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Boris Johnson’s Kinder Egg Surprise Is Just Another Piece of Misdirection

The prime minister’s blustering media presence is a means of putting people off the scent of his plans

Kinder egg surprise as Boris Johnson Visits leeds Prison Photo by Jon Super - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson is in the news for blustering once again. The prime minister’s visit to Leeds prison saw him aghast at the means by which prisoners transport drugs and phones into prison — including a hollowed out Kinder Egg. Quite the surprise for Johnson. He’s evidently never watched The Bill, Porridge, Traffic Cops, or Orange Is the New Black. He’s an affable buffoon, blustering around the U.K. criminal justice system marvelling at its ingenuities.

Except ... He’s not. He’s visiting HMP Leeds as a part of his prison reform programme, which includes adding airport-style security measures and has been widely criticised for presenting 10,000 prison places as new when 12,000 would be needed to tackle the overcrowding caused by cuts — cuts made by Johnson’s Tory peers. Recoiling violently at a Kinder Egg, talking, in false shock, about drugs in prisoners’ “alimentary systems,” is not good-faith politics.

It’s the same as his claim that he makes buses to relax: an otherwise irrelevant, impudent claim, fit to go viral and spread around the internet, masking the reality of his political maneouvres. Anyone who has ever looked into search engine optimisation (SEO) is able to work out why Boris Johnson might want the search term “Boris Johnson bus” to look upon him more favourably. It’s the same as his smoked fish waving turn in Conservative leadership hustings, a piece of showmanship built on a lie about bureaucracy. It takes headlines off the fact that a court will rule on his plans to prevent Parliament from sitting when no-deal Brexit would take place on 31 October. It takes headlines off criticism of his prison reform.

His Kinder surprise is as hollow as the egg that so shocked him.