Boris Johnson was so very nearly egged.
I’m not saying that’s something that I would have liked to have seen (though, honestly, when has someone being egged ever not been funny?!), yolk exploding through his scarecrow-like hair, shell flying through the air like shrapnel as Boris’ face becomes a mask of bewilderment while a burly man dressed in black scans the crowd for the assassin.
Sam Griggs came close to making this reality. Then he failed miserably. And in doing so, denied every newspaper in the country (and all of us) a front-page of Boris’ egg-smeared visage.
At a Brexit rally in York, the student was rumbled by Boris himself, before an egg-bearing fist could even be raised in self-aggrandising rebellion.
Boris pointed him out. He denounced his intentions and informed him that people in the UK were starving, and that he’d better not waste that egg. The crowd responded with a mixture of silence and muted applause.
What happened next was fantastic. Sam, dazed and a little confused, gave what has to be the seminal interview on egging a politician – or why, well, why he actually had no intention of egging Boris at all. But had three eggs about his person.
The student, and all round egg-enthusiast, soon found himself surrounded by a throng of people. A news crew and reporter stuck a microphone under his nose. An impromptu interview had begun.
Sam said he was protesting. Then he tried to explain what he was protesting against . . . and his brain, likely still recovering from last night’s hangover, stopped coming up with words. Sam just stared into the middle distance – a look of disbelief on his face, like a Guantanamo prisoner released straight from a deep dark hole into the blue sky of a bright summer’s day – his mouth slurring a fit of false starts.
The reporter asked him if he had intended to egg Boris. Sam said no. And then bizarrely offered up the information that he had brought an egg. And then continued: “I brought three actually”.
Things got worse fast. Why did you bring the eggs if you didn’t intend to throw them? Sam’s brain took a couple of Neurofen, sunk a pint of water and stumbled back to bed. The guy was on his own.
The best was still to come. “If you’re unemployed”, a fragile voice in the crowd enquired, “who bought your eggs?”. Sam sort of half-turned, stunned. I have some sympathy. It was hilarious. But it was a trap. A set-up for a statement that almost always ends with a variation on the theme of “Oh, so the British taxpayer is funding your egg throwing, is it”?
Luckily for Sam, at this point, he’d become a mute.
As the crowd badgered him, a beleaguered Sam finally cracked and pushed his way through the crowd to an escape.
If you haven’t seen this. Watch it. It’s funny.
As for Boris. His security had Sam figured out before it started. Somehow, someway they knew. And they let it be so that Boris could shut it down before it ever got started.
A handy bit of PR for Boris. A man who never looks in control of anything (have you seen the state of that hair?!), suddenly looks the consummate politician. John Prescott this was not. And he got the Conservatives (himself) seen as being concerned about domestic food poverty, something for which their cuts have largely bore the brunt of the public blame.
I take my hat off to him. Boris finally showing a bit of PR-savvy, and unlike his previous attempts (we’re looking at you, whoever it was, that put him on that zip-line during the 2012 Olympics), this time, he didn’t end up with egg on his face.