I give it a year. I suppose the announcement of the marriage of Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds is supposed to trigger some great national celebration. Maybe there will be tea towels featuring the beaming faces of the pair, the Royal Mail will issue some special stamps, with an unusual “two faced” design front and back, and there will be an interview with Huw Edwards where Johnson mumbles some quip about “whatever love is”. We already have the front page scoop ready for framing.
I suspect the reaction of many to this news is a mixture of cynicism, foreboding and gallows humour. I suppose it’s in poor taste to ask who is going to be footing the bill for this “lavish” event, either at Chequers or, reportedly, in a safari park (somehow more fitting). We may be assured it won’t be Johnson himself, though.
It did come as a bit of a surprise. On their last public outing for the cameras, when the pair marched briskly to the polling station for the obligatory photo-call, as if hurrying to get the ordeal over with, Carrie looked more like a hostage than a happy bride-to-be. Still, you never know.
For all his virtues, though, Johnson is not obviously naturally suited to monogamy. It’s proved a bit of a strain in the past, it’s fair to say, and the obligations may prove to be onerous again.
In the lovely, stentorian words of the Anglican Homily on the State of Matrimony: “The word of Almighty God doth testify and declare whence the original beginning of matrimony cometh, and why it is ordained. It is instituted of God, to the intent that man and woman should live lawfully in a perpetual friendly fellowship, to bring forth fruit, and to avoid fornication: by which means a good conscience might be preserved on both parties in bridling the corrupt inclinations of the flesh within the limits of honesty; for God hath straitly forbidden all whoredom and uncleanness, and hath from time to time taken grievous punishments of this inordinate lust, as all stories and ages hath declared.”
You can well imagine that old roue Johnson staring down at his shoes as the vicar drones on for a bit.
For some reason a pole-dancing Jennifer Arcuri in a stars-and-stripes bikini gyrated into my mind when contemplating whether our prime minister will indeed be able to bridle his own corrupt inclinations of the flesh. I wonder if Johnson’s old IT tutor might try to gatecrash his big fat Tory wedding.
Will Johnson, this time round, take his marriage vows any more seriously than he has in the past? Will he regard them as any more or less binding, than, say the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, the Northern Ireland protocol, that famous promise on the side of his Brexit bus, or indeed the terms of a contract with a publisher to deliver a biography of William Shakespeare?
Who gets to be the best man? Certainly not David Cameron. Dave really is out of fashion these days. He’ll probably send a congratulatory text message, though. Nor Michael Gove, who once warned his party that, “I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.” A bit near the bone, that, even for a best man’s speech. Maybe Bozza could turn to his old mate from Eton, Darius Guppy, to whom he still owes a favour.
What about the kids? Presumably the infant Wilfred will attend, but what of the rest? Might be a bit awks. They’ll certainly swell the guest list a good deal, and a few might be a bit of a surprise, not least to Johnson himself. He is, after all, a man once described as possessing the morals of an alley cat. God help him.
The wedding cake will be especially important in the ceremonials, because the marriage will be conducted under the rules of his own religion, the Hypocritical Church of Latter Day Cakeism. This is the doctrine Johnson has fashioned for himself to live his life by, a moral compass that points north and south simultaneously, and where the greatest of all divine blessings, more useful than eternal life or a place in the choir of heaven, is to “get away with it” down here on earth.
Anyway, best wishes to Boris and, especially, Carrie, who will be lumbered with him, for better or worse. Just like the rest of us.
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