Boris Johnson and Ceylon Tea: One Force in His Victory

Michael Roberts

Several discerning reports have been presented to indicate HOW and WHY Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party secured such an overwhelming victory at the recent General Election. It appears that the campaign director, a Jewish Australian named Isaac Levido, was a central figure behind the Tory campaign.

It is widely agreed that the British voters opted for the party committed to Brexit: thus, the vote could be interpreted as an expression of Britishness and the people’s revolt against the looming figure of Europe next door. Again,  it is said that the Tory Party’s commitment to radical reform in the NHS system attracted voters; while the recent Islamic terror attack at Fishmonger’s Hall and London Bridge provided further incentives towards a vote in favour of Tory candidates. So, those were factors Two and Three that weighted the scales towards the Conservative Party.

However, many voters can be guided by several considerations — including little idiosyncratic facets of life. Two facets of the Boris Johnson campaign trail seem to have generated considerable warmth towards his team and his style.

First, there was his mistress Carrie Symonds and her dog Dilyn. Their support during the campaign and Dilyn’s regular appearances in photo-shoots with Boris went down well with the British public. A lovable pooch warms hearts … or so it seems.

So, too, does tea. The Tory campaign trail showed Boris making tea on several occasions. It was tea bag tea. And good lord, he poured the milk into the tea-cup while the tea bag was still in it. This, said some voters, was not kosher …. sorry that is a Semitic phrase. Correction: the true-blue Brits said: “it is not proper, you know, Jeeves.” But this was a little point of debate that sustained the importance of his act: “Boris drinks tea while up there fighting for his cause.” The protestors were attracted to his affinity with tea. It was, in effect, a radical move away from the Tory’s party’s image of upper-class guzzlers of gin, whisky and Pimms in exclusive clubs. Drinking tea makes one an ordinary bloke.

So very British…..drinking tea.

….. and tea in Britain is Ceylon tea.

To repeat: tea in Britain is synonymous with Ceylon …. so much so that Sri Lankan tea traders still market it as “Ceylon Tea” despite the country’s change of name instituted in 1972.  And if you have had enough of Boris and his quirks and wish to delve into the fascinating tale of the hoary link between “Ceylon’ and “Tea” you can do no better than settling down in a armchair with Richard Simon’s magnum opus Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation (Singapore, Tien Wah Press,  2017  ………………………………………………………….



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One response to “Boris Johnson and Ceylon Tea: One Force in His Victory

  1. Gillian Sathanandan

    Well, that has put me well and truly off my cup of Ceylon Tea this morning!. Thank you Robert for that! Grrrrrrr!

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