Born in a barn in 1964, Boris had a tough start to life, not least because he was immediately trampled by a three-legged cow. He went to school at Eton, where he was made Milk Monitor and President of the Rollerhockey Club – an obscure position which dates back over a century, but one which he held with great pride.
Boris read Greats at Balliol College, Oxford, and by a serious of accidents became President of the Oxford Union. While there he appeared on University Challenge, where he incorrectly answered the decisive question on Twelfth Century poetry – he said ‘apple’, when the answer should have been ‘a three-legged cow’. He later said that the animal has haunted him throughout his life.
After university Boris tried unsuccessfully to train as a monk (he was thrown out of the monastery for refusing to remove any of his golden locks) and slid through a series of uninteresting jobs before finishing up as a trainee fire-eater in Peckham. Following a conversation with a police officer about a burning tree, Boris realised that his true vocation was journalism.
From that moment on Boris’s rise to the top was rapid: he passed through The Times and The Wolverhampton Express and Star before becoming a reporter for The Daily Telegraph, where he had responsibility for unearthing stories involving attractive young women whose photographs could be placed on the front page. His talent was soon spotted by The Spectator, and he was appointed its editor in 1999.
In parallel to his career in journalism is Boris’s career in politics. A founder member of the People’s Crumpet Alliance in his final year at Oxford, he went on to join the Conservative Party – ‘a natural progression’ – and was selected as its candidate for Clwyd South in 1997. After many months of trudging around Wales he realised on the night of the general election that it had in fact been a cruel joke, and his name was not even on the ballot paper. Central Office later told him that it would not have made any difference anyway.
Boris was not, however, disheartened for long. In 2001 he fought and won the seat of Henley-on-Thames, and has been its MP ever since. He won a substantial majority, at least in part due to the people of Henley deciding that having Boris as MP would be a ‘jolly good laugh’. It was at this point that Boris realised that being a politician was his real true vocation.
Once in Parliament Boris was made Shadow Minister for BBC Four, but later resigned after confessing in an interview on the channel that he never watched it and neither did Michael Howard. Luckily nobody saw the interview on BBC Four, so he managed to hang on for a month until it was shown on BBC Two.
Although relatively inexperienced in the House of Commons, Boris has won plaudits from all sides for his performances, which are now commonly reviewed the following day in the Arts section of the Observer. Always modest about his achievements and his prospects for political advancement, many around him are certain that he is destined for greater things.