The problem with making bold and sweeping claims is that, at some point, they often come back and bite you on the behind. That’s the position the Mayor found himself in this week when he was subjected to an impromptu IQ test live on the radio just days after mocking people with a low intelligence level.
In a highly provocative speech, Boris recently mocked the 16 per cent ‘of our species’ with an IQ below 85 as he called for more to be done to help the 2 per cent who have an IQ above 130. Johnson then told the Centre for Policy Studies think tank: “The harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”
Fellow politicians queued up to accuse the mayor of ‘careless elitism’ and criticised his suggestion that Londoners on minimum wage were ‘at the bottom of the cornflake packet’. So, in his first public appearance since the remarks – on his LBC radio show – he was, unsurprisingly, bombarded with IQ based questions from listeners.
In the first IQ question he was asked: “A man builds a house with four sides of rectangular construction each side with southern exposure. A big bear comes along. What is the colour of the bear?”
According to The Guardian, ‘Johnson said the bear was probably brown, before admitting that he did not have a clue.’ [The bear is white because it must be a polar bear at the North Pole – Boriswatch Ed]
Hmm. An inauspicious start.
Next he was asked: “Take two apples from three apples and what do you have?” Johnson said: “Loads of apples.” He then changed his answer to one apple. The answer the questioner wanted was two apples. [The question starts ‘take two apples’, you see – Boriswatch Ed]
He was then asked: “I went to bed at eight in the evening last night and I wound up my clock and set my alarm to sound for nine o’clock in the morning. How many hours sleep did I get?” By this time, however, Johnson refused even to attempt an answer.
“No one said IQ is the only measure of ability,” he said, shortly before failing to correctly calculate the cost of a tube journey from Angel (where he lives) to London Bridge (where he works). He then told listeners he didn’t ‘have the foggiest idea’ about The X Factor and that Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Ann Widdecombe were in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.
All in all, not the Mayor’s finest hour. I wonder whereabouts in the cornflake packet of life he finds himself now?