Tag Archives: boris johnson

Caroline Pidgeon writes…Boris Johnson: Has the mask slipped?

Boris Johnson seems to be rarely out of the news.

Whether it is his comments about the burka or taking part in a photo opp mocking Theresa May’s running through fields of corn – there seems an insatiable media interest in him.

And if he puts forward a proposal, such as building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, his comments are extensively reported, irrespective of how feasible the policy is.

His treatment by the media is unlike almost any other politician, past or present.

His profile, combined with his immense ambition, has even fed speculation that he will one day be the Prime Minister.

However, could it be the case that his mask has now fallen off?   That perhaps some people are seeing him for what he really is?

That might seem a startling claim but there are some signs that this might be the case.  

Take for example all the media hype about his attendance at the Conservative party conference. 

The reality is that his base within the Conservative party, especially amongst those that know him best (Conservative MPs) is diminishing.

As the respected political commentator Paul Waugh said:

“He just can’t help himself, but can he help his party?

“Boris Johnson’s scripted spontaneity achieved his aim of dominating the headlines for much of the week.  Yet in the process he has alienated many of the key selectorate he needs to win round more than any other: Tory MPs.

“True, he has a small, loyal band that includes newer backbenchers like Ben Bradley and Andrea Jenkyns, plus slightly older hands like Conor Burns. That won’t be enough to get on the ballot paper in any future leadership contest.”

The views of his former boss at the Daily Telegraph are also worth noting:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Boris’s Burka Bashing – Morally Malevolent

A while back my wife decided that she would start to wear the hijab. She never discussed this with me nor did I have any indication she wanted to wear one. She felt that as part of her spiritual journey that she should wear one. I was a bit surprised, but it was her choice. She wore the hijab for about three years and then decided to stop wearing it. Again, she didn’t discuss it with me and made her own choice (this time I was a bit annoyed – as I feared she might have stopped wearing it because of the response she got from the general public or colleagues at work). However, it was more to do with what she felt about her spiritualism than anything else. There are of course people who do require their partners/daughters to wear the hijab or the burka, but in the majority of the cases, it’s a personal choice for those who choose to wear it.

My culture is British, my social reference points are British, and I think in English, but if Pakistan were playing cricket against England, I would support Pakistan (as an English person who lives in Australia would support the English football team if it played against Australia). We live in a free society where we can express our free will as long as it doesn’t impinge on others. I suppose “impinge on others” is the key phrase here, in such instances, I always apply common sense to check my behaviour when considering others. However, for some, there is a robust instinctive intolerance and bigotry that’s devoid of common sense.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 11 Comments

Defence of Johnson amounts to a charter for the oppression of a vulnerable minority

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In defence of Boris Johnson’s remarks about the wearing of the burqa and the niqab, his supporters have replied: “You need to read the full article to see the context”. I have now read Johnson’s full article. That is ten minutes of my life I won’t get back. It is remarkable that he gets paid a King’s ransom for such tosh. More galling, he has been doing it (certainly up to 26th July, three weeks after he resigned from the government) at our expense from 1 Carlton Gardens.

David Yelland, who was Editor of the Sun from 1998 to 2003, has tweeted:


Shrouded amidst a rather generalised and vaguely creepy paeon of praise to Denmark, cloaked in criticism of their Burqa ban, was some very nasty and unnecessary verbiage. I quote here his whole passage with the particularly egregious words in bold, so that I can’t be accused of quoting Johnson out of context:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Boris Johnson, bypassing the social taboos

Normally I would say focus on the policy, not the presenter of the policy, but every rule should have its exceptions, and, in this case, Boris Johnson is very much an exception. His carefully constructed persona enables him to bypass the critical faculties and hit the base instincts that society is created to taboo.

When one thinks of Boris Johnson, it is very easy to think of the irreverent comedy of the Pythons, replacing the ministry of funny walks with the ministry for ruffled hair, or imagining Joe Johnson screaming ‘He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.’. The problem is that Boris knows that and he plays to it. His character is equally well crafted as those created by the Pythons, honed over many years and designed to work on many levels.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 17 Comments

You can tell Boris has been hanging around with Steve Bannon…

So, Boris’s mask slips.

