Those who thought that his defeat by the Supreme Court might cause alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to stop, think and adopt a more measured and conciliatory tone found that thought sadly misplaced yesterday evening, as Bozo The Clown, blatantly adopting the Steve Bannon playbook as amended by chief polecat Dominic Cummings, came out not merely fighting, but boorish and abusive with it.
Cheered on by a front bench team who clearly share Bozo’s complete lack of shame, the man who would be World King refused to take one shred of blame for the mess in which he, and he alone, had dropped UK politics. Instead, he blamed the Supreme Court for doing its job, and Jeremy Corbyn for doing his, all the while casually dispensing pejorative language like “Surrender Bill” and “Betrayal” as he went.
And it was this excessive use of such language that caused such clear distress among female MP after female MP after female MP. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson had seen death threats aimed at her family. Jess Phillips had too, telling “This week I received an anonymous letter to my constituency office here is what it said”. Another death threat.
Paula Sherriff, who represents Dewsbury, told the Commons “We must moderate our language and it has to come from the Prime Minister first”. Bozo doubled down: “I have to say, Mr Speaker, I have never heard such humbug in all my life”. That was in response to the MP whose constituency adjoins that Jo Cox used to represent. Before her murder.
The dismay and disbelief was echoed across the political spectrum, with Marine Hyde of the Guardian striking a rare serious note with “Woman after woman after woman after woman has had to stand up tonight and plead with Boris Johnson to moderate his language for their own safety, and he just doubles down every time. What an absolutely hollowed-our human. Narcissism has taken it all”. And there was more.
Isabel Hardman - not a raging leftie - responded “Genuinely quite shocked by Boris Johnson describing as 'humbug' Paula Sheriff's complaint about his language in which she talked about Jo Cox and said that she and other colleagues had received death threats”.
Bridget Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South, added “I can barely find the words to express my revulsion at Johnson’s behaviour tonight. Not a hint of humility, no contrition, no apology. Johnson debases our politics, stokes division & undermines our democracy”. And he does so deliberately.
Pippa Crerar - formerly Evening Standard editor - was unimpressed. “Absolutely unbelievable. Boris Johnson just told [Tracy Brabin] - who politely urged him to moderate his language - that the best way to ‘honour the memory’ of Jo Cox was to get Brexit done. Shameless”. Jo Cox was an ardent Remain supporter.
Meanwhile, Andrea Leadsom, Sajid Javid, Jacob Rees Mogg and Priti Patel sat there and joined in with Bozo’s bluster. Bernard Jenkin went on Newsnight and told Emily Maitlis how Bozo had been under terrible strain, you know. The other panel members were aghast at his shameless behaviour, delivered with serious demeanour and a straight face.
Columnist Kirsty Strickland had seen enough. “A thug like Johnson shouldn't even be speaking her [Jo Cox’s] name. Children have lost their mum, and Boris Johnson ramps up the rhetoric that led to her murder, disrespects the people that knew and loved her, and then tries to use her death to make a political point. An absolute disgrace”.
Worse, if this language carries on, and is not only tolerated, but cheered on, by the Tory front bench, we won’t get Brexit done. We’ll get another Jo Cox. And that’s why all those baying Tories, and their pals in the press still prepared to back Bozo, need to stop and think, although they are not big enough, or sensible enough, to do so.
Tolerating a Prime Minister who is shamelessly and blatantly trying to echo Donald Trump in his ability to cause offence and dispense inflammatory language will lead, with the grim certainty of night following day, to a body count. Someone is going to get killed.
And that is not a price anyone should be prepared to pay to keep Bozo in a job.
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