Did Boris Johnson Ramble About Model Buses to Manipulate Google's Search Results?

By Matt Novak on at

Boris Johnson might soon become the Prime Minister after Theresa May stepped down in disgrace following her failed attempts to exit the European Union. And that means Johnson has been giving lots of interviews lately, including one with TalkRadio, where Johnson rambled on about how he enjoys making model buses. It was.... weird.

The interview didn’t make much sense at all, but there might be a rational explanation for Johnson’s bizarre interview. Some people believe he may have been trying to game Google’s search results.

In the interview clip, which you really should watch for yourself, the interviewer asks, “What do you do to relax? What do you do to switch off?”

Johnson hesitates for a moment before saying, “I like to... paint. I make things.”

“What do you make?” the interviewer asks.

“I make [...] I make buses,” Johnson says as the interviewer gives the politician a perplexed look.

It only gets weirder from there. No one in the political media establishment was quite sure what Johnson was talking about and he seemed to be making it up as he went along. Why would Johnson ramble about making models of buses?

Boris Johnson during the Vote Leave, Brexit Battle Bus tour on May 17, 20016 in Stafford, England. Photo: Getty Images

One of Johnson’s most infamous political errors, if you can call it that, was enlisting a bus that travelled around Britain during the lead up to the Brexit referendum in 2016. The side of the bus was adorned with text that claimed the UK government paid £350 million per week to the European Union and that after leaving the EU the country would be wealthier. “Let’s fund our NHS instead,” the bus said. That claim about how much money the UK sent to the EU wasn’t true, and people have reminded Johnson of his bullshit bus repeatedly ever since.

Now, there are some online, including internet marketing company Parallax, who believe that Johnson’s strange bus story was an attempt to change the Google search results people receive when they look for something like “Boris Johnson bus.”

As Parallax points out, political news websites wrote quite a few stories about Johnson’s supposed bus-painting hobby. The thing was just too weird to ignore.

And when you look at the search stats for June 20, before Johnson did the interview, the top results were all about Johnson’s Brexit bus. But if you examine the results today, they’re all about his new hobby, especially if you’re searching for videos:

Admittedly, the clip isn’t exactly a positive look for Johnson. Some social media commenters have even said that he appeared drunk, though it’s not clear that he is. But is it better to be known as the weird guy who likes to paint model buses and may have had a few too many beers at lunch? Or is it better to be known as the weird guy who lied to the public about Brexit and will soon be in charge of that entire clusterfuck?

All we know for sure is that Johnson is a weird guy. And if he gamed his Google results, he’s smarter than we thought. If he didn’t, well... he’s still fucking weird. And we hope the UK survives his likely stint as the head of a major country. We definitely don’t need any more weirdos running the world.

Featured image: AP