A couple of weeks after it was reported he was hanging around with racist populist Steve Bannon, he comes out with all sorts of racist guff about women wearing burkas and niqabs.

The worst of his comments is this:

If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled – like Jack Straw – to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly.

If an MP can’t talk to a constituent who has come to make representations to them or who has come looking for their help, then, frankly, they should get better social skills.

Bragging about your sense of entitlement is not a good look.

Why is it always women that get this stuff? From “witches” who in the end of the day were just women whose beliefs strayed from the “norm”, to women who wear Islamic dress, we are considered fair game in a way that men aren’t. Why is it ok that Jack Straw and Boris should be able to tell women how to dress? Why can’t they just make up their own minds?

I find it hard to reconcile a world where women who choose to wear a veil are subjugated and women who come under pressure to be thin, cellulite free, perfectly groomed and available for sex at all times aren’t. Just look at any magazine marketed to women and you’ll see what I mean. Yes, progress has been made, but the world, all of it, is still very much run for men by men.

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Cabinet Playing Whiff-Whaff with Theresa May

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians passed on through generations, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

Ministers are under pressure to spell out the type of relationship we should have with the European Union. The crunch summit at Chequers is for the Tories to settle their differences although they are strong views on both sides, this Tory summit is supposed to provide an agreed way forward. Michael Gove has alleged ripped up a document that explained the customs partnership proposed by Number 10. The Defence Secretary has told his department that if he doesn’t get the £20 billion he is asking for he will remove the Prime Minister (PM) as he made her, he can break her. The MoD budget for 2016/17 was £35.3bn, and because of the weak position of the PM we now have the US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, warning us that France would replace the UK as America’s closest ally in Europe if we don’t increase our defence spending. Moreover, then there is Boris with his bog roll comment and even worse his inflammatory private and a rather coarse dismissal of business concerns about Brexit.

The PM is getting bullied. How can we have a deal when groups within Cabinet are pulling in a different direction and believe they will achieve their objectives without any fear of consequence. Power is perceived and not something that’s tangible, a loss of that perception leaves the PM in a very vulnerable position and makes it very difficult for her to pursue an agenda and therefore lead. Talk about being pushed from pillar to post.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Boris “a real embarrassment” says William Wallace

Our Lib Dem Peer and regular LDV contributor William Wallace is an Emeritus Professor in International Relations. He is more qualified than most people to comment on foreign policy. In the Lords debate on the EU Withdrawal on Monday, he was incredibly critical about the Foreign Secretary – and that was before Boris’s bizarre comparison of the congestion charge boundary to the Irish border after Brexit.

Here’s the whole of that speech:

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“A back of a fag packet speech” – Tom Brake on today’s Boris speech

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Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson, Tom Brake has responded pithily to Boris Johnson’s speech on Brexit:

Boris Johnson is completely deluded about Brexit. This speech wasn’t about the most important issue facing our country right now, this was about Boris’ ambitions to become the next Prime Minister, and it probably wasn’t much help on that front either.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

John Stuart Mill would have supported hard Brexit, says Boris

From the Guardian:

The foreign secretary called (the EU) a “teleological construction” that was “ends driven”. He said the founding fathers of the common market decided to create a “new sense of political identity by legal means” – but claimed this went against liberal thinking. “(John Stuart) Mill would say that the national group, the group that most associate with each other, govern each other. But this was a new idea to try to transcend that.”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

LISTEN: to Layla Moran on Any Questions: We have a foreign secretary who is not fit for purpose

Layla Moran took a trip to Kent on Friday night to appear on the Any Questions panel.

She had invited local party members to help her practice earlier in the week.

She answered questions on Michel Barnier’s deadline, whether Boris should be sacked (even asking the question had the audience cheering and Layla’s answer was “yes, yes, yes”), the case of the young boy whose image is on a police database after he was reported for sexting and the idea of safe spaces

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Swinson: No 10 must answer questions over Patel

I have to say, I’m not unhappy to see the back of Priti Patel from Government. I have never forgiven her for caving to pressure and withdrawing funding from an innovative and successful project which changed attitudes and behaviour, protecting girls from harassment and violence.  She can’t protect women and girls from violence, but she’s happy to talk about using our aid budget to help out an occupying army against government policy.

It’s quite astounding that Patel wasn’t sacked when the initial revelations about her behaviour came out at the weekend.

