Boris Johnson is not a liar. He is a bullshitter. There is a difference.
A liar knows (and cares) what the truth is, and is attempting to conceal it.
A bullshitter doesn't care. For a bullshitter, whatever he says becomes the new truth.
Bullshitters don't think they're "lying", because (in their minds) the utter shite they've just told you is now as "real" as any objectively verifiable fact.
Johnson sincerely thinks his new, plucked-out-of-thin-air version of reality is "the truth". He really does.
If he told you he'd been James Dean's stunt double, he'd quickly convince himself that this was the truth too.
He's not "lying". He's telling you HIS truth, even though it's entirely invented.
He gets cross if anybody doubts him – as he did yesterday – because to him it’s real.
He only got to his current level in society because people were prepared to let him get away with it.
He told them the EU was forcing the French to build lorries designed to kill cyclists… and we let him print it in newspapers, for a laugh.
He bullshat about straight bananas. He bullshat about mandatory tiny coffins. He bullshat about Turkey joining the EU, and about the Brussels reclassifying snails as fish.
And he actively boasted about his bullshit, in print, so there could be no doubt.
As the Telegraph’s EU correspondent he quickly got bored with mundane reality, stopped attending briefings, and just made shit up in his hotel room.
“Some of my most joyous hours have been spent in a state of semi-incoherence, composing foam-flecked hymns of hate”,
He wasn’t even attempting to hide it, saying he was
“chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party”
And the biggest effect it had on the Tory party was that they wanted more if this highly entertaining fiction.
So he decided to stand as a politician and try to become PM. He didn't want to DO anything, he just wanted to BE something. No plan. No tactic. Just "be PM for a bit"
Lacking the temperament, intellect or skills required as PM, he decided to play to his strengths and bullshit it.
Of course, he wouldn't see it this way. He'd still see all those lies as truth, not least because when he made up bullshit, it turned up in print, validating him.
He told us he could fix London's traffic problems, and we put his bullshit in the Evening Standard.
He told us he had a ready-made plan to fix social services, and it was on BBC news.
He told us he had a plan for 40 hospitals. He told us he had a plan to Get Brexit Done.
But it's all bollocks. Bollocks he sincerely believes, I admit (because he is almost the PERFECT narcissist, with all the psychological, self-delusional problems associated with that condition). But bollocks nonetheless.
And our media empowered him.
He turned up on Have I got News For You looking like the bloated corpse of Billy Bunter, and making us all laugh with his bullshit act. And straight away, he’s a star, and The Telegraph gives him a column and all the publicity a standard-issue narcissist could want.
But he's not standard-issue.
So he wanted more, and he turned up at Tory grassroots meetings to spin more bullshit, get more applause. His xenophobic bullshit delighted retired stockbrokers from Maidenhead, and sold more Telegraphs, which gave Johnson more power… a feedback loop developed.
He egged on the more xenophobically obsessive elements in the Tory party, and their passions drove him further up the chain of command.
At no point did anybody point out all of this was all built on bullshit. The obsessives became more obsessed, and Johnson entered parliament.
Once there, he was bored again, this time by detail and committees, the grind of political life, the mess, having to listen to other people.
So he defaulted to bullshitting, telling MPs he had simple answers, requiring none of this fiddly compromise. And they believed him.
(Or, worse than believing him, they knew he was talking bollocks, but were happy to jump on the bullshit wagon to Downing St).
He knew the BBC wouldn't call out his bullshit: their "balance" rules were designed to be overwhelmed by a flagrant, amoral bullshitter.
He knew client media wouldn’t call him out. And he didn’t care if The Guardian did, because none of the people he wanted to vote for him (Tory members and low-information voters with little interest in real politics) read it anyway.
So he got a free pass at every stage.
Every step of the way, Boris Johnson has been a bullshitter, and newspapers, BBC, party members and Tory MPs have enabled him.
They can all throw their hands up now, and proclaim their disgust.
But he is not an aberration. He is a culmination.