What Boris Johnson and Elon Musk Have in Common

Lockdown has taught me a lot about the effects of poverty. It’s worrying to see your career disappear, I’ll miss it, but I realise I was lucky before. Real poverty costs lives. The Office for National Statistics found that if you are more well off you stand a better chance of surviving coronavirus.

The ONS also found that if you are a man you have a worse time with the virus. If you combine those statistics it shows that women must be earning more than men now. That’ll cheer some people up.

The news has also shown that money affects the names you give to your children. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds welcomed their little bundle of joy into the world by naming him Wilfred.

He’ll be known as Willy Johnson, both words with a shared slang meaning. I’d be worried about my child being picked on at school with a name like that.

My working class education taught me that you have to have a solid bully-proof name. If your name rhymes with something rude you’re done for. If it sounds silly, you’ll be taunted by those sounds for years.

My surname is fairly safe but even I was called Fallon because it sounded a bit like a character in Dynasty.

Posh people don’t have that worry. Boris knows he is rich and influential so giving his child a name that’s up there with Richard Member is fine. No one will dare to tease his little Willy.

Extreme wealth makes this effect worse. Billionaire Elon Musk has named his new baby “X Æ A-12”. I’m being serious. He’s had a child with singer Grimes and they have named that baby something that looks like Teletext when you had bad reception.

If I named a child X Æ A-12 Allen it would be bullied everyday. It would known as Typo for short. The big boys at school would give it a wedgie as they shout, “Is that a name or a Battleships move?”

In theory X Æ A-12 Musk should be bullied more because that surname make it sound like a sex pheromone you can buy online. A billionaire as a dad makes all of that go away.

Strange names are the domain of the rich, successful and powerful. And thanks to the lockdown I’ve ended up with the career that fits being called Steve.

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