Jo Swinson said that there still questions for No 10 …

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Vince: Boris should call in the Spanish Ambassador over Catalonia

It’s been really upsetting to see the scenes from Catalonia. Ok, so the referendum on independence has been ruled illegal by the constitutional courts, but there are ways of dealing with that in a peaceful manner.

No good can come of the Police’s inflammatory action.

Of course, this all has some resonance to me as a Scot. We, of course, had our own referendum on independence in 2014 after the SNP won a mandate to hold one.

Mike Moore, as Secretary of State for Scotland, acted like a grown up and negotiated with Nicola Sturgeon to produce the Edinburgh Agreement. That was really important because it gave the poll legitimacy. If the SNP had had their way, they’d have set up their own Commission to regulate it. Mike insisted that the Electoral Commission, reporting to the Scottish Parliament, should oversee it. Together, in accordance with both parties’ policies, they agreed that 16 and 17 year olds would be able to vote – something that worked incredibly well.

The outcome was a legal and fair poll which commanded confidence.  Don’t get me wrong, the referendum was one of the most horrible experiences of my life, but it was at least run properly.

Vince Cable has tonight called for Boris Johnson to call in the Spanish Ambassador over the incident;

Police in a democracy should never drag people violently out of polling stations, whatever the arguments for or against holding a referendum. The police response looks to have been brutal and completely disproportionate.

The Foreign Secretary should break off from conspiring against the prime minister and call in the Spanish ambassador to tell him that this is completely unacceptable.

Actually, he could have added in that the EU needs to speak out on this. The internal affairs of Spain are one thing, but when people are being dragged out of polling stations, that does seem to be incompatible with everything the EU stands for.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Why has nobody been held accountable for the Garden Bridge scandal?

Yesterday on LBC, Sadiq Khan acknowledged that the taxpayer is unlikely to see anything for the £50 million which has been spent on the Garden Bridge.

The Daily Express did its best to portray Khan, rather than Boris Johnson, as the guilty party here. Following James O’Brien’s show, they wrote a piece which totally failed to recognize the fact that it was Khan who had been the one who had instigated the enquiry which Margaret Hodge produced. A report which made it clear that no more public money should be invested in this project.

It is clear that there were …

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Vince shines in exchange of barbs with Boris Johnson

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For me, the little exchange of barbs between Vince and Boris Johnson, over the weekend, is an early sign of what a great leader Vince will be for our party.

It was a bit like tennis.

Vince served brilliantly with:

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Is this why there is no rush to make Boris Johnson Prime Minister?

Theresa v Boris: How May became PM is highly recommended viewing. It’s available for the next ten days on BBC iPlayer. Made for BBC2, it is an attractive mix of key player interviews, contemporaneous news footage and dramatised scenes.

Theresa May is played very well indeed by Jacqueline King (who I might gratuitously point out is well known to the legions of Lib Dem Doctor Who fans!) and Boris is captured brilliantly by Will Barton, even though his hair and nose make him look more like Michael Fabricant.

Posted in TV and film | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

A tale of two buses

 

Apparently that bus now looks like this:

 

Which might explain why Boris Johnson got a bit confused yesterday on Peston on Sunday.

Would you like to see him claiming that the Conservative manifesto promises £350m a week for the NHS? Of course you would.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 65 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Government can’t conduct Brexit talks like a hostage negotiation

Tim Farron is getting a lot of visibility on a range of subjects at the moment. In the Guardian he writes about foreign policy in respect of Boris Johnson in an article entitled “Boris Johnson has been humiliated – his circus show isn’t funny any more“:

And this is what Conservative Brexit ministers gloating and briefing against Johnson should realise: just as Johnson was humiliated at the G7, so Britain will be humiliated in Brexit negotiations if ministers go in firing off demands like a hostage negotiation. You simply can’t have a good deal while demanding a hard Brexit, especially if you leave the decisions to Johnson rather than trusting the British people with a say on the final deal, as Liberal Democrats demand.

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Tom Brake challenges May to stick up for Mo Farah and other Muslims

 

The news that everyone’s favourite athlete – Mo Farah – may not be able to return to his family in the US has encapsulated the impact of Trump’s vicious travel ban. He was, of course, born in Somalia, one of the banned countries, although he is a British citizen and does not hold dual nationality. He is currently at a training camp in Ethiopia.

