Monday 17 June 2019

Borisophobia and a debate that should not have happened

"Think of it as Westminster’s answer to the World Cup third-place play-off." (Charlie Cooper in Politico)
The mainstream media is in steep decline in many ways, thanks to the internet which provides a sort of free speech and makes publishing virtually free. This is a good thing, obviously. On the other hand, the legacy media's power to coerce people was never greater. In Britain at least.

I was angered by the way in which the BBC, Sky News and the papers have criticised and ridiculed Boris Johnson for not taking part in the debate on (the notoriously left-wing) Channel Four yesterday.

Channel 4 left an empty lectern in the middle of the stage, which is not really the way an impartial publicly funded channel should behave. But the media has a tremendous feeling of entitlement.

I completely agree, for once, with James Cleverley, the Conservative Party Chairman and himself a candidate who stood down, who tweeted

This #C4Debate is geared up to encourage @Conservatives leadership candidates to knock chunks out of each other. That’s not how this campaign should be conducted.
It’s probably good for Channel 4’s viewing figures but I’m astonished that so many candidates are playing along.
Why were they debating in public when it is MPs who decide the shortlist of two who are voted on by members? And why did they attack each other and Boris?

“Whichever one of us becomes prime minister — and I hope it's one of us who becomes prime minister..." 
said Rory Stewart in a rehearsed remark. His charm has worn off.

In fact why do they not all step down and let Boris become Prime Minister and get on with Brexit? 

He will almost inevitably win and is the only one of the candidates that Labour (and Nigel Farage) fear.

The papers discuss today which of the candidates who will almost certainly lose won the debate. I only saw clips. I went to Channel 4 Live on the net and found: 
New: Orangutan Jungle School
which disappointingly was about wildlife.

Channel Four and most London journalists hate Boris, Brexit and the Tories. One Channel Four journalist asked two lesbians, who had been beaten up on the tube by drug takers, how they felt about Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister

"In the past he made some homophobic comments and called gay people bum boys, along with comparing gay marriage to bestiality."

This is a reference to a remark he made years ago. 

"I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.”

I doubt either of them knew previously of Boris but one replied:

"I do not think that Boris Johnson is fit to lead anything much less the United Kingdom".
This became a headline.

The candidates have been asked about their non-Brexit priorities. Each answered with a proposal to spend money rather than cut taxes and thus state power. At least, none mentioned climate change.

Sajid David talked about overcoming the problem of racism, despite being a Pakistani bus conductor's son who made a mint in the City and became a Tory Home Secretary.

An interview by Andrew Neil would be much more useful than a debate. Even Andrew Marr, a much less talented interviewer, made Rory Stewart look very stupid (not hard) for hoping to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement while promising not to leave without a deal.

He is backed by Theresa May, unsurprisingly.

I'd admire him if he presented a new idea (like the Norway option with a hard border in Ireland and staying in the Single Market, just as an example). Instead his only idea is Theresa May's defeated plan. He is not the change candidate but the reverse.

Michael Gove said, 

“the best Brexit deal will be one that spreads wealth around the country more equally”. 
I wonder why spreading money equally around the country is a conservative thing to do or even a liberal one. 
"Let money fructify in the pockets of the people" 
was Gladstone's policy. Small chance of that from modern conservatives or liberals. 

In any case I wonder how much money will there will be to spend after Brexit, if it happens.


  1. After ten years of austerity, not much.

    1. THE independent Office for Budget Responsibility
      A brief guide to the public finances

      Since 1970/71, the government has had a surplus in only six years.
      The annual average budget deficit has been 3.3% of national income since 1970.
      Large budget deficits occurred in the mid-1970s and early 1990s and more recently after the financial crisis. Borrowing peaked at £153 billion (9.9% of national income) in 2009/10.
      The big increase in the budget deficit from 2008 onwards was caused by both an increase in government spending and a fall in government revenue.

      Public spending increased from 39% of national income in 2007/08 to 45% in 2009/10.

      Debt peaked in 2016-17 at 85.1 per cent of national income – the highest ratio since the early 1960s. (Net debt was less than 40 per cent of national income prior to the financial crisis.) In 2019-20, we expect debt to be equivalent to 82.2 per cent of national income – which is around £1,840 billion or £64,000 per household.

      Over the next five years, we expect public spending to rise by 18 per cent in cash terms.
      We expect AME (‘Annually Managed Expenditure’) to rise by 12 per cent.
      The Government’s multi-year spending plans mean that RDEL (‘Resource Departmental Expenditure Limits’) will rise by 21 per cent in cash terms by 2023-24.

      What austerity are you referring to, Carolino?

  2. Didn't austerity save the country money? Though some tell me there never was any austerity.

    Henry Zeffman in the Times says

    “Mrs. May’s deal has been rejected, the EU insists that it will not time-limit the backstop, the House of Commons is determined to block no deal. All of which suggests that a general election before 2022 is highly likely. And that means the winner of last night’s debate was not Mr. Johnson but Mr. Corbyn.”

  3. I don't understand the enthusiasm for Boris Johnson.

    To me it is obvious he is unwise, untruthful and lazy. He has no ambition to improve the country or society but only cares about his own advancedment. It is clear he will be a bad prime minister.

    So why are so many intelligent people keen supporters?

    1. We need someone who campaigned for Brexit and who can argue that it will be a good thing. That means of the candidates Boris Mr Raab and Mr Gove. Mr Gove is very substantial and I wish he had been Prime Minister in 2016. He would have saved us from Mrs May - possibly from Olly Robbins, who knows? His problem is that he stayed in the cabinet which brought the WAB before the House.

      I have many reservations about Boris and the biggest is that he too agreed to Mrs May's Chequers plan - he only resigned after David Davis did and probably would not have resigned had DD not done so.

      I agree with what you said on Twitter that Boris is an adulterer and told lies as a journalist. I feel that this is his moment, though. His job now is to hear God's footsteps marching through history, and to try and catch on to His coattails as He marches past.

      After three years of Mrs May we badly need someone eloquent and clever.

      The country needs to be saved from the Communists and only the Tory party, blowsy whore though it is in Alan Clark's phrase, can do this. Boris is the Tory leader Corbyn fears.

      Mr Raab is a Thatcherite and a Leaver. I like him for saying he is not a feminist but he did not have what it takes. He just didn’t. Mr Hunt and Mr Javid are useless.

      Why is this election not over in 14 days? Meanwhile Mrs May plunders the Treasury to pay for expensive white elephants and the October 31 deadline races towards us.

    2. He’s louche, unreliable, unprincipled and dubiously moral – but he’s all we’ve got. Johnson can match Corbyn demagoguery for demagoguery, except his will be cleverer, more erudite and better delivered. Moreover, he has twice defeated Labour in its own backyard, London.
      A Boot

    3. I like Alexander Boot a lot and once heard him speak - he and I regard the American revolution as the source of so much evil today.

    4. “Did not the American Revolution produce the French Revolution? And did not the French Revolution produce all the calamities and desolation of the human race and the whole globe ever since?”

      Truer words have seldom been spoken, and do you wonder who was that inveterate reactionary speaking them? Who was that vermin who dismissed at a stroke the keystone events of our glorious modernity?

      That arch-Tory Dr Johnson who said, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”? No, it was John Adams, America’s second president, writing in 1811, when Adams belatedly realised what he and his friends had perpetrated.