As the debate and vote on a third runway for London’s Heathrow Airport draws near, the desperation of some politicians - especially the Tories - has reached a new and highly creative phase, one that includes talking well, and lying badly. The issue that has triggered this latest outburst of dishonesty is the behaviour of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who won’t be there.
That’s right: the comedy Foreign Secretary has absented himself from a vote on which his party has placed a three-line whip, in yet another two-fingered gesture to Theresa May’s lack of authority over her own cabinet. Bozza fetched up earlier today in the Afghan capital of Kabul, allegedly for talks with the country’s deputy foreign minister Hekmat Karzai.
In the meantime, Bozza’s unfortunate constituents had to be content with a letter in which he told them “I have long been an opponent of a third runway at Heathrow and that is why I am not voting for it tonight … It is clear from what is likely to be a large majority of MPs who are in favour of a third runway that my resignation would have achieved absolutely nothing”. Even if he had principles, which he doesn’t, it wouldn’t matter. So there.
But who among those Tory MPs left behind in Dear Old Blighty would step up to the plate and defend him? We did not have long to wait in order to find out. The honourable member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg was that man. And as the Tweeter otherwise known as Briefcase Mike observed, he wasn’t about to let mere facts get in his way.
“Rees-Mogg tells #LBC that Johnson doesn't have to honour his pledge to oppose #HeathrowExpansion because he made it as Mayor of London, not as an MP. They teach that kind of Clever Dick bollocks at Eton, don't you know” he told. John Band smelt a rat. “Not even clever dick bollocks, just regular dumb lying: Johnson's pledge to oppose LHR expansion was when he ran for Uxbridge MP in 2015, not in his capacity of London mayor”. In fact, Bozza made the pledge on the night of the by-election - at the count.
And Adam Bienkov of Business Insider had the video of that moment, after Bozza had been proclaimed the victor, when he not only made his pledge, but addressed it to Labour MP John McDonnell, who represents the nearby seat of Hayes and Harlington. “Yes, John, I will join you … I will join you, I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the building … the construction of that third runway”.
Bozza lied. He deliberately took his constituents for mugs with a pledge he had no intention of keeping - like all the other pledges he has made over his political career which he has had no intention of keeping. But we know that he’s a congenital liar. What was not known was just how shamelessly Rees Mogg was prepared to be in excusing him.
Jacob Rees Mogg has lied. He knows he has lied. He has been caught lying. He knows he has been caught lying. The least he could do is to admit it. He will not. Because being Jacob Rees Mogg means never having to say you’re sorry. And that’s not good enough.