How ‘fantastic’ became Boris Johnson’s buzzword

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Despite their eventual loss to Italy in the Euro final at Wembley, Boris Johnson said on Twitter that Gareth Southgate’s side had a “fantastic” performance.

Before the England coach lets himself go to his head – unlikely, I know, for such a savvy character judge – he should be aware of one thing:

That Johnson has, in recent weeks, also used the word “fantastic” to describe a youngster sleeping in a tent to raise money for charity; a visit to a green energy supplier; a Dutch manufacturer of electric vehicles; a group of volunteers and NHS workers he met; a trip to the Nissan plant in Sunderland; the work of the armed forces …

I could go on, but it’s like Johnson’s Tweets are computer generated and the same buzzwords – others he likes are “awesome” and “shiny” – come up over and over again.

Public relations manager Mark Borkowski tells me, “Johnson’s style of mass communication suggests he is following Donald Trump’s handbook. It was Trump who used the word “beautiful” 35 times in 30 days.

“In the age of 280-character tweets and 15-second sound clips, political leaders seem to be developing their own dialects,” Borkowski continues. “Who has time – or column space – for eloquence in a fast-paced news cycle?” “Fantastic”, “huge”, “beautiful” are all part of a new 21st century Morse code, horrible to some, but easily recognizable and easily readable for most others.

“For such a great supposed writer of words, Johnson seems happy to use thin, hypocritical and condescending language, but, if you believe the polls, it works. I suspect it’s like verbal junk food; when times are tough we use it even knowing how little substance it offers.

Milking cow

Andrew Neil’s payers at GB News could be forgiven for not offering their president paid time off.

The news veteran, who decided he needed a break two weeks after the right-wing news channel went live, is taking the opportunity for his private company, Glenburn Enterprises.

The paperwork which has just arrived at Companies House reveals a profit of £ 745,000 for him, bringing the net worth of the outfit to a staggering £ 10.8million.

The provenance of the money is not disclosed, however, and his work is defined simply as “artistic creation.”

Glenburn’s financial statements, compiled by Neil in 1990, show that its assets have risen sharply, with a ‘revaluation of land and buildings and capital investments’ of £ 674,960.

Retained earnings increased by a more modest amount of £ 70,464. As of December 31, 2020, Glenburn had £ 8.8million of listed investments.

Johnson’s balls

Boris Johnson’s former colleagues at the Daily Telegraph were taken aback by his sudden passion for football.

“He thought of it like a moron’s game,” one of them told me. “People say he prefers rugby, but the only game I’ve ever seen him get excited about – and I’ve played against him – was croquet. It was a weekend in the countryside – I’d better not say which – and he won, but, needless to say, he cheated.

By Georges

George Osborne’s new colleagues at the British Museum – which he takes over as president in October – must hope he has a better chance of looking after his finances than he has at the Evening Standard.


London’s free sheet ran

£ 74million loss on his watch. Ongoing losses have fallen from £ 36.9million in 2016, the year before he became editor, to £ 111million in September last year.

At least its owner Evgeny Lebedev has his pockets full: £ 20million in new shareholder loans made last year has been reported.

Maybe Osborne will persuade his pal to find a few rubles for the British Museum.


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