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Sunday 16 October 2016

Boris Revelation Misses The Point

Tim Shipman of the Murdoch Sunday Times clearly thought he was on to a winner when he secured the paper’s front page lead today with the headline “Boris: my case for Britain to stay in Europe … Secret article reveals his argument for ‘remain’”. To no surprise at all, Bozza had written a pro-Remain column just two days before declaring he was a committed follower of Vote Leave. And his reasoning was clear.
A total muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

The ST is behind a paywall, but the Guardian has reported the main points of the article (see how that works, Rupe?), that Bozza “said Britain’s continued membership of the EU would be a ‘boon for the world and for Europe’ … Johnson wrote of the EU: ‘This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?’

Bozza’s apologia, given to Sky News, was “it is perfectly true that back in February I was wrestling with it, like I think a lot of people in this country, and I wrote a long piece which came down overwhelmingly in favour of leaving … I then thought I better see if I can make the alternative case for myself so I then wrote a sort of semi-parodic article in the opposite sense, which has mysteriously found its way into the paper this morning”.

Very not convincing at all, especially when put alongside his thought that “I have been thinking: hmmm. I like the sound of freedom; I like the sound of restoring democracy. But what are the downsides - and here we must be honest … There is the worry about Scotland, and the possibility that an English-only ‘leave’ vote could lead to the break-up of the union … There is the Putin factor”. All good reason to vote Remain.
But this still does not explain why Bozza spent so much time apparently wrestling with his conscience before finally coming down on the Leave side of the argument. Shipman has floated a number of possibilities: his book “claims Sir Lynton Crosby told Johnson to support Brexit once Cameron had ignored the election strategist’s advice to delay the referendum”. But Lynt was not the reason Bozza finally jumped.

We can ignore Bozza’s smokescreen “But I set them side by side and it was blindingly obvious what the right thing to do was, and I think the people made the right decision, they voted very substantially to leave the European Union, that is what we’re going to do and we’re going to make a great success of it”, especially as he and his pals have no idea how they are going to proceed, and the currency markets have rumbled them.

Also easily dismissed is the claim “Johnson ‘wanted to punch’ his Brexit ally Michael Gove after the former justice secretary announced his own bid to become prime minister”. “Oiky” Gove did what he did because he had discovered why Bozza had backed Vote Leave, and that a Johnson premiership was as a result out of the question.

So we come back to the $64K question: what was the leverage imposed on Bozza to make him join Vote Leave, and who performed the imposition? If the gory detail has reached Zelo Street, someone in the press will have chapter and verse.

Shipman has opened the door a little, but not nearly enough. There is much more to come.


Fr Dermot said...

'If the gory detail has reached Zelo Street, someone in the press will have chapter and verse'.

You little tease, Tim! Come on, you can tell us. We won't say it was you. Honest.

SimonB said...

You do this too often, and we still await the revelations.

In this case it was clear from the start: Boris gambled, just like Cameron. In his case it was not to keep the party together but to set himself up as Cameron's successor. No more than, as you put it so well, benefits for himself personally now. That's why he looked so utterly crestfallen when he actually won and had to face dealing with the consequences.

This new stuff is all about creating a new legend and the media will lap it up. We must not be so easily led.

Waffle garb said...

SiminB has it right. Johnson was out for himself alone. So in making his decision he had no choice: if he supported Cameron on the referendum, and the result was Remain, he'd have been in a poor position to challenge him for leader. If Leave, then he'd have lost all credibility. Whereas if he challenged Cameron on the referendum and the result was Remain, then he'd be seen as the plucky outsider fighting for his principles and would get to fight again another day. And with a Leave - well, here we are.

Yes, this is simplistic analysis, but Johnson only does simplistic thinking dressed up in erudite waffle garb.

"Semi-parodic", my arse.

Andy McDonald said...

Boris Johnson is, to paraphrase Peter Hitchens, a stupid person's idea of an intelligent person. Slightly expanded vocabulary, slightly eccentric mannerisms, slightly unkempt appearance. He's just a posh, right wing Russell Brand.

Unknown said...

Why is it acceptable that Johnson was paid 275000 pa by the Telegraph when he was Mayor of London and an MP? why is it acceptable that Gove is paid a handsome salary by Murdoch's Times when he is an MP and that his wife is paid by the Mail? Borroso, a retired Commissioner, is under fire for taking a job after retirement. EU civil servants are debarred from taking paid employment or accepting gifts or money when they are in the public employee. What makes Johnson and Gove so special? Is this right? Does nobody care?