Month: June 2019

The trouble is, Boris, Plans A, B and C won’t work

The trouble is, Boris, Plans A, B and C won’t work

You know that kid who lied about doing their homework, then instead of apologising, tells the teacher that they never officially set the homework, and that not doing one’s homework is itself educational and looks great on a CV?

That’s the kid who grows up to reassure millions of people they can vote to leave the EU without any financial consequences because we hold all the cards and would get a great deal. That’s the kid who, when the negotiations become an international humiliation, tells those same people they voted to leave the EU without a deal. That’s the kid who tells people he can renegotiate a new deal in a few weeks when the first one took two years.

Make no mistake: Britain is on the cusp of a constitutional crisis of epic proportions

Make no mistake: Britain is on the cusp of a constitutional crisis of epic proportions

MPs will be forced to stop Boris Johnson with all parliamentary tools at their disposal 

As this is an article focussing on Boris Johnson, a man who parted company with honesty some decades ago, let us focus on truth. Specifically, five truths. First, Johnson wants to be prime minister and in four weeks, almost certainly will be. Second, a majority of MPs in the House of Commons do not think he is up to the job. That is, almost all opposition MPs and almost half of all Tory MPs. Third, both Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are advertising their determination to take us out of the EU without any further delay, even if that means a no-deal crash-out. Fourth, a majority of MPs are implacably opposed to no-deal.

Which takes us to our fifth truth: we are either heading for a political crisis in July, or October, or both.

Let’s start from basic principles. The EU will not renegotiate the backstop because it has no incentive to do so. Its leaders would sacrifice their own leverage, shatter their own political cohesion and credibility, throw a small member under the bus to appease a departing one, and strengthen a political opponent who once literally compared them to Hitler. They would be idiotic to back down to the UK now, and they will not. This, then, is the bottom line.

Johnson and Hunt, however, have established their own parallel bottom line: that we must leave without a deal rather than revoke Article 50. Johnson told the BBC on Monday that both Labour and the Conservatives would face “mortal retribution” if we did not leave on 31st October, deal or no-deal. On Tuesday he insisted that no-deal must be “do or die” (likely the latter). Meanwhile, over the weekend, Hunt—let’s remember, the more serious and credible candidate—discussed a factory near Kidderminster which relies on EU trade and would be “wiped out” by no-deal. Without pausing for breath or apparently thought, he then declared that “if that was the only way to deliver Brexit, then I’m afraid we have to do that, because that’s what people have voted for.” Ignore the fact that a majority of voters, who in 2016 were guaranteed increased prosperity and free trade, emphatically did not vote for their fellow citizens to lose their jobs. This is now our political reality, and this is our next prime minister’s starting point.

And so here we are. The EU will not renegotiate the deal. The prime minister will not request a new extension. We therefore revert to the control Brexit intended to take back: the sovereignty of parliament.

Brexit: Johnson says Britain will leave EU on 31 October ‘do or die’

Brexit: Johnson says Britain will leave EU on 31 October ‘do or die’

Boris Johnson has hardened his position on leaving the EU “do or die” by the end of October, as hardline Eurosceptics extended their influence on his faltering campaign to be prime minister.

The frontrunner toughened his Brexit stance as criticism continued over his refusal to answer questions about a police visit to his flat following a loud late-night altercation with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.

In a round of interviews designed to put the focus back on his EU policy and away from his personal life, Johnson appeared to signal there was an increasing prospect of a no-deal Brexit three months after he would take office.

Johnson first doubled down on his commitment to leaving on 31 October in an interview with Talkradio, saying he was in no way reneging on his firm pledge.

“We are getting ready to come out on 31 October. Come what may,” he said. Asked to confirm this, he added: “Do or die. Come what may.”

He then said he would scrap Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and seek a completely new deal before then, as minor changes would not satisfy him.

“I mean more than a change,” he said. “It’s got to be, we need a new withdrawal agreement – if we’re going to go out on the basis of a withdrawal agreement.”

Not only has the EU said it will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, but the timetable would be extremely tight as parliament is in recess over the summer and then sitting for about 10 days before party conference season begins. MPs return midway through October, just a few weeks before the deadline.

