Brandishing Bendy Banana, Bumbling Boris,
Bombastic Bonking Buffoon, Blusters Brazenly
I have the greatest admiration for people who learn to manage their speech impediment to speak in public. Not among them is Bumbling Boris (for his full title, see Stewart Lee—since “Boris” and “BoJo” seem too generous in their familiarity, Lee’s solution “Turds” seems suitable; “Spaffer” also has a certain ring to it).
Along with the tousled hair and shambling walk, his disjointed speech—seeking to convey a spontaneous happy-go-lucky image, making it up as he goes along—seems a public-school affectation. Mystifyingly, in some quarters this is apparently considered attractive, like Hugh Grant’s “Posh Twat” persona, or Jacob Tree-Frog eternally trapped in the ridiculous fancy-dress outfit that he once wore for a laugh at a school party.
Or is his stumbling a recognition that if he does somehow manage to string more than two words together consecutively, the result will inevitably consist of fatuous offensive clichés, or is it a cunning attempt to dissociate himself from them?
Er er er, bumble wumble, ow-ow-our [smirks] European friends [the AfD], the-the-the…, um, ipso facto [smugly], I-I-I, letterbox, i-i-s a… er, world-beating [Ha], um, roadmap, blah, [ruffles hair “endearingly”], Winston, er er… (what was his name again?) pifflepafflewifflewaffle steady ship… um, um um, cavalry…
Here’s a real one:
Such are the dazzling Eton–Oxford debating skills with which mere plebs and women can’t compete.
In his distinctive shtick, I don’t think I’ve heard him stammer on initial consonants, only repeating whole monosyllables (the), often vowel sounds (I) (see also under stammering tag).
Well he said, you’ll be the greatest president in the history of, but you know what, I’ll take that also, but that you could be. But he said, will be the greatest president but I would also accept the other. In other words, if you do your job, but I accept that. Then I watched him interviewed and it was like he never even was here. It’s incredible. I watched him interviewed a week later and it’s like he was never in my office. And you can even say that.
Or perhaps the difference is that Tweety blundered on relentlessly [enjoy that past tense], whereas Spaffer peppers his own drivel with cute hesitancy. So much for oratory (and for fluent impromptu exposition in Indian raga, click here).
Created at a time when the idea of either of them being allowed anywhere near power seemed utterly ludicrous, Paul Whitehouse’s character of Rowley Birkin QC combined the posh Spaffer mannerisms and the relentless Tweety gibberish:
Here’s Matt Lucas:
Recently a Spaffer–Birkin hybrid has emerged:
I might have a greater tolerance of such eccentricity for a politician not wallowing in a cesspit of opportunism, xenophobia, and duplicity. For a less-than-ringing endorsement from a former colleague (“a clown, a self-centred ego, an embarrassing buffoon, with an untidy mind and sub-zero diplomatic judgment”), click here.
“What I can tell you is this“: on behalf of the, um, stammering “community”, I would like to dissociate myself from this kind of flummery—FFS, either get a proper speech impediment or just learn to engage mouth with “brain”. Ideally, go away.
It’s not that we didn’t know. I like this vignette from Outnumbered, when The Suspect was still Mayor of London:
And don’t miss The Life and lies of Boris Johnson (under Drawing a line).