Mo Farah wrote:

I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home.

Now me, and many others like me, are being told that we may not be welcome.

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Boris Johnson’s foolishness and arrogance in purchasing water cannon

This week Sadiq Khan revealed that three redundant water cannon, bought controversially by his predecessor, are to be put up for sale, with the proceeds going towards helping to tackle gang crime.

It is a decision I totally endorse and welcome.

Back in 2014 Boris Johnson decided to purchase three second hand water cannon from Germany.  We now discover that £322,834 of taxpayers’ money has been spent by the Met Police on purchasing these 25 year old vehicles, and then transporting, fitting out and repairing the machines.

The scale of the foolishness, and quite frankly arrogance, in purchasing these water cannon is hard to underestimate.

For a start these water cannon were purchased before authorisation was given for their use by the Home Secretary.  After they had been purchased consideration of permitting authorisation of their use was undertaken by the then Home Secretary.  It was firmly refused.  On this issue Theresa May showed immense thoroughness in carefully examining the merits for and against the adoption of water cannon.  Her statement to the House of Commons on the 15th July 2015 is an example of a Home Secretary acting in a truly professional way.  The Hansard record is well worth a read.

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YEMEN: Boris bleats, Libdems lead

Headline news last week was Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s speech in Rome where he criticised Saudi Arabia for ‘puppeteering and playing proxy wars’, by implication against Iran, and promoting sectarian extremism for political ends across the Middle East. He was immediately slapped down by PM May, who had seemingly instructed him to get even closer to the Saudis for trade purposes in the wake of Brexit.

Emphasising he had the war in Yemen in mind, as well as Syria, Boris then made a further speech in Bahrain on 10th December about the Saudi bombing of civilians in Yemen, and criticising his own government … which allegedly has special forces in Yemen assisting the Saudis, has trainers in Riyadh, and is a major weapons supplier to the Saudi regime.

Boris was expressing widely held views about the Saudis’ war in Yemen … and about their role in creating Islamic State.

A few days earlier in Warsaw, Poland, the Lib Dem delegation was busy in the annual Congress of ALDE. ALDE is the pan-European party of liberals and democrats with seven parties in government currently across the EU. On the agenda in Warsaw was a motion from the UK Lib Dem delegation, on Yemen, which was passed with an overwhelming majority and greeted with loud applause.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Trump and Johnson on the world stage. What could possibly go wrong?

Sometimes I feel like I just want to get a big, soft cushion with Obama’s face on it to hide behind every time the news comes on after 20th January next year.

The US electorate has put a Twitter troll in charge. You would think that the person in the most powerful job in the world would have better things to do than take to social media to respond to every tiny criticism of him. The other day, for example, he said this of his call with Taiwan’s leader:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Boris’s pro-EU article highlights the stupidity of Theresa May’s hard Brexit approach

We’ve known for a while that Boris Johnson wrote two articles for the Telegraph, for and against Brexit, two days before declaring himself as a “leaver”. Only the leave article was published, leaving the remain article under wraps. Via a book and the Sunday Times, the second article has now been revealed.

It contains such corkers from Boris as these:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 36 Comments

Boris is in charge of the country – what could he get up to?

Boris is in charge of the country.

What could he get up?

Posted in Humour | 14 Comments

Boris as Foreign Secretary? That was unexpected…

So, just as Theresa May left Buckingham Palace, I had to leave home to go for a meeting. When I stepped out into an Edinburgh street and checked my phone two hours later, I realised I’d stepped into a parallel universe.  I must have done. I mean, a new Prime Minister known for careful and cautious deliberation appointing a man who had grossly insulted the President of the United States just a few weeks ago as the country’s top diplomat? It’s probably worth reminding ourselves of Boris’s response to President Obama’s “back of the queue” speech.

Johnson, a high-profile figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, wrote about the decision of the Obama administration to remove a bust of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill from the Oval Office.

“Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender,” said Johnson in an article designed to hit back at Obama after the US president waded into the EU referendum debate on Friday.

As it happens, the bust was removed before Obama even took office. Again, like many of the Leave campaign’s claims, only the most casual relationship with the truth.

