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Boris Johnson’s rebranding of No 10 set to be shown at the gate | Boris Johnson

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Tlast week’s sale of a gold coin issued by Caratacus, the former British warrior who unsuccessfully resisted the Roman invasion, made me think about the branding of doomed British regimes. The coin yielded 80,040 and depicts a naked Caratacus on a horse (also naked). It seemed a little dark to me. Emperor Claudius, the ultimate victor over Caratacuss, never attacked money. Caratacuss’ nudey display looks a bit picky, a bit Vladimir Putin, although he even tends to keep his pants on.

To be fair, the picture is more tasteful than the description makes it seem like you can’t really see Caratacuss’ bottom or penis, although there is, in my eyes at least, a suggestion. of horse rooster. But is it the product of restraint or just the limitations of late Iron Age striking technology? Who knows what oiled, waving hairy-balled vulgarity Caratacus might have ordered had hed had access to full-color 3D printing? So it was probably for the best that this exhibitionist warrior culture would soon benefit from the compelling influence of a vast pan-European bureaucracy.

Boris Johnsons’ ramshackle administration, on the other hand, is going in the opposite direction and frankly if we could limit the damage it does to Britain by just putting its wink on every 50ps I think that we should grab it with both hands. By that I mean capture that outcome metaphorically, not physically from its member. I can’t believe this is happening as much as people say.

Recent events show that the Johnson government is as relentlessly beset by its own problems as Caratacus was by legions. What happened with Dominic Cummings? Johnson allowed the entire first lockdown to be fundamentally undermined in order to protect this alleged political genius. In an era when everyone was told to suppress their instincts, Johnson defended the man purely on the basis that he was following his instincts. It’s like defending a murderer on the basis that he doesn’t like the victim. And why? So Cummings was able to stay at work for a few more months and then get kicked out because the Prime Minister’s girlfriend had left him. Even if we assume malice, that doesn’t make sense.

And then, the very day the Prime Minister was trying to revive his new regime, a little less shitty, it turns out that he has to isolate himself for two weeks because he got a little too close to a another deputy at a working breakfast. How did it happen? Who are these idiots? Sit further away! Don’t share a toast! This is all so offensively inept.

But, to me, the deep inadequacy of the group leading Britain at this crucial time is most evident in their presentation choices. For example, the congratulatory tweet they sent when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election. Much has already been said about the incomprehensible error which means that poorly concealed fragments of a message congratulating Donald Trump were somehow noticeable there, like the imprint of the handwriting on the next page in a notepad. I had no idea it was possible in a tweet, but somehow Johnson found the staff unlucky enough to make a previously unsuspected mistake.

What I think exacerbates this error, but also makes the post almost poignant in its aspiration to be chic and branded, is the 10 at the bottom of it. It is written in the same font as 10 on the door of 10 Downing Street. So it’s like some sort of logo for the Prime Ministers’ House, which they obviously decided was cool. Well, it is not. It’s naff and tricky and flashy, like putting whatever you write in Zapf Chancery when you first get a printer. It would be outrageous even in an alternate utopian reality where the government had somehow retained the jurisdiction to issue messages that did not accidentally have conflicting messages written lightly underneath.

There was more of this DIY branding among the teens earlier in the year when they got the ministerial plane repainted. It is an RAF Voyager which has been used for the transport of the Royal Family and Prime Ministers since 2016, but until June of this year it was military gray in color with the Royal Air Force written on it in a light gray darker. Now his white Hollywood tooth enamel with a union jack tail fin and the UK painted on the side in shimmering gold.

RAF Voyager
RAF Voyager: plasticky and desperate. Photograph: EPA

Some people might say it is an improvement: it is now more clearly a British government aircraft and also it looks shiny and new which must be better. Personally, I don’t want anyone with an opinion on this to have any power. It is a horrible change. The plane looked confident and low-key, everyone in the world knew the Royal Air Force was referring to the UK, but he wasn’t yelling at them. Now he looks plasticky and desperate a weak Captain Britain to Air Force Ones Captain America.

The truth is, I never thought Johnson would make a good prime minister, but I never expected him to be tasteless. The aesthetic of the British state is sleek and unusual: ostensibly a monarchy but with real power resting behind a relatively normal-looking numbered door on a street. It’s more sophisticated than a president in a big white mansion. I expected Johnson to understand this, but when he tries to make number 10 a corporate badge and wrestle the official Queens flight, I realize he doesn’t.

It makes me doubt his wrinkled and chaotic appearance. I thought it was a slightly more interesting picture than average hed adopted a deliberate rejection of other dull politicians of finesse. But now I’m not so sure. He might be trying to look smart, but he just can’t seem to. It may not be a conscious choice but another lack of skill.

I don’t like his politics but I was ready to assess his artistic judgment. He seemed relatively talented when he was mainly in show business, I thought it would be better if he stayed there. Now, I’m not sure it’s not that bad at all.

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