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Boris Johnson—most vicious of Tory clowns

This article is over 4 years, 5 months old
The heir apparent of the Tory party has a carefully constructed image as the posho you love to hate. Simon Basketter explains why you should just hate
Issue 2659


The next prime minister? (Pic: UK Mission to the UN New York/Flickr)

The next person to stand in Downing Street explaining the latest Brexit crisis will probably be Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

That is a depressing snapshot of what’s not funny about the implosion of the Tories.

While pulling tropes out the Donald Trump playbook of bigotry, at heart Johnson is a Tory who is in politics for his personal gain and to look after the interests of his posh mates.

His racism is of the new alt right, but also of empire—no dog whistle will remain unblown if it helps him out.

Bullying and brutality aren’t quaint just because the boot ­kicking the poor is made of good quality leather and the owner shouts, “What Ho!”

It is incompetent to buy water cannons that don’t work and can’t be used, as Johnson did as London Mayor. It is a mark of his repressive and reactionary worldview that they were bought at all.

Right wing zealots and journalists get all hot and ­bothered over his vaudeville comedy act. Only the rich will be laughing when Johnson gets the job.


The only policy he has announced in his campaign so far is a massive tax cut for around three million higher earners.

He’ll raise the 40p tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000. Coincidentally, those who will benefit include swathes of those who get votes in the leadership election—Tory party members and MPs.

He announced the move in a column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, for which he is paid £5,288 a week. He’d save £1,058 in income tax just on his own column that announced the cut.

As for what kind of domestic policies he’ll pursue, Johnson recently said police spending on child sex abuse investigations was money “spaffed up a wall”.

That let us know that abuse victims, like asylum seekers, immigrants, the disabled, homeless and welfare claimants, are just a drain on the rich man’s taxes.

He plays the anti-elite card, yet was spotted with champagne flute in hand at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s £6 million townhouse hours after defeating his own party in a parliamentary vote.

Last week he defended likening Muslim women in burkas to bank robbers. He has previously called Africans “piccaninnies” with “water melon smiles”.


He’s attacked the idea of climate change and the minimum wage, and once promised to give convicted fraudsters the address of a journalist so he could be beaten up.

He called Labour’s repeal of the anti-LGBT+ Section 28 “appalling”.

Whether it is taking business friends’ jets to go to lobbying ­meetings with the bigots of the DUP or wasting millions on vanity projects such as the garden bridge, nothing dents Johnson’s sense of entitlement.

He has the backing of Trump and the Murdoch press.

Finally, according to Johnson, poor people—or as he described them in 2013, the “bottom ­cornflakes”—are poor because they are stupid.

He says that “some measure of inequality is essential” because it’s great for the economy.

Sometimes clowns are scary.

Sordid story behind bigot’s rise through the ranks

After tough early years of privilege Johnson ended up at Eton.

He “embraced wholeheartedly” the weird enforced behaviours of those bred to rule.

At Oxford he became president of the union after transforming his political opinions twice to get elected.

He was an enthusiastic member of the odious restaurant-trashing Bullingdon club. He still greets the former members of his well dressed yobbo club by shouting, “Buller, buller, bulller!” at every opportunity.

After college Johnson lasted a week in a merchant bank before falling back on what passes for journalism among people of his class.

“Family connections” landed Johnson his first job in journalism—writing for the Times newspaper in 1987. He was sacked after inventing a quote from his own godfather.

The fraudster Conrad Black then sent Johnson to Brussels to mock the European Union (EU) for the Telegraph. He made up stories—such as that EU president Jacques Delors was going to have himself declared Emperor.

Johnson said his job was to “create a new reality”.

His journalism at this point was of a type—sexist. So for instance a party conference meant, “Time and again the ‘Tottymeter’ has gone off as a young woman delegate mounts the rostrum.” Sexism he is sure of, Brexit less so. Prior to announcing where he stood on Brexit during the referendum he had two newspaper columns written—one against it, the other for it.

He only sided with Leave after calculating it was best for his leadership credentials.

While foreign secretary he made a joke about “dead bodies” in Libya.

And after the Grenfell Tower blaze, footage surfaced of him as mayor telling a politician who challenged the wisdom of his hundreds of millions of fire service cuts to “get stuffed”.

The things said about Johnson

‘I think he’s got what it takes. He’d make a great Prime Minister’

Donald Trump gives Johnson the presidential seal of approval

‘A man who waits to see which way the crowd is running, then dashes in front and says ‘follow me’

Tory Michael Heseltine gives his opinion of Boris as the great pretender

‘It’s the casual dishonesty, the cruelty, the betrayal and, beneath the betrayal, the emptiness of real ambition’

Tory MP Matthew Paris is, for some reason, perplexed by Johnson’s lack of integrity

The things Johnson says

‘Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism. The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.

Johnson writes in the right wing rag The Spectator in 2002

Johnson said Liverpool was ‘wallowing’ in ‘victim status’ after the Hillsborough disaster

Again in The Spectator magazine in 2004


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