Oh dear. Boris Johnson’s much-trailed speech to the Confederation of British Industry has caused something of a social media storm – but not for the reasons the Prime Minister will have wanted. In a confused, shambling performance, the Tory premier lost his place repeatedly throughout the speech and spent three minutes riffing on his family trip yesterday to a theme park based on the fictitious children’s cartoon Peppa Pig. He asked the assembled businessmen ‘Hands up how many of you here have been to Peppa Pig World?’ before adding:
A pig that was rejected by the BBC, now exported to 180 countries around the world. No Whitehall civil servant could have come up with Peppa.
Indeed, in the space of just twenty minutes, Johnson managed to refer to himself in the third person by praising the ‘vision’ of the former Mayor of London, quoted Vladimir Lenin’s ‘Report On The Work Of The Council Of People’s Commissars’ when discussing the ‘electrification’ of the British economy and impersonated the ‘vroom, vroom, rah, rah’ of petrol cars.
He also compared himself to a biblical prophet, suggesting he had descended from ‘Mount Sinai’ to hand civil servants his Net Zero framework. As Mrs Thatcher might have said: if Boris thinks he’s Moses, my advice is to keep taking the tablets.
As Sky News cut away from the conference, presenter Ian King could be heard saying: ‘That was as excruciating to watch as Theresa May’s speech in 2017 to the Conservative conference’. Broadcaster Iain Dale added succinctly: ‘I’ve heard some shockingly awfully delivered speeches in my time, but this one by Boris at the CBI takes some beating. All over the place.’
A spokesman for Peppa Pig World told Steerpike: ‘We were delighted the Prime Minister devoted so much of his speech to us.’ Operations director James Mancey added that while the Johnson family’s visit was a personal one but that: ‘We did have an opportunity to speak to the family before they left, when Mr Johnson and his wife were highly complimentary about their experience and expressed their wish to return as a family to Paultons Park in future.’
You can watch the Tory leader flailing and asking for forgiveness below:
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