NEWS AND COMMENT: Personally, I am pleased to be told by the Daily Mail that Boris and Carrie Johnson feature their dog Dilyn on Downing Street’s official Christmas card for the second year in a row in a break from tradition which encourages prime ministers to have a classic family photo showing parents and kids. Prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron set the tradition of using the family photo.
I suppose that the idea of featuring the family dog comes from Carrie who is an animal lover, advocate and campaigner. I suspect that a lot of the animal welfare concerns emanating from the current UK Conservative government originates in Carrie Johnson via Zac Goldsmith, a friend of hers. This is a good thing too in my opinion. It’s nice to have animal welfare on the agenda and pushing its way to the top of the tree so that something happens.
The card’s front cover features an image of their Jack Russell cross playing in the snow in the Downing Street back garden. It’s a good picture by Pippa Fowles who I believe is a professional photographer. Apparently, the reason for featuring the dog rather than their boy is not necessarily to focus on animals, although that may be a side issue, it is to avoid making their first child a public figure according to Boris and Carrie. The news is out that they’ve got a daughter who was born today or yesterday, I forget. How many children does he have now?
The picture of Dilyn was taken last February with snow on the ground. Pippa Fowles is one of three Downing Street photographers. I guess these are three photographers dedicated to providing press photos for the news media. The Daily Mail questions whether using a Downing Street professional photographer to take photographs for the Christmas card is in the words of the newspaper a “vanity project” which was funded by the taxpayer.
That’s a load of nonsense, I think. It’s a good picture. It is time to celebrate Christmas for those who are interested in it and this is a really nice Christmas card featuring a nice dog in a well composed and captured photograph. Let’s enjoy it.
It’s actually time for Boris’s detractors, of which there are many, to stop criticising him for everything he does. Boris does tend to invite criticism because he has a broad-brush approach on policy and he looks as though he’s just walked through a hedge backwards with his haircut and his dishevelled clothes. I think that he does himself a disservice. He is also arguably a little bit too outspoken. He doesn’t behave like a politician which exposes him to criticism. But personally, I’m tired of hearing it. He has done some great things and some stupid things which I’m sure he would freely admit.
However, to criticise him for presenting his dog on the Christmas card rather than his kids is silly and just a bit mean to be honest. Just enjoy the photograph. Pippa Fowles took a good photograph. It’s full of life and fun and Dilyn is a very photogenic dog.