Boris. Bojo. Bozza. It seems that nowadays the prime minister is referred to by anything but his full name. Whilst this may just be a light-hearted joke throughout the UK, the marketing of political figures is rarely accidental, so what is the strategy here?

 

Boris Johnson attended Eton College boarding school, one of the most prestigious high schools in the world, so it’s safe to say he experienced a rather sheltered and fortunate upbringing. He then went on to study at Oxford University, where he became part of the Bullingdon club, an elitist male-only dining club for students, which over the years has been exposed for being extremely problematic. Now, of course, a person’s quality of upbringing doesn’t speak for their morality. However, in a case like Johnson’s where he perpetuates bigoted ideals and thrives off of the oppression of the working class- it’s safe to categorise him as an elitist snob.

 

The issue here is one of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Over the years, Boris Johnson has done a great job at marketing himself to be ‘one of the lads’. Think about it- When was the last time you heard a prime minister be referred to simply by their first name, or even worse a playful nickname? And it doesn’t stop there. A simple google search will show you playful photos of Johnson pouring pints in the pub and being an all-around quintessential Brit - which we know from his past and his privilege, he is not. This made-up persona translated into Johnson's campaign, where he convinced voters that he was looking out for the underdog, like any good British Citizen would. 

 

Conservatives are known to prey on the anxieties of working class Britons by convincing them that the source of all of their problems is job-stealing immigrants and a lack of ‘traditional british values’, rather than class oppression within a system built against them. Boris Johnson’s hard stance on Brexit in his campaign embodied these ideals, and Corbyn’s overall critique of Britain as a capitalist country showed voters who the most traditionally patriotic of the two candidates were. The consequence of this was a large working class vote for the Tories; a party which, due to their elitist agenda, usually collected the majority of their votes from those more privileged. This working class vote was of course not because they genuinely wanted to keep the bourgeoisie on top, but rather because they had been subject to manipulation and scare tactics from the Tories, and in particular, Mr Johnson. Not one of the lads anymore, I suppose? 

 

So, if you don’t mind, I won’t be calling him Bojo.