina Wheeler leave with their daughter Lara
Would Carrie take her Bozzie Bear back after Sofagate? Will he live to see his newborn son? I know what this week’s episode would be called: Boris Steps Up. For at last, this is his moment to prove his worth. To not fail us. To provide leadership in times of trouble. To show the country, once and for all, that he is more than a galvanised bucket of magnetism with the luck of the devil.
And do you know something? I believe that he can. I have had my doubts about Boris over the years; over his commitment to the country, to us, to his party, to his wives and to his girlfriends. However, since he has become Prime Minister he has my full support — because right now, there is no other choice. I believe in Boris like I believe in the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas, mostly because it is in my vested interest to do so. But I still think he is going to do great things.
So come on, Boris. Do it for us. Do it for yourself. And do it for your new baby, too.
Emma Thompson joins the Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus on April 19, 2019
I’m rebelling against Emma!
Emma Thompson starring as a climate activist in a film made by Extinction Rebellion. Can you think of anything you’d rather not see more, apart from Jer – emy Corbyn’s 1970s Guide To Stasi Boltholes In East Germany or David Cameron’s Me And My Caravan? The film recreates what the pres – sure group fondly imagines to be its finest hour – the blockade of London last year. This resulted in a great number of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens unable to get to work because the idiots had glued themselves to trains and roads. It is going online today, but if it gets a wider release, first chance I get I’m going to glue myself to a cinema screen showing this selfaggrandising rubbish. In keeping with Extinction Rebellion ethics, the film crew was genderbalanced, the catering was vegan and Dame Emma had to travel to the set by public transport each day and even make her own costume. You can’t say that woman does not suffer for her art — but why should we have to suffer, too? PS: Why don’t Extinction Rebellion do something useful and turn their attentions to Prince Harry? In a career-defining role, the Duke of Sussex read out a new Thomas The Tank Engine story this week. Good for him, but activists may well wonder why a devoted eco-warrior such as Harry should be promoting such disgusting, planet-warming creatures as coal-fired steam engines. Choo choo!
I keep trying to have profound thoughts during this lockdown, but so far no luck. My mind can’t get beyond mopping under the kitchen cupboards or re-seasoning all my cast-iron pans. Which was very satisfying, thank you for asking. I did almost have a moment, when out shopping on one of those beautiful, pellucid mornings. Rounding a corner, I was confronted with an explosion of wisteria on a red brick wall. It blooms every year, but I had forgotten all about it. Yet the sight of it, the beauty of it and the heavenly fragrance of it were suddenly overwhelming. I confess I had to fight back the tears; so lucky did I feel to be alive, to be healthy, to be in England now that spring is here.
Former British Army Officer, Colonel Tom Moore posing with a picture of British Queen Elizabeth II during the celebration of his 100th birthday and a gesture of appreciation for his fundraising achievements for the NHS at his home in Bedfordshire, Britain, 30 April 2020
Colonel cuts the mustard
How lovely that Captain Tom Moore has been promoted to Colonel for his 100th birthday — by the Queen herself, whom he respects and adores. Perhaps it is just a gesture, but still, what a magnificent one. So many people have quietly been doing heroic things during this pandemic, but Colonel Tom’s 100-lap garden walk (which originally aimed to raise £1,000 but has now pulled in more than £32million for the NHS) will long be remembered as something that encapsulated the spirit of the time. So modest but so extraordinary at his age; one foot after the other around the garden, plodding on and on. Such doggedness in the face of such encroaching horror really is Britain at its best.
Television Programme: The Night Manager. Tom Hiddleston hearthrob bared his bum to grind actress Elizabeth Debicki against the wall with rhythm and gusto
Now that’s a very fruity pineapple
Another consequence of coronavirus could be the end of sex scenes in films and television. To be honest, no argu – ments from me. Most sex scenes are a cring – ing embarrassment — and, yes, I include Tom Hiddleston’s bottom-baring in The Night Manager in that category. The British actor was appalled when the scene was cut for American television, complaining that ‘my butt is not dangerous’. He should consider himself lucky. If the scene were to be filmed now, he would have to take instruction from an on-set intimacy coach. M y eye s popped at the techniques and training they now use. Actors and actresses are told to make animal noises, shriek like monkeys, and slap against the floor like a seal to get themselves in sexy filming mode. They also have to shout ‘Pineapple!’ if it all gets too much. Several of my girlfriends would call that a regular date night, but life is different in artistic circles, isn’t it?
Many TV journalists are discovering the drawbacks of broadcasting from home. One Spanish news anchor was delivering a serious report when a naked woman who was not his girlfriend walked across the room behind him. Pineapple! Meanwhile in America, ABC reporter Will Reeve filmed a news segment at home while wearing a suit jacket and shirt — but no trousers, unaware that his hairy knees and boxers were in shot. All this pales in comparison with the magnificent buttocks of Charles Saatchi, glimpsed like a pair of recently struck timpani or a duo of silver moons wobbling about his bathroom as girlfriend Trinny Woodall filmed a live beauty item. It cheered me up. But is it time for everyone to phone in their reports, like the good old days?
Cheryl Cole departs the Martinez during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at on May 11, 2018 in Cannes, France
After only two series, the BBC have axed The Greatest Dancer. What took them so long? It was yet another Saturday night audition show — the viewing public are heartily sick of them — which tried and failed to emulate the success of Strictly Come Dancing. We can only partly blame chief judge Cheryl Insert-NameOf– RandomHusband-Here for the lack of success. But it didn’t help that the former Girls Aloud star jived around like a turkey on a hot tin roof. Dancers competed to win £50,000 and ‘a slot on Strictly Come Dancing’. I don’t think the latter ever materialised, unless it was a slot sweeping up the glitter from the Strictly ballroom floor. However, the main problem with The Great – est Dancer was that in its hysteria to be politi – cally correct and nonelitist, it had categories such as ‘street dancing,’ ‘contemporary dancing’ and the terrifying ‘free – style dancing’. Give me Strictly’s Aljaz doing the American Smooth any day of the week instead.