And then there was the time when he compared the EU to Hitler. 

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Laws: Cameron was frightened of Boris

David-LawsI just happened upon the tail end of Michael Crick’s Channel 4 programme about the relationship between Cameron and Boris. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it. The programme contains an interview with David Laws in which he says that Cameron and Osborne were always very sensitive to what Boris was doing. Asked if he thought Cameron was frightened of Boris, David said “Yes.”

He also savaged the Prime Minister for putting the country through this referendum, taking such a huge gamble with the nation’s future,   purely to try to deal with the age-old split in his party.

Michael Crick wrote about his programme for the Radio Times site:

Some see Johnson’s declaration in favour of Brexit as another calculated move, albeit a huge gamble – one that almost matches Cameron’s big risk in holding the referendum in the first place. The friends and allies of 2005 are now seemingly adversaries to the death, as Cameron increasingly came to fear Johnson as the only man who could really destroy his leadership.

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Under Hitler, Europeans were killing each other; now they are arguing over Eurovision

 

Tim Farron has strongly condemned Boris Johnson’s extraordinary comparison of the EU with Hitler.

Tim said:

Under Hitler, Europeans were killing each other, now they are arguing over Eurovision.

The European Union is what happens when countries seek to learn from the past and work together. Boris Johnson’s latest intervention is what happens when people refuse to learn the lessons of the past and seek to spread discord by inventing conspiracies.

The EU has helped secure peace; Hitler destroyed peace and killed millions of innocent people. It is extraordinary that anyone even needs to point this out to him.

Posted in London | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Farron and Paddy condemn Boris’s Hitler comments

When you fall foul of Godwin’s Law by bringing Hitler into a conversation, you have to expect to be criticised. Boris Johnson isn’t stupid. Far from it. He was trying to get those two words resounding in people’s heads. It doesn’t matter that he refined his comments in the interview. The headlines turbo-boost the poison dripping from the Brexiteers in their highly emotive campaign. They play on people’s fears and suggest that leaving the EU would solve all our problems.

Both Tim Farron and Paddy Ashdown have been quick to resoundingly condemn Boris’s comments. Tim said:

Under Hitler, Europeans were killing each other, now they are arguing over Eurovision.

The European Union is what happens when countries seek to learn from the past and work together. Boris Johnson’s latest intervention is what happens when people refuse to learn the lessons of the past and seek to spread discord by inventing conspiracies.

The EU has helped secure peace; Hitler destroyed peace and killed millions of innocent people. It is extraordinary that anyone even needs to point this out to him.

While Paddy tweeted:

They are right, but we need more proactive, positive commentary from them too:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

Could Trumpland reach Britain?

We all hope that Donald Trump will not be the next US President; even if he wins the Republican nomination, it’s unlikely that he will win over a majority of states and voters. But his astonishing success so far, in mobilising the embittered, marginalised and nostalgic, all those who feel they have lost out through rapid economic and social change, has lessons for British politics.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

Tim Farron: ‘Boris has had more positions on Europe than the Kama Sutra’

Commenting on Boris Johnson’s announcement that he will campaign for a “leave” vote in the EU referendum, Tim Farron said:

This is a deeply cynical move from a deeply ambitious politician who is using an in-out referendum as a back door to Number 10. It is a selfish move to put personal ambition before the jobs, security and prosperity of every Londoner.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 68 Comments

2016 prediction: Miriam for LibDem leader

MiriamOK. An apology for bare-faced clickbait, as well as a whole slew of excuses for actually, physically, buying the Daily Mail, are necessary:

  1. I couldn’t find a copy of i or The Times at Nero’s, so I was reduced to reading their free copy of the Daily Mail in a sort of post-modern ironist sort of way.
  2. I saw this “story” and thought it would provide an innocent scintilla of amusement for an otherwise bored LDV reader.
  3. In an attempt at mobile-detox, I had left my mobile at home. I therefore didn’t have a camera to take a pic of the page (right).
  4. I guessed (wrongly) that this story wouldn’t be available online but, anyway, guessed (rightly) that the printed page would “big up” this story more than the online version.
  5. I think this is the first Daily Mail I have bought for several years.
  6. I was otherwise bored.
  7. I was only following orders.
Posted in Humour | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments
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