Boris Johnson has a new book of poetry out - The Perils of the Pushy Parents. I'd no intention of reading it, even before seeing this review by Stuart Jeffries.
And there's more:
The book concerns the Albacores, a family whose parents insist son and daughter should not watch telly. The da d, especially, is a crackpot who teaches his toddlers Zeno's paradox when they should be eating dirt and shanking each other with plastic cutlery. When Mr Albacore sees the pair watching TV, he takes action rendered thus by Johnson: "He'd zap the programme off and holler/ 'Go and read some Emile Zola.'" As you will notice, Johnson has a gift for assonance not heard since Alexander Pope wrote the Rape of the Lock (this will be the quote they use on the paperback edition - just see if it isn't). By which I mean, there are lots of duff rhymes.
And there's more:
You might well think I am being unfair and that, like Gordon Brown's loathing for David Cameron, there is an element of class hatred behind my bile. You got the second part right. I refuse to be charmed by this gaffe-prone berk (he lost his wedding ring within an hour of getting married), this inventor of quotations (for which he was fired from the Times), this witless calumniser of scousers, witless calumniser of Papua New Guineans, this bad novelist, this brazenly buffoonish poetic dabbler. It is important, as Byron recognised when he wrote English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (now that was a vibrant piece of satirical verse), that we castigate rubbish: "Degenerate Britons! Are ye dead to shame,/ Or, kind to dulness, do you fear to blame?" We deserve better than Johnson, certainly better than Johnson the oompa loompa, pouring his chocolatey goo into our Christmas stockings.