Prime Minister? That Johnson bugger? You're having a laugh
Well, not on the day: alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his team of variously creative spinners have already nudged our free and fearless press into using the occasion to burnish his image. The line has been fed to the media that caring, considerate Bozo (as if) has Done The Right Thing and given up his seat.
This is what the 10 Downing Street spokesman has told waiting hacks: “As a result of the coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh … The prime minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday”. That’s very subtly done.
What the statement did NOT say was to answer the question as to whether Bozo had even been invited. Remember, Phil The Greek is not being given a state funeral. He has been extensively quoted as not wanting any fuss to be made over his send-off. But that has not stopped media reports spinning Bozo’s absence to his advantage.
So Sky News has told “Boris Johnson will not go to Prince Philip's funeral, and will instead give up his seat to allow another family member to attend”. Free sheet Metro has claimed “The UK prime minister is normally present at royal funerals, but Mr Johnson offered to step down as there are limited numbers of mourners at funerals amid the coronavirus pandemic”. But it’s not a state funeral. And other media outlets have gone further.
The Daily Brexit, still called the Express, has told readers “Boris Johnson turns down invitation to Prince Philip's funeral so more family can attend … The Prime Minister was understood to have been expected to attend the ceremony for Philip by the royals, but offered to step aside”. The No 10 statement did not mention an invitation.
This didn’t deter the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph: “No 10 said last night that Boris Johnson had offered to stand aside to let an additional member of the Royal Family attend the funeral under the current guidelines”. The clear inference is that Bozo had been invited, even though the Downing Street statement didn’t say that.
The Murdoch Sunday Times also claimed “Boris Johnson, who was to have attended, will stand aside so that a member of the Royal Family can be there in his place”. But, again, the statement put out by Bozo’s team doesn’t say whether he was actually invited.
He may have been invited; that is not being disputed. But once again, we see a largely compliant press taking a statement from his gang, taking the hint, and deciding to spin it in his favour. A Royal death becomes an opportunity to cast Bozo as the hero of the hour.
He may go down as the worst Prime Minister in history. But not in the Tory press.
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