Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Drugs, obesity and media studies

Welcome to the world of Boris Johnson, as seen through the rose-tinted windscreens of his high-performance cars.

Today's Portsmouth Today reports comments of the 'Motormouth MP' which have led to demands for an apology from 'furious city leaders'. He characterised the home of HMS Victory as 'one of the most depressed towns in southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, under-achievement and Labour MPs.'

His views weren't expressed in any speech in the House, or indeed during his recent visit to the University of Portsmouth. The words appeared in that most eminent publication, GQ Magazine, as part of Boris's write-up on test driving a Maybach limousine. He combined his journalistic and political commitments by using the £340,000 vehicle for his official visit to the University on behalf of the Conservative party.

The indignant city fathers are undoubtedly still smarting from the late Spike Milligan's consignment of Portsmouth into oblivion on BBC's Room 101. But the city wasn't the only target of stereotyping in Johnson's jottings. I quote...

As soon as we pull up outside the University of Portsmouth, I can see the look of astonishment on the face of the Vice Chancellor. The streets are full of rain. Poor bedraggled students splash across the campus in search of their lectures in feminism and media studies.
Ah yes, we're in familiar territory here. And this from the Shadow Minister for Higher Education, who claimed during the last election that 'Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3'.

Somewhere in this infinite universe, there must be a parallel world in which David Cameron not only wins the next election but also allows Boris to stay in charge of the nation's universities. It hardly bears thinking about. But then perhaps in another parallel world, feminism and media studies are included in the curriculum at Eton...

Filed under:
Boris Johnson   Portsmouth  media studies

1 comment:

Faye Davies said...

Thanks - your closing thought about Boris in charge of HE is likely to give me nightmares!

Faye Davies
University of Central England