“I don’t believe in gestures,” said the man who last year drove a Brexit-branded tractor through a styrofoam wall emblazoned with the word “GRIDLOCK”.
That man was of course Boris Johnson, who made the easily-disprovable statement on LBC radio on Friday morning while discussing taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
The PM said: “I do not believe in gestures, I believe in substance.”
So, in the interests of stating the absolutely bloody obvious, here are 5 times in the very recent past that Boris Johnson has performed a grand gesture whilst simultaneously being criticised for doing little to nothing of substance on the issue.
Johnson had absolutely no problem showing support and solidarity with the NHS during the first few weeks of lockdown, as he appeared on the steps on No 10 and clapped along with the nation for the Thursday ritual of Clap for Carers.
Here he is, surrounded by a multitude of lovely hand-drawn gestures in the windows of the house in which he resides.
Of course during this period, there was quite a bit of focus on how the NHS would cope with a pandemic given the toll that years of austerity had taken on the health service.
Johnson of course did this every week except for the ones during which he himself was being tended to by the NHS, which brings us to...
It wasn’t necessarily a gesture at the time, but Johnson made the act of shaking hands with coronavirus patients into one when he held it up as an example of how the virus would not stop going about his prime ministerial business.
“I was at a hospital the other night where I think a few there were actually coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands,” he said on March 3.
Just over a month later Johnson would be in intensive care and those first weeks of March where his government refused to impose a lockdown would later be cited as a major factor in the UK’s massive death toll.
Last month Johnson appeared in a bizarre video in which he brandished an actual packet of biscuits at the camera while grinning like a small child who has just found said packet of biscuits.
It was all part of the pitch for a beneficial trade deal between the UK and Australia and New Zealand, something he said would bring the countries “closer together than ever before”.
Aside from the expected mockery of the country’s designated adult waving a packet of biscuits, there was the more appropriate criticism that he was concentrating on something that makes up an absolutely tiny amount of the UK economy and was therefore wasting everyone’s time on... what are they called again? Oh that’s right, pointless gestures.
The push ups
Only a few days ago to prove he had recovered for Covid-19 the PM got on the floor during an interview with the the Mail on Sunday to prove he was as “fit as a butcher’s dog” and “full of beans”.
Yes, that picture you may have seen before you clicked on this piece is actually real. That’s Boris Johnson menacingly waving a kipper over his head.
The purported reason for this frivolously fishy fanfare was a claim that “Brussels bureaucrats” were behind rules about sending Isle of Man kippers by post, made at the final hustings of the leadership campaign which he went on to win.
The only problem was it simply wasn’t true – officials in Brussels pointed out the rules were set in the UK and EU food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis reminded Johnson, a former Brussels correspondent, that the Isle of Man is not in the European Union.
And if we go further back in time, there are numerous other classic examples of Johnson making gestures, usually of the bumbling variety, as many an individual on social media were happy to point out on Friday.
So yes, it appears he does believe in gestures, just not the one he was asked about on Friday.