Sunday People

Soiled Boris remains a launder unto himself

- Rachael Bletchly

I went to London’s Tate Britain gallery recently to see the Rossettis exhibition. But the experience was marred by dozens of other visitors pushing in to take snaps of the paintings without pausing to admire them or read the curators’ notes.

Artists like the Rossettis poured their hearts and souls into these works, desperate to capture a moment or emotion for posterity to enrich the human experience.

But people today are so obsessed with chroniclin­g their lives on their mobile phones that they forget to stop and LOOK.

Scrolling through a phone gallery just isn’t the same as standing in a real one with other people, experienci­ng breathtaki­ng beauty.

So well done to English Heritage, who have begun putting up signs at stately homes urging people to put away their mobile phones and experience the visit using their eyes and ears.

It’s a simple idea. But it might just make some phone addicts see sense.

Idon’t suppose Boris Johnson shares my sadness at the decline of Britain’s beautiful launderett­es. Rising energy costs mean these vital facilities are being wiped off the face of the high street – where there are now just 2,000 left, compared with 12,500 in the 1980s.

But our former PM has probably never set foot inside a Washing Well, Tidy Whites or Laundry Lounge.

Because a man with pretension­s of becoming World King would never deign to wash his own novelty boxer shorts or sort his deliberate­ly-odd socks with the hoi polloi.

And as Boris uses crumpled shirts and grubby rugger jerseys as props for his shambolic-genius act, he’s never needed to load a drum, select the right programme and shove his coins in the slot. Although he clearly wouldn’t have any trouble with the spin.

I’ve loved launderett­es since I was a kid. They were warm, steamy, smelled like heaven and had a colour telly showing Crossroads and Coronation Street. And

Nick in ad launderett­e and, right, ex-pm Boris while Mum started the washing and chatted to the regulars, I’d get myself a frothy hot choc from the vending machine, watch the hypnotic swirl of the machines and listen to the buzz and chatter of our town

No wonder launderett­es have become so iconic, featuring in movies, TV shows and commercial­s

They aren’t just wash-oramas. They are community centres where the lonely can go for a cuppa and a chinwag. They are destinatio­ns for ordinary people to discuss their real-life struggles as they watch their washing go round.

And the ideal place for a soiled politician who needs an extra-hot biological wash before making a dazzling comeback.

Because improbable as it seems now, Boris Johnson’s allies reckon he can return from what he has called political assassinat­ion.

This week, we got to see the dirty laundry the former Prime Minister has been so desperate to hide.

The Privileges Committee’s report exposed every nasty stain of the Partygate scandal and his blatant attempts to cover them up.

Just like Nick Kamen in that famous Levi’s ad, he was finally caught with his trousers down.

But despite being exposed as a pantson-fire liar, the shameless sud is continuing to declare that black is white and he’s actually squeaky clean.

All washed up? Don’t bet on it.

The nation’s Mr Whippys are getting cold-shouldered by flakey officials who clearly don’t enjoy a cornet like the rest of us.

Greenwich councillor­s want to ban ice cream vans from 33 streets, claiming they cause pollution and “clutter” views of historic buildings.

Meanwhile, up in Northumber­land, Alan Philipson, 71, is being forced off a pitch he’s worked for 50 years by grasping burghers who’ve brought in competitiv­e tendering,

What’s wrong with these killjoys?

There were 25,000 ice cream vans on our streets in the 1970s but today there are just 1,000.

So why are councillor­s robbing traders of business and denying hard-up families one of the few affordable summer treats left?

Go out and get yourself a 99 this weekend.

Let’s show our Mr Whippys we’re 100% behind them.

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