Boris should have stuck to the comedy

In accepting a job that demands dullness, Boris Johnson is wasting his real talent – making people laugh.


Boris Johnson has abandoned his real talent

"I goggled and, by Jesus, there she was," writes one of the contributors to The Spectator's new Book of Wit, Humour and Mischief. "Her eyes were invisible behind enormous Dior shades, but her lips were thrust out in her trademark snarl, like some rain-forest chief."

The scene is Courchevel, the French ski resort. In his piece, first published in 2004, the writer goes on: "She was wearing a furry waistcoat and odd, low-slung baggy trousers, but the most interesting thing about her was her bottom. It was either the top of her bottom or the bottom of her back. It was plainly visible, and appeared to be tattooed with some inscription or device.

"I scrambled after her up the stairs to the ski lift, in an undignified attempt to read the message. What was it? Open other end'? If you can read this, you are too close'? It turned out to be four stars, signifying, apparently, the birth of her two children. One of these, Brooklyn, or possibly Bronx, said loudly: I want to go home'. All the women in our party said how stunning she looked, how those hair extensions, ripped from the heads of impoverished Ukrainian girls, wereworth every penny of the £30,000 she paid for them."

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As you may have guessed, the writer of this sketch about Victoria Beckham was none other than Boris Johnson, now secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs. What a shame, says Craig Brown in the Daily Mail. "In accepting a job that demands dullness, Boris has had to abandon his real talent, which is for comedy." We have catatonic politicians galore but very few comic writers. "Our only hope is to smuggle Victoria Beckham into a summit, her backside freshly tattooed with a brand new message, and wait for our new foreign secretary to take the bait."

Shaken, not stirred nor paid for

In The Daily Telegraph, Robbie Collin recalls Roald Dahl's dislike of Hollywood and, in particular, his grouse against Sean Connery who he thought was singularly slow to put his hand in his pocket when it came to buying drinks.

The two spent time together in Japan on the set of You Only Live Twice, the James Bond novel which Dahl adapted for the screen. For a time the shooting was based round Kagoshima, in the country's sweltering south. At the end of the day the cast and crew would "relax with a cold beer on set". Sean Connery joined in the drinking but, Dahl noticed, left the business of paying to others. "He was the only man making a million in the film and he never stood anyone a round," Dahl later observed. "This was known. They all talked about it. He is not an attractive personality."

Whatever happened to decorum?

In the Daily Mail, Jan Moir ticks off some of her sisters for stripping off in the sun. "Put down that ice lolly for a minute and consider the question. Is it ever acceptable to sunbathe in your bra and pants in a public space?" Too many women have been doing just that, thinks Moir. "The attitude seems to be: Whay hey, gerrem out, it's summer for five minutes, why not?'" But they shouldn't do it. "It's an annual disgrace." Whatever happened to decorum?

Tabloid money it's time to "collar and leash" Philip Green

Nobody said the likes of Sir Philip Green would make acceptable household pets, says Max Hastings in the Daily Mail. But we need "kickers and clawers". British commerce would be in far worse shape without these "rough, tough and ambitious men and women fighting to expand businesses and generate wealth". If you meet them socially, "togged up in their dinner jackets", some of them can even pass for decent human beings.

But with Green, things have gone horribly wrong. Most of us accept that the capitalist system is the worst imaginable except for any alternative. But unless society can "collar and leash" the likes of Green, "their excesses could threaten the popular consent that provides the essential foundation for capitalism".

From claws to stilettos, could it really be true that the economy loses £260m each year through high-heel-related injuries, wonders Karren Brady, star of TV reality show The Apprentice, in The Sun on Sunday. That's a huge amount of money. But what's really shocking is that it takes the threat of losing millions to get the message through to people. And by people, I mainly mean men.

It's a shame that a financial case has to be made to end the absolutely archaic practice of forcing women to wear something if they find it uncomfortable or even painful. But if that's what it takes for men to listen and stop controlling women, then let's hope it works.

"Apologies from Brexit liars will be demanded in the great British Regretrix when stunned families return poorer from holiday," says Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror. We'll need an extra £200 spending money to make up for the fall in the pound, according to one travel firm. Now we know the truth about Brexit, "does anyone fancy a second referendum to stay in"?