Johnson then emphasised his position on leaving by 31 October yet again by writing a letter to Jeremy Hunt, his Tory leadership opponent, challenging him to commit to that date “come what may”.

Hunt replied with a dig that Johnson could find out his policy if he turned up to a Sky News head-to-head debate on Tuesday night that Johnson has refused to attend. “Hi Boris, it’s good to talk. But no need for snail-mail, why not turn up to Sky tonight and I’ll give you full and frank answers?#BoJoNoShow,” he tweeted.

Bumbling Boris Johnson takes to the airwaves to lie, lie and lie again

Bumbling Boris Johnson takes to the airwaves to lie, lie and lie again

You can see why Boris Johnson’s carers have chosen to mothball him in recent weeks. His decline has been almost total. Johnson never did much care for the past or the future. Every day has always been a tabula rasa, one on which he was free to reinvent himself as he pleased without being bound by any commitments he may have made. Now though, he appears to barely have a present. Unable even to maintain the most basic rules of conversation, his words are just a scattergun of free association.

Nick Ferrari began Johnson’s LBC radio interview with a few easy rapid-fire yes and no questions as if to establish a benchmark for the lie detector. It proved hard work as Johnson was such a shambles he could barely even confirm his name. Was he a coward? That should have been a no brainer. That’s the one thing on which everyone – even his friends – agree. Johnson merely looked confused. The silence was interpreted as a yes on the polygraph.

Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
Read more
Having made some kind of progress, Ferrari moved on to the staged photograph of Johnson and Carrie Symonds in a Sussex garden. Did he know who had taken the picture? “Um… er…,” mumbled Boris. There had been so many photos and so little time. Could he even remember when the photo was taken? A look of panic crossed his face. When you’ve told so many lies, there’s always a danger you might accidentally tell the truth.

Look, said Ferrari, the hair’s all wrong in the photo. It’s much longer than it is now. So this picture was taken months ago. You’ve been taking the public for fools. “Um… er… crikey,” Johnson stammered, trying to rediscover the inner clown tribute act which had proved such a winner in the early years of his political career. The thing about his hair … The thing about him was he was so virile – literally overflowing with spunk at times – that his hair grew incredibly fast and he sometimes had to have it cut two or three times a day.

There was no more coherence from Johnson when listeners were invited to have their say. Especially on Brexit. The man Tory MPs have staked their careers on is literally clueless about Brexit. His ignorance near total. First, he would get the EU to admit the withdrawal agreement was nonsense. Then he’d set up some badger border patrols in Northern Ireland. As for the £39bn, he’d treat it with some creative ambiguity. Much like his relationships. A need-to-know basis.

Boris Johnson Accused Of ‘Thermonuclear Hypocrisy’ In Latest Led By Donkeys Billboard

Boris Johnson Accused Of ‘Thermonuclear Hypocrisy’ In Latest Led By Donkeys Billboard

Boris Johnson has been accused of “thermonuclear hypocrisy” in the latest instalment of the Led by Donkeys poster campaign, over comments he made about Gordon Brown in 2007.

A huge billboard in Bolton is highlighting lines from a column the Tory leadership hopeful wrote 12 years ago, in which he raged at how the UK was getting a new PM without the public having a say.

Brown became PM in 2007 after the resignation of Tony Blair. In response, Johnson wrote:

“It’s the arrogance. It’s the contempt. That’s what gets me. It’s Gordon Brown’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people. It’s at moments like this that I think the political world has gone mad, and I am alone in detecting the gigantic fraud.

“They voted for Anthony Charles Lynton Blair to serve as their leader. They were at no stage invited to vote on whether Gordon Brown should be PM… They voted for Tony, and yet they now get Gordon, and a transition about as democratically proper as the transition from Claudius to Nero. It is a scandal. Why are we all conniving in this stitch-up? This is nothing less than a palace coup… with North Korean servility, the Labour Party has handed power over to the brooding Scottish power-maniac.”

