Boris Johnson has recently been accused of ‘careless elitism’ and talking about people ‘as if we were a breed of dogs’, after he suggested some people struggle to get on in life because of their low IQs. These criticisms came from Nick Clegg, but many others jumped on the Boris-bashing bandwagon. So who is this man we have for Major of London?
Boris recently told a City audience that 16% “of our species” have an IQ below 85, and called for more to be done to help the brightest people in the country. He also said greed was a “valuable spur to economic activity”. His comments outraged many, and consequently Nick Ferrari gave him a short IQ test on live radio (LBC), which he failed. Well, actually, he didn’t really answer the questions, but he did spit out his dummy and say “No one said IQ is the only measure of ability”. There is even a petition to get Boris to take a proper IQ test (link below).
Some sardonic critics went further and suggested that IQ questions were unfair and better questions might included the price of a bottle of 2001 Mouton Rothschild, the cost of a place at Eton, the compensation paid for wrecking restaurants in and near Oxford, and the cost of joining the Bullingdon Dining Club. At least he would be able to answer these questions.
…he is a fiercely ambitious man who apparently confuses intelligence with status…
Boris also said, “The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top”. Perhaps his bumbling humour is becoming tired and facetious. For some he is still the affable buffoon, the intelligent clown. For many others, behind this foppish exuberance, he is a fiercely ambitious man who apparently confuses intelligence with status. He has done little to hide the fact that he desperately wants the job of his old Etonian rival, David Cameron. Cameron probably enjoyed Boris’ latest blunder, as he distanced himself by saying “I’ll let Boris speak for Boris”.
He has mastered one thing though- self-promotion. He makes most politicians look like they take themselves too seriously. He is also infinitely better at deflecting, or worming his way out of, criticism- even if he does it by playing the fool. Where most politicians scrabble to think of a quick defence under scrutiny, Boris mumbles, grins and is anything but serious. Such as when he was asked if he would like to be Prime Minister, he responded with “err…well…there’s a lot of things I’d like to be. I’d like to be a famous composer”.
…His humour has always saved him…
But while he often taps into the British sense of humour, he does not connect with the majority of British people on any other level. His humour has always saved him, and even made him more popular, in past scandals; but this time it looks like he will struggle to laugh to it all off.
Check out the petition to get Boris to take an IQ test here.