Tuesday 17 September 2019

Luxembourg Prime Minister shows his contempt for ours

I almost never despise anyone but I despise Theresa May, for so many reasons. The least of those is that, instead of broadcasting to the nation from her desk at 10 Downing St as Prime Ministers used to do (think Chamberlain in 1939 or, on TV, Eden in 1956), she chose to stand outside in front of journalists and then answer their questions.

Press conferences are an American custom and work over there. Like grey squirrels, and many other things, they should not be imported into England. They are not needed in a parliamentary system. They take power from the House of Commons and from the Government and give it to unelected pressmen and women. The press are not simply craftsmen doing their best to get the story. They write the story to suit their own ends.

This is why I regret that David Cameron took part in a debate on TV in the 2015 election and was very sorry that Boris took part in televised debates in the leadership contest. He has now received his come-uppance in the extraordinary rudeness he received form the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Yes puny Luxembourg, which Englishmen died to free from Germany in the war.

Boris foolishly agreed to give a joint conference with the Luxembourg PM. A noisy crowd assembled to jeer at him made up of English Remainers living in Luxembourg but organised
and led, curiously, by a Canadian opera singer. Boris asked to have the conference held indoors. 

Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC reckoned the press conference outdoors “would have been total pandemonium if it had gone ahead.” The Luxembourg PM however refused to move it indoors and addressed journalists alone.

That was fine but he did so with an empty chair for Boris which is not fine and then proceeded to make a mockery of his absent guest.

“I asked also Mr Johnson: I read in the papers a few days ago that it goes from ‘big progress’, to Hulk, to David Cameron proposing a second Brexit [referendum]. And Mr Johnson said there won’t be a second referendum, because I asked him: wouldn’t that be a solution to get out of the situation?”

The Daily Telegraph has a banner headline which gets it right: “Luxembourg laughs in Johnson’s face.” The Times says the PM was “ambushed,” the Sun says it was a “feeble stunt,” and the Daily Mail calls it “Le Stitch Up.” “No wonder Britain voted to quit the EU,” is the Express headline. Remain supporting Guardian has:

Boris Johnson humiliated by Luxembourg PM at 'empty chair' press conference

Xavier Bettel gesticulates at empty podium as British PM skips press conference amid loud protests

The Independent's pro-EU and Remain sympathies are not hidden. They rejoice in the Prime Minister's treatment.

Boris Johnson ‘chickens’ out of own press conference amid noisy protests, leaving empty podium next to Luxembourg’s PM


  1. This is why I regret that David Cameron took part in a debate on TV in the 2015 election and was very sorry that Boris took part in televised debates in the leadership contest.

    It looks to me like Boris Johnson is going to transform British politics into a carbon copy of the American political system. That's probably what I dislike most about Johnson - there's something very anti-British about him.

  2. All that Hulk tough talk and Boris the limelight addict had to hide from a few Luxembourgers? The host was certainly rude, but Boris showed little fortitude.

    1. The PM should not appear at press conferences. He is First Lord of Her Britannic Majesty's Treasury and it is beneath his dignity to speak to journalists.