Boris Johnson Cites Lenin, Peppa Pig in Rambling Pitch to Businesses
When the U.K.’s biggest business lobby gathered in a part of the country critical to Boris Johnson’s economic and political plans on Monday, they may have expected the prime minister to at least sound serious.
Instead, Johnson delivered a rambling speech in which he jokily referenced Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and compared himself to Old Testament prophet Moses in relation to the government’s environment policy.
He did an impression of a petrol car accelerating -- “Broom broom brah brah!” -- to compare it to an electric vehicle, and lost his place and spent more than 20 seconds rifling through his notes, muttering “forgive me” and “blast it.”
At one point, he asked attendees if they had ever visited Peppa Pig World -- hundreds of miles from where they were sitting in South Shields, northeast England. Johnson visited the children’s theme park in southern England on Sunday with his toddler son.
The location of his speech to the Confederation of British Industry conference had given Johnson an opportunity to convince voters that he’s still serious about his flagship ‘leveling up’ agenda after he disappointed voters in northern England last week with scaled-back on plans for rail investment.
Yet it’s not the first time Johnson has taken a risk with his tone. As foreign secretary, he was reported to have dismissed the business community’s concerns about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit with a profanity, cementing the impression that he can be indifferent to the problems facing executives when they clash with his political priorities.
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