The Slatest

The Best Photos We Didn’t Use This Week: Is Boris Johnson Living in a Children’s Book?

Boris Johnson stands in front of a wall at a school, with two signs reading "Gullible" and "Stealthy" above his head.
Chistopher Furlong/Getty Images

Slate’s homepage editors spend a lot of time looking for editorial photos to put on our site. Those searches sometimes yield unexpected results: random, perplexing, and mesmerizing photos that don’t belong on the home page, but that are too good not to share. Every week, we’ll publish the weirdest photo from the wires.

I recently came across an utterly brilliant photo of Boris Johnson that is straight out of a children’s vocab book. This March snapshot of Johnson at a primary school in Stoke-on-Trent, England, should be universally distributed to kids as a lesson in political skepticism, artistic composition, and the importance of an independent press corps.


This discovery led me down a rabbit hole to see what else Johnson is up to. After conducting a thorough analysis of the Tory leader’s activities, I reached a startling conclusion: The British prime minister appears to be living in a Richard Scarry book. I hesitate to tarnish the memory of early childhood classics like Best Word Book Ever and What Do People Do All Day? with this man’s destructive buffoonery, but the people deserve to know that the leader of the United Kingdom is a resident of Busytown.


Apparently, when you’re not busy hammering out the details of breaking up with the European Union, the British prime ministership consists of a never-ending series of storybook photo-ops. He’s on a boat; he’s on a train. He’s in a factory; he’s in a school. He’s holding a kipper; he’s holding a potted plant. It’s all simplistic enough for a small child to understand, complete with plenty of props and uniform changes.


Let’s take a look at Boris’ very busy day.

Where is Boris? He needs to get going—there’s a lot to do as prime minister!

Boris Johnson kneels down to look through a large pipe.
Peter Byrne - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris drives an electric bus. Boris’ friend Donald gets to drive a fire truck. Sometimes life isn’t fair.

Boris Johnson wears a yellow high-visibility jacket and gives a thumbs-up as he sits behind the wheel of a bus.
Steve Parsons/Getty Images

Boris has lots of friends besides Donald. He likes to play with them.

Boris Johnson holds a dog next to his face. The dog's tongue is out, mid-lick.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Boris Johnson holds a chicken and looks at it, appearing befuddled.
Adrian Dennis - Pool/Getty Images
Boris Johnson holds a tuatara.
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Boris Johnson pulls a bull around on a rope.
Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Not everyone is friends with Boris. That’s part of living in a society.

A biker (L) flips off Boris Johnson (R) as he waves and approaches on a bike.
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Uh-oh, there’s a pandemic going on, but Boris gives a thumbs-up to let you know things are A-OK.

Boris Johnson gives a thumbs-up and holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
Jeremy Selwyn/Getty Images

How do the scientists make the vaccine? They use petri dishes and a microscope. Boris works in the laboratory, but there are some bumps in the road. How will Boris make this better?

Boris Johnson holds up a petri dish and looks at it.
Heathcliff O’Malley/Getty Images
Boris Johnson looks at a vaccine sample through a microscope.
Heathcliff O’Malley/Getty Images

Boris likes to build, build, build. He uses his big drill to fix things, but sometimes he breaks them instead. Oops!

Boris Johnson raises his fist while speaking at a lectern with a sign that reads "Build, Build, Build."
Paul Ellis/Getty Images
Boris Johnson holding a power drill.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Boris stays active. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, but what matters is how you play the game.

Boris Johnson gets hit in the head with a soccer ball while goalkeeping.
Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Boris Johnson sticks his tongue out as he hits a tennis ball while spectators watch.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Boris draws a still life. He shows the class his work. Take a look at that man and his bananas!

Boris Johnson stands in a classroom and holds up a clipboard with a drawing of a bunch of bananas.
Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images

After all that activity, it’s time to eat. What the heck is on the menu?

Boris Johnson inspects a potato while he and two workers stand in front of a conveyor belt of potatoes.
Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Boris Johnson holds a pack of  "Boris Bangers" sausages in each hand, wears a string of sausages around his neck like a scarf, and wears an apron that says "Heck" on it.
Darren Staples - Pool/Getty Images

What will Boris get up to next?

Boris Johnson gives a double thumbs-up.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images