'I'd go to a warzone but I’m always in hi-viz': Boris Johnson's excuses for not visiting Kyiv

THREE prime ministers, none of whom are leading-from-the-front Boris Johnson, have met President Zelensky in Kyiv. What’s his excuse?

‘I’m always in hi-viz’

Zelensky’s khaki t-shirts are his trademark; hi-viz and a hard hat are mine. Unfortunately I’m informed by military experts that this would make me ‘a sniper’s dream’ and constitute a major security risk. Reluctantly, I refused to abandon my brand.

‘Four’s a crowd’

Three prime ministers, for example from Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, are great company, as the old Ukrainian saying goes. Four, with the prime minister of the UK, which is technically another four countries anyway, is a crowd. So I couldn’t impose.

‘Zelensky’s very busy’

That guy is jolly busy. He barely has time for a Zoom call, and when he does there’s no small talk and it’s straight to asking for a no-fly zone. Does he really need me to turn that down in person? I let him have the evening to catch up on paperwork instead.

‘It might constitute a party’

I’m not a guy who goes to parties. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that. And consequently I’m very cautious about which invitations I accept. This gathering of national leaders sounds like exactly the kind of occasion where I might be ambushed by cake.

‘It’s a balancing act’

Diplomacy is a delicate business and I’ve pissed off half of London’s billionaires already. It’s going to be a full-time job repairing relations enough to get some cash in the coffers before the general election. If do a photoshoot with Captain Macho, they’re gone.

‘This one’s for Liz’

As foreign secretary, really this is a job for Liz Truss. Dressing up like a soldier and taking a train to a city under siege is so Liz. She loves wearing a helmet and sitting in a tank. You’d think she’d be dying to get out there.

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SPONSORED FEATURE: Come to Saudi Arabia, the nicest country in the world

WITH our modern seaside resorts, glittering shopping malls and firm stance on law and order, a trip to Saudi Arabia will be the holiday of a lifetime. Here’s what to look forward to.

Mass executions

Everyone wants to feel safe on holiday, and our mass executions mean you won’t be menaced by dangerous criminals like political dissidents and members of the wrong Islamic sect. The London Dungeon just can’t compete with our gruesome public beheadings – and they’re free!

Go shopping

Saudi is retail therapy heaven. Pick up designer labels, a couple of Ferraris or a million barrels of oil. That’s what your own loveable PM Boris is here for, so expect an announcement soon saying amputating people’s hands is a jolly good idea, and the Yemenis are bloody well asking for it.

Chill out on the beach 

Saudi has some beautiful beaches, with white sand and the chance to paddle in the Persian Gulf. However women should not wear anything remotely revealing because it arouses sinful urges in Saudi men they can’t control, the poor little lambkins. Of course if you forget on your first trip, don’t worry. A sound beating with a cable by the religious police will act as an excellent aide memoire.  

Explore your spiritual side 

Saudi Arabia is a great place to take a spiritual journey, but only into Sunni Islam. If that’s your thing, there’s a wonderfully strict schedule of prayers five times a day. However Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and in fact everything else is best avoided. Judaism is a definite no-no. 

Try an exotic range of expat moonshine

Nervously relax with a drink in a Western workers’ compound where they brew their own hooch. Just be careful not to get caught or you’re looking at 300 lashes. And hope your host knows what they’re doing and the 98 per cent proof homemade gin doesn’t cause instant cirrhosis and blindness.

Pretend you’re not in a fascist religious dictatorship

Try to ignore the fact that you’re holidaying in a hideous despotic regime. Buy a load more ethnic rugs to blot out your feelings of self-disgust. You’ll soon forget your moral qualms, and you’ll never want to leave. In fact, you may not be allowed to leave when you’re arrested on bogus charges and have to pay a massive bribe.

See you soon!

Sponsored by The Saudi Department of Tourism, Moral Re-education and Killing Apostates.