By Helen Lewis of The Atlantic, June 30th, 2020
Boris Johnson loves to dress up—admittedly not an unusual pastime among alumni of Britain’s most exclusive schools. But his specific kink is looking like a builder, in a hard hat and bright high-visibility jacket. Yesterday, the British prime minister filmed a wobbly video that featured himself decked out in Day-Glo yellow at a London school, laying the groundwork for his “new deal” on infrastructure. For a set-piece speech today, his lectern was positioned in front of a clothes rack full of neon work wear.
Johnson loves this stuff. He regularly poses in hard hats on visits to tea factories, engineering firms, and tramlines. During last year’s election campaign, he even drove an excavator through a foam-brick wall in front of a crowd of journalists. Its scoop carried his winning campaign slogan: get brexit done. He—like many politicians in Britain—enjoys the construction industry’s association with dynamism, new starts, and fixing things up.
His announcement today of £5 billion in infrastructure spending is designed to soften the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.