Tag Archives: boris johnson

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

Embed from Getty Images

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

Embed from Getty Images

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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

Heathrow and Saudi banks – where Boris invests London taxpayers’ millions

Well, well. Boris is against Heathrow expansion, isn’t he? You have to then wonder why his office is investing millions in Heathrow airport. According to the Independent on Sunday, the Mayor’s office invested £3.54 million in the airport just two weeks ago. Liberal Democrat Assembly member Stephen Knight is quoted:

The GLA said that notwithstanding Mr Johnson’s trenchant views on Heathrow, it remained a suitable investment. But critics of the Mayor, who is ultimately responsible for GLA investments, said there was a clash between the mayor’s public position and his officials’ investment decisions.

Mr Knight said: “Only Boris Johnson would not be able to understand the total contradiction between publicly opposing a third Heathrow runway, whilst behind the scenes pouring millions of pounds of London taxpayer’s money into Heathrow bonds, which will help finance such an expansion.”

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Boris’ Israel visit proves he is unsuitable to represent us on the world stage

 

Many can be forgiven for finding Boris Johnson’s manner affable and quite comical. However, his conduct during his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories this week has been no laughing matter. A frontrunner to be our next Prime Minister has clumsily bounced around the region making an offensive remark here and reciting anti-Palestinian propaganda there.

The Mayor of London said:

I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region. is the only place that has, in my view, a pluralist, open society…

…The supporters of this so-called boycott are really just a bunch of corduroy-jacketed academics from lefty, not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a corduroy jacket I hasten to say, but they are by and large lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and I think are highly unlikely to be influential on Britain. And this is a very, very small minority in our country who are calling for this.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

What we can learn from Corbyn and Boris….and Sanders and Trump

We’ve all noticed that Jeremy Corbyn has jumped dramatically from rank outsider to Labour leadership  favourite. An old school leftie, in sandals and a beard (bear with me Liberals, I’m not against sandals and beards!) seems set to tap into a Labour rank and file zeitgeist not many thought was there a few weeks ago. Whilst the Boris star may have been dampened a little with water canon etc since he arrived in Westminster, he still electrifies any campaign he’s involved in.  And a mop-haired loon with a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and a track record of scandalous romantic dalliances, is more of a campaign weapon for the Tories than almost any Saville Row suited safe choice braying about elimination of the fiscal deficit and family values.

Across the pond, maverick Independent Bernie Sanders is giving the establishment candidate for the Democratic nomination a run for her money (yes, a woman can be the safe establishment choice too). On the Republican side “The Donald”, with his mirth-inducing hair piece and boundless self belief in his eccentric world view, is posing a headache for the more mainstream Bush, Cruz etc.

What binds these politicians together apart from the fact that they’re enjoying surprisingly good poll ratings? It’s all about authenticity, stupid. Electorates have switched off from the usual platitudes. They want character. There’s a real yearning for authenticity, for voices and views we can identify with.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 45 Comments

Some thoughts on the tube strike

Just about now, people across London will be thinking about how on earth they are going to get home. The underground system, on which so many rely, is shut down for the day due to a strike. What is the liberal approach to sorting the situation?

I am not often out late partying in London. Just over a year ago, I was down for the fantastic wedding of Ed Fordham and Russell Eagling. I was really shocked that the tube stopped running as early as it did on a Saturday night. I mean, public transport doesn’t usually run 24/7, but this was London, for goodness sake. I had a bit of a panic when I thought I’d missed the last Piccadilly Line train back to my hotel, but, thankfully, one turned up.

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The LDV debate: Should politicians release their tax returns? Part One

The issue of politicians and their tax returns has been in the media once again recently, sparked in part by increased scrutiny of tax avoidance measures. The prime minister has said (via the chancellor) that there are no plans to publish his returns, while the man who would like to be in his shoes, Boris Johnson, said on a trip to the US last week that other UK politicians should follow his lead (and those of their US counterparts) in publishing their returns.

Here. the Voice’s Nick Thornsby and Paul Walter debate the issue. Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nick Thornsby: Like the prime minister, I am “relaxed” at the prospect of him and him alone releasing his tax returns for public consumption. Any individual is welcome to do so. But we know, of course, that this is unlikely to be isolated to the PM himself: the floodgates will be open, and all senior and aspiring politicians will, in time, be forced to release theirs. Hooray, some might think: a victory for transparency. I disagree.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 47 Comments

Edward McMillan-Scott writes…Postscript: The Tory Conference – more Euro-sceptic than ever

Edward McMillan ScottIt was a poignant watching the Tory Conference at Birmingham’s ICC on TV. After all, it was there at our Spring Conference in March 2010 that I became a Liberal Democrat, only to find my new party in coalition with the Tories two months later!

I described that as the happiest day in my political life: ‘the Lib Dems have tamed the Tory extremists’ I wrote as the Coalition Agreement was published, especially on the EU and human rights.

My impression is that the Conservative Party has made absolutely no progress …

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