Tokyo 2020 helpers, Aston Martin potholes and Boris Johnson’s number 10 dream

Planet Business: A brief history of failing upwards, Westminster style

 

Image of the week: Circus horror

The blazing sunshine of London put on a shocker this week as Boris Johnson, erstwhile zipline enthusiast, was somehow given the keys to number 10 Downing Street. Here, an anti-Brexit protester near the Houses of Parliament wears a comic face mask in homage to the man dubbed the “clown prince” of British politics – though actual clowns have started to complain about the offending comparison. The horn-like bananas are, of course, tribute to the bendy banana “euromyth” that Johnson propagated in the days when he was sowing the seeds of public euroscepticism in his capacity as a Brussels-based correspondent (see below for more on his chequered media employment history). Meanwhile, on Downing Street, Larry the Cat is said to be on the verge of quitting. He only needs to hear the phrase “deliver Brexit” one more time, and he’s off.

In numbers: Licence to plunge

24

Percentage fall in the share price of Aston Martin, James Bond’s favourite car marque, on Wednesday after the luxury carmaker cut its sales forecast over worsening consumer sentiment, Brexit and other bumps in the road.

€45 million

The British company said it was slashing up to £40 million from its previous investment plans as a result of the poorer outlook in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

58

Percentage plummet in Aston Martin’s share price since the company’s initial public offer (IPO) in October 2018. Shaky, not stirring.

The list: Boris Johnson’s jobs

He’s been mayor of London and foreign secretary before becoming prime minister of the UK. But which lucky employers have been treated to Johnson’s self-proclaimed “energy” and “can-do spirit” over the course of his Eton-boosted career.

1. LEK Consulting. After graduating from Oxford, Johnson got a job at this international management consultancy in 1987, but he resigned after a week. Maybe his tenure as PM will be similarly brief?

2. The Times. Consulting’s gain was journalism’s loss as Johnson went to work for the then broadsheet. He came a cropper when he was caught falsifying a quote from his own godfather.

3. The Daily Telegraph. Failing upwards to the Telegraph, Johnson was appointed to its bureau in Brussels, where he spent five years experimenting with the reporting genre now known as “fake news”.

4. The Spectator. After an award-winning spell as a columnist for the Telegraph, Johnson migrated to the Spectator magazine, and later became its editor, displaying a penchant for bad political predictions.

5. GQ. In 1999, Johnson also put his name to column about new cars in men’s magazine GQ – or as the motoring site Carkeys.co.uk has it, “Boris Johnson was once the world’s worst car journalist.” The available evidence is persuasive.

Getting to know: Miraitowa

Humanity hasn’t been too impressive lately, so it seems as good a time as any to make the acquaintance of Miraitowa, a robot mascot that viewers of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will see hanging around Japan’s sporting venues exactly one year from now, alongside Paralympic Games counterpart Someity. The Toyota Motor Corp robots, equipped with facial recognition technology, will be programmed to switch from a happy expression when ticket-holders interact with them to sad when they move along. The games will also be staffed by the less cutesy Field Support Robot, which will literally do all the heavy lifting – transporting javelins and shot puts around the stadium. But Miraitowa and friends still have some work to do to beat the best athletics mascot in the business, Germany’s Berlino bear.

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