In defense of Boris

Media attacks on Boris Johnson continue. As far as I can tell nothing so far has really stuck, and by now all the ballot papers must have been posted so he is going to be Prime Minister anyway.

I have heard it said that “Boris once had a journalist beaten up”. It turns out that is not the story at all. We can hear some of the phone call. Boris’s version of events is that a friend called who wanted the journalist’s details so that he could have him beaten up, and Boris merely humoured the friend by saying he would find out his address, not knowing the private phone call was being recorded. I have seen plenty of people claiming that Boris did in fact hand over the journalist’s details, but no evidence of such. He once made light of it on Have I Got News for You. There does not seem to be any wrongdoing here.

Online commentary suggests his prank call by Vovan & Lexus made him look foolish and incompetent. Having listened to the entire call, it seems that while he believed the call to be genuine, he shows nothing more than professional courtesy to the callers. He realises something is up towards the end of the call, when he says, “thank-you for that interesting tidbit of information”. This is British for, “you are obviously talking nonsense”. Amusingly enough,

prankster Vladimir Kuznetsov said he and his partner were surprised that Johnson turned out to be “a smart diplomat, an intellectual.”

He added it was “the first time we spoke to someone who is not an idiot.”

So where is the real dirt on Boris? I am surprised by a lot of the objections about him from the left: he is far more liberal than Theresa May. Then again, the furore over his promise to re-examine the sugar tax tells me the left is far more interested in economic authoritarianism than they are personal freedom.

One concern is that he steals a lot of thunder from the Brexit Party, but that he will somehow finesse a not-quite-Brexity-enough Brexit. I do think Nigel Farage will keep him honest on that front, though.

Updated: 15th July 2019 — 1:17 pm


  1. I voted for Mr Johnson – but I will reserve judgement about him till I see what he does.

    There is no need to speculate – we will soon know if M Johnson is any good.

  2. Paul M. “… we will soon know if M Johnson is any good.”

    Let’s hope he does good. For the sake of argument, what happens if (as some predict) he turns out to be as disappointing as Mrs. May? Then what?

    Westminster MPs will be very reluctant to do anything that might trigger an election — because most of them would be worried about losing their seats & sinecures, and would put their narrow personal interests ahead of their duty to constituents & country. (They are politicians, after all). So the UK could be stuck with this hypothetical underperforming Boris for a long time.

    This is why changes in UK governance are so important. The hope of the Great Realignment is that Brexit will lead to governance changes which benefit the people of the UK. But it will take a lot of post-Brexit hard work to make that hope a reality.

  3. “Let’s hope he does good. For the sake of argument, what happens if (as some predict) he turns out to be as disappointing as Mrs. May? Then what?”

    Farage is what then. There will simply be no alternative.

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