Boris Johnson: disbelief
I met Boris Johnson once. Indeed, I presented to him.
It was 1998, if I remember. I was in my mid-twenties. We’d undertaken a survey of the Spectator magazine’s readership base. And I had analysed the responses.
I arrived by cab with a couple of colleagues at a little terraced house north of Chancery Lane, the Spectator’s offices. And we were shuffled off into a room that might arguably be advertised as a bedroom, were the property put on the market as a family house.
We set up the projector, and various people shuffled in, columnists and the like. There were probably six or seven of the Spectator’s elite, all here to listen to what I had to say. Amongst them: Boris Johnson and Petronella Wyatt. This all before their affair hit the papers in 2004.
And it was all rather surreal. I wasn’t fazed in the slightest. I simply reported on what their readers had told us they liked, disliked, read, didn’t read in their beloved magazine. And as I remember, the response rate was phenomenal, such was the loyalty and commitment of its readership.
And no one believed a word I had to say. They all knew better about what the readers liked than the data suggested. I particularly remember Boris huffing and puffing over readers’ alleged favourite columns. And then it was over. Boris left early, either to attend another appointment or in utter disgust at what I had to say. The former, I hope.
Watching him on TV this evening, his manner hasn’t changed a jot.