London Diary: Boris Johnson’s dubious first and his sixth official child

For the first time in 300 years, a British Prime Minister is going through a divorce, a wedding and fatheringa child while in office

Photo Courtesy: Twitter
Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Hasan Saroor

As “firsts” go, this one is not something that many might like to flaunt. Well, here it is: with a baby on the way, Boris Johnson is set to become Britain’s first prime minister to go through a divorce, a wedding, and have a baby while living in Downing Street.

His divorce from his estranged wife Marina Wheeler came through last month. Following which he announced that he and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds were engaged (the wedding date is not set yet), and then came the news that the couple were expecting a baby.

His will be No 10’s first divorce and wedding in 300 years. The previous No 10 tenant to perform this feat was

the Duke of Grafton who divorced his wife Anne FitzRoy to marry Elizabeth Wrottesley. That was in 18th century.

The baby will be Johnson’s sixth official child. There are apparently plenty of unsung, and unacknowledged babies nobody knows about. A productive man, indeed!

Fancy a multiracial plaster?:

Readers might be forgiven for thinking that I’m joking. But it’s true. In a case literally of applying sticking plaster to a running sore (aka racism), Britain’s leading store chain, Tesco, has proudly introduced a new line in plasters that

come in three different skin colours —light, medium and dark—to “better represent the nation”.

In a multiracial society, we’re told, people should have a choice to have a plaster that matches their skin colour. One would have thought that the colour of the plaster would be the last thing on one’s mind when looking for something (just anything) to staunch a bleeding wound. But apparently there are people who do care about such things.

Tesco said it developed its new range after a black American described his feelings when he first used a plaster that matched his skin.

“It’s taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a Band-Aid in my own skin tone. For real I’m holding back tears”, wrote Dominique Apollon, who works for a racial awareness organisation. The tweet, which contained a picture of his hand with a plaster on it, was re-tweeted more than half a million times.

The store claimed that its research had shown that people felt “self-conscious” going around with a plaster of the wrong colour.

“For example, one colleague reported that their child had felt self-conscious wearing a plaster on their face to school recently, because it didn’t match their skin tone and stood out.”

But here’s a warning: an American company which developed a range “exclusively for people of colour” went bust, according to Atlantic magazine.

Too much diversity?

After being routinely accused of not doing enough to promote ethnic diversity, the BBC is now facing criticism for allegedly going too far in the opposite direction. It has been accused of focusing too much on racial and gender diversity while ignoring the class divide at the heart of its policy making.

And among the accusers is one of its own high-profile morning show presenters, Steph McGovern. She has said that her own working-class background and the fact she doesn’t have a “posh” accent has been a handicap. Posh women were paid a lot more than “commoners”.

“There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more... who are a lot posher than me...We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class,” she said adding that she was once told by a manager that she was “too common” to be a BBC presenter.

Last year, Samir Shah, a member of the BBC's board of directors, complained that there were too many black and Asian faces on screen. And this had led to a "world of deracinated coloured people flickering across our screens - to the irritation of many viewers and the embarrassment of the very people such actions are meant to appease".

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Vegan shoes, anyone?

As the Vegan bandwagon rolls on (Diary is keeping close eye on its progress), Marks & Spencer has inevitably hopped on to it. And, guess, what it is hawking? “Vegan-friendly” shoes and trainers made without using animal-based products.

Branded as “V” footwear, they come in a wide range of designs and sizes—-and are reportedly flying off the shelves with Britain’s ethically woke metropolitan elite queuing up to buy them.

But there’s a small problem. They don’t figure on the approval list of the Vegan Society which sets standards for vegan products. It claims its trademark is the only authentic standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal-testing and has warned against any misuse of its trademark.

However, M&S being M&S has its own trademark definition of a vegan product —anything made from “sustainably sourced raw materials”—and is sticking to it.

And, lastly, Priti Patel, Britain’s controversial Home Secretary facing an official inquiry over accusations of “bullying”, has been described by a colleague as “very short, very aggressive, and very angry about absolutely everything”.

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