At the end of last night’s BBC-hosted debate on the EU referendum, some of the crowd were moved to give the former occasional Mayor of London, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, a standing ovation. Good old Bozza had roused his part of the audience: he was for them an authentic politician, a man of the people, a credible figure. Well, my friends - to use the Bozza vernacular - I have to tell you that this is plain flat wrong.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
Bozza is not only not a man of the people - he’s just as much a product of privilege as his Tory rival Young Dave - but he has in reality never been, is not now, and never will be a credible proposition as a serious politician. The litany of failure, and charge sheet of rank dishonesty, is so long as to disqualify him from suitability for high office.
He was sacked from The Times for lying. Bozza began his journalistic career there, but was dismissed for “fabricating a quote”. It wasn’t his first detachment from reality.
His career at the Telegraph was built on lying. His missives from Brussels are in significant part at the root of the cynical view many in Britain take on the EU. Martin Fletcher, who went there for the Times not long after Bozza’s Telegraph stint ended, has told that Bozza “seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU, filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue”.
His editor at the Telegraph considers him unfit for high office. Max Hastings wrote recently “I would not take Boris's word about whether it is Monday or Tuesday … He is also a far more ruthless, and frankly nastier, figure than the public appreciates … I would not trust him with my wife nor - from painful experience - my wallet”.
He lied to his own proprietor to become editor of the Spectator. Bozza was offered the editor’s chair at the Speccy by Conrad Black, then owner of both that publication and the Telegraph - on the condition that he abandon any ambition for a career in politics. He agreed, got the job … and then went ahead with the career in politics anyway.
His own party leadership sacked him for lying. Bozza was shadow arts minister when his affair with Petronella Wyatt became public. He denied the affair, describing the claims as “an inverted pyramid of piffle”. After the claims were shown to be free of piffle, Michael Howard sacked him, not for having an affair, but for lying about it.
He repeatedly lied to secure the London Mayoralty. In both the 2008 and 2012 contests, he assured the residents of Crystal Palace they would get their Tramlink extension. After securing election, he promptly abandoned them. He claimed before the 2012 election that there would be no Tube ticket office closures on his watch - then, once in office, closed them all.
He repeatedly lied after becoming Mayor of London. Bozza made claims about “driverless trains” for the Tube, which he did not even progress, let alone implement. He claimed he would “bear down” on fares. They went up. He assured road users the Congestion Charge would not increase. It increased. He claimed the cycle hire scheme would be implemented “at no cost to Londoners”. It’s been heavily subsidised since inception. He ordered removal of “bendy buses” from the streets, telling that they killed cyclists. No cyclist has been killed by one in London.
He lied about London’s pollution. Thousands of Londoners die prematurely every year because of the capital’s deteriorating air quality. Not only did Bozza do nothing about this during his eight years at City Hall, he span the grotesque lie that London’s air was “Alpine”.
He lied about his successor. Bozza was a full participant in the Islamophobic demonisation of Sadiq Khan, for which nobody in the Tory Party has seen fit to apologise. Khan, constantly smeared as either extremist, or “sharing platforms” with extremists, is in fact a ferocious opponent of extremism.
He’s lying about the EU too. Every time Bozza, or one of his pals on the Leave campaign, spins the “£350 million a week” line, they are saying something that is not true.
That is the reality of Boris Johnson. He’s not very nice, you can’t trust him, he can’t keep his trousers zipped up, his journalism is built on deceit, and he’s an ocean going liar.
You wouldn’t trust anyone like that to tell you the time of day. So why trust him on the future of Britain? Remember, there is only one beneficiary of Bozza’s campaigning, and that is, as it always has been, Himself Personally Now.