Oh Boris, you cheeky devil – what have you been up to this time? Seemed to be the world’s reaction yesterday when it was revealed that Boris Johnson had fathered a lovechild.
The news broke after The Court of Appeal rejected Johnson’s request to keep the baby, and the affair that resulted in its conception, private.
But it was worse than that – with some completely ignorant to the fact that London’s loveable Mayor had, yet again, cheated on the mother of his four children.
On the BBC News website, Johnson’s indiscretion was not so much as featured in the Politics section. Other publications such as The Guardian and Telegraph treated the case with about as much interest as if it were a weather forecast.
One paper that did devote some time to covering the story was The Independent, which asked readers to vote how much Boris’s behaviour would impact on the chances of their voting for him. At about midday, an overwhelming 63% of participants said it wouldn’t affect their decision, with a frightening 9% saying it would increase the chance.
The public’s indifference to badly behaved Boris is alarming, especially at a time where we have attacked the BBC for tolerating the sexual incontinence of men such as Jimmy Saville. We like to think we have learned from the television directors of yonder year, who laughed off Saville et al’s appetite for sex with young girls: It was just ‘boys being boys’.
And yet, in 2013, we couldn’t give a damn if our married Mayor wants to sleep around. On the Daily Mail comments section, one user writes ‘Bowisss you old dog!!!!!’ Another says ‘Naughty Boris! Bad boris!’ As if it were all a bit of fun.
Of course, Johnson is not, like Saville, a paedophile – but there are, and will be more, victims of his infidelity. The very fact Johnson sought so hard to get an injunction shows his shame about the affair – so why are we being so apathetic about it?
Earlier this year, Eddie Mair on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show laid into Johnson, saying to the Mayor, ‘you’re a nasty piece of work’. Mair’s attack came as a shock to the public: Over the years, we have allowed Johnson to charm us, to become a national treasure. And here the affable buffoon was, being torn apart by a journalist simply stating the facts of a sordid history.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to discover the life and crimes of London’s Mayor. Scanning over Johnson’s Wikipedia page, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the page of Tony Soprano – with stories of misused expenses, affairs, and the facilitation of violence. Like Mair said, Johnson is ‘a nasty piece of work’.
We must stop letting Johnson to have his own set of moral standards. It is hypocritical of us to let his extramarital relations go when, just two years ago, the world tore into Ryan Giggs and Imogen Thomas for having an affair, with one headline calling the former ‘RAT RIGGS’. Let’s not forget in 1995, when Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky had their affair, photos of Bill Clinton were splashed across world newspapers next to titles such as ‘Liar, Liar’, and ‘Humiliated’.
And what does Boris get? – ‘Boris Johnson ‘affair’ a ‘public interest matter’ says judge’ (BBC News). Why does Johnson get out of jail free? Because he’s clumsy? Because he got stuck on a zipwire once? Please – he’s a forty-eight-year-old man who chose his responsibilities.
You don’t have to be a social conservative to be concerned about Johnson’s disregard for marriage: he uses and discards women as if he were a medieval king. Anyone with imagination, or experience, will know the devastation extramarital affairs can have on individuals and families. It is not only his most recent affair, but the nature in which it happened, that is so appalling: Helen Macintyre, the mother of Johnson’s lovechild, was working as Johnson’s unpaid employee when they embarked on their romance. His actions show a gross lack of professional and personal integrity. We should expect better from London’s Mayor.