Lines from the column now grace two billboards in Bolton with Led by Donkeys asking: “If anyone’s interviewing Boris Johnson today can you ask him about this thermonuclear hypocrisy? Cheers.”

The Secret Barrister dismantles the suggestion that Boris Johnson’s neighbours broke the law

There’s been no shortage of defence for Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson after a disturbing transcriptwas published. It reportedly revealed an incidence of domestic violence towards his girlfriend.

Instead of scrutinising the conduct of our would-be prime minister, some right-wing journalists are targeting Johnson’s neighbours for reporting the incident at all. The Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson has even questioned the legality of them recording the heated row.

However, the author of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, has rubbished these claims. And by doing so, they’ve also highlighted what appears to be legal ignorance among some journalists.

Boris Johnson warns MPs of ‘mortal retribution’ if they block a no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson warns MPs of ‘mortal retribution’ if they block a no-deal Brexit

LONDON — Members of Parliament will face “mortal retribution” from voters if they block a no-deal Brexit on October 31, Boris Johnson has said.

Growing numbers of pro-European Union Conservative MPs, such as former Attorney General Dominic Grieve and former Chancellor Ken Clarke, have said publicly that they would support a vote of no confidence in a Johnson-led government to stop it from pursuing a no-deal Brexit later this year.

Their colleague Tobias Ellwood told the BBC’s “Panorama” program that a “dozen or so” Conservative MPs would bring down the government to prevent a disruptive no-deal scenario.

In an interview with the BBC, however, Johnson — the frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister — said all political parties would face dire consequence if they stopped a Halloween Brexit.

“I think Parliament now understands,” Johnson told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg this week.

“That the British people want us to come out and to honor the mandate that they gave us.

“And I think that MPs on both sides of the House also understand that they will face mortal retribution from the electorate unless we get on and do it.”

Boris Johnson’s biographer: I know too well the fire and fury lurking behind that smile

Boris Johnson’s biographer: I know too well the fire and fury lurking behind that smile

No one who has witnessed Boris’s rage and the way he uses women will be surprised by the explosive row. A personality cult has veiled his true nature, says Sonia Purnell.

Boris Johnson can change from bonhomie to a dark fury in seconds. His normally joky demeanour flashes into a sarcastic snarl, his skin reddens and blotches, his eyes dart into an intense narrow glare and on the worst occasions his lips curl back to reveal wisps of spittle. The all-out favourite to be our next prime minister has the fiercest and most uncontrollable anger I have seen. A terrifying mood change can be triggered instantly by the slightest challenge to his entitlement or self-worth.

I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be British prime minister

I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be British prime minister

The Tory party is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people. He cares for nothing but his own fame and gratification.

Six years ago, the Cambridge historian Christopher Clark published a study of the outbreak of the first World War, titled The Sleepwalkers. Though Clark is a fine scholar, I was unconvinced by his title, which suggested that the great powers stumbled mindlessly to disaster.

On the contrary, the maddest aspect of 1914 was that each belligerent government convinced itself that it was acting rationally.

It would be fanciful to liken the ascent of Boris Johnson to the outbreak of global war, but similar forces are in play. There is room for debate about whether he is a scoundrel or mere rogue, but not much about his moral bankruptcy, rooted in a contempt for truth.

A Johnson premiership will almost certainly reveal a contempt for rules, precedent, order and stability.

What are the questions that could sink Boris Johnson?

What are the questions that could sink Boris Johnson?

This is what a senior member of the cabinet told me this morning about whether Boris Johnson’s prospects of becoming Tory leader and our PM have been seriously harmed by the disclosure that neighbours summoned police to his home after they heard his girlfriend Carrie Symonds shouting at him to “get off me”.

Minister: “It will take a really gross transgression for BJ to deflect the faithful, but it’s not beyond him.”

And another minister said: “I don’t think it [the leadership contest] has changed one inch.”

For the avoidance of doubt, neither minister is invested in a Johnson victory, and one of them would passionately prefer him to lose.

Are you surprised that all the broadcasts and splash headlines about whether Johnson has the “good character to be PM” are seen as just noise, by those at the heart of the country’s ruling party? Do you think they are wrong?