Boris’s haircut shows he will do anything to be popular
Boris Johnson is the biggest celebrity in politics. Matt Snape argues, that doesn't make him ready to lead.
It seems there are few who go into politics to put their principles into practice these days. Margaret Thatcher was one of the few leaders in recent times who did that, but that cannot be said for Boris Johnson.
The former foreign secretary is renowned for his haircuts. Many of them have ranged from outrageous to darn right quirky, but this is part of the image Boris created in people’s minds. It made him famous, if not popular. But the Daily Express reported a couple of months ago that he changed his hair style and speculated that he did this to ensure that he is taken seriously in a possible leadership contest. It is rumoured Carrie Symonds, the Tory activist the former London mayor had an affair with, advised him to do this in the likely event Theresa May resigns. Two months later, Boris has thrown his hat into the ring to become Britain’s next Prime Minister. Therefore, what the Daily Express reported on was not pure coincidence- it was a ploy to make him look prime ministerial in people’s eyes.
Boris’s haircut is nothing more than a sore spot for him and it allows his opponents to make a mockery of him. It is a tactic that the President of the United States deploys well when he wants to humiliate his own rivals. CBS DC reported in July 2015 that Donald Trump attacked Texas Governor Rick Perry for wearing glasses. He said: ‘He put on glasses, so people think he’s smart. People can see through the glasses.’ The tactic worked to his advantage because Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016 and Governor Perry did not. Is this the same tactic the former foreign secretary’s enemies could deploy to humiliate him prior to a Conservative leadership contest?
But by getting the haircut, Boris is acknowledging all the criticism he receives for his appearance and his approach to politics. He now appears to be a traditional politician. He is rejecting his most memorable characteristic. The image he created through his Have I Got News For You appearances has disappeared. The former foreign secretary is nothing more than a bog-standard career politician. The haircut may only be a minor issue, but it represents a largescale problem in British politics today- if you think a haircut is a qualification to be Prime Minister, then you do not deserve the title.
By adopting this approach, Boris will do anything to be popular. In the 2000s, he was a liberal Tory and a Europhile. But now that he senses his chances of becoming Prime Minister are approaching, he has now become a leading advocate of a hard Brexit. If the European elections prove anything, it is that Brexit is still popular among voters. The former London mayor is dancing to this tune well. It may only be a haircut, but it best demonstrates Boris’s entire attitude to politics- all style, no substance. Sound familiar?
Matt Snape is a freelance journalist whose stories have been featured in numerous national, local and specialist publications
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