Why I, A Staunch Opponent of Boris Johnson, Am Wishing Him All The Best
There’s an old saying in politics, when they go low, you go high.
It basically means “be better than your enemies”.
It’s a bit of a cliché but it holds some weight.
These dark times have brought out some of the worst in people.
By “these dark times” I’m not talking about the past month, I’m talking about the past twenty years.
I remember the 11th of September 2001, a date that needs no introduction.
One of the images I remember from that day will live with me forever.
People celebrating. Not celebrating because they were unaware of what was happening, celebrating because they knew exactly what was happening.
They were people somewhere in the Middle East, celebrating people either being blown up, having to choose between jumping out of a 80 storey window or burning to death, or having the building collapse from under or on top of them.
I just couldn’t believe people finding happiness in that.
Then it dawned on me. Either on the day or some time later. The people celebrating perceive, either rightly or wrongly, that we in the west live such free and happy lives from the wealth of our countries that has largely been gained at the expense of them.
Those images shaped me into the person that I am now.
The wealth of the few is rarely gained by anything other than on the misery of the many. If we just had a bit more compassion and shared more of what we had then there’d be enough for everyone.
That day happened two weeks short of my 19th birthday. Looking back at my school days I don’t seem to remember too many times when I encountered islamaphobia. I say “too many times”, I actually don’t think there were any.
Since then hardly a few days go by without hearing about anti-islamic feeling.
A number of terrorist attacks later, two right here in Spain, five(?) in London plus Manchester, even more in France, one in Bali and one in New Zealand, all claimed to be the work of Al Qaeda.
Sadly, the perception by many people that Al Qaeda are representative of Islam as a whole and that means that anti-islamic feeling is not going away any time soon.
The more they attack us, the more we want to attack them.
Even I’m buying into it. There is no “we and them”, only us, all of us, everyone, humanity.
One example this has been particularly horrifying is with the case of Shamima Begum.
If you don’t follow British politics, particularly British foreign affairs, then it’s a name that’ll unlikely mean anything to you.
A number of years ago when she was only 15 she fled her East London home, went to the airport with two of her friends and flew to Turkey.
From there she illegally made her way into Syria where she married an Isis fighter who fathered all three of her now deceased children.
In February last year she turned up in a refugee camp in Turkey, stating that she regrets leaving and would like to come home.
You can imagine the outrage.
People were telling her that “she’d made her bed and now she should lie in it”; basically to deal with the consequences you’ve made for yourself.
There was little sympathy for her. And everyone had an opinion. Politicians were using her as a football to garner support for themselves, celebrities too, some people that have the gall to call themselves journalists without knowing the meaning of the word, everyone had an opinion about Shamima Begum, most of them negative.
From the negatives no-one thought she should have been allowed back home to the UK, everyone just wanted her to burn in hell and they weren’t shy in hiding it.
I’m saying negatives as if there was anyone that saw her in a positive light. I certainly didn’t. She effectively declared war on the UK, okay, none of our troops were fighting but ISIS has claimed responsibility for every single terrorist attack in the UK and on its allies.
I understand how it’s hard to find sympathy for Begum but I think the UK failed her. I also think that the UK owes her a debt. She should be allowed to prove herself as a valued member of society.
Two contradictory statements, eh? That’s nuance for you.
She should be given the chance to face justice and be punished in the UK’s justice system. To refuse her this and strip her of her citizenship robs her of her basic fundamental human right.
In the UK we don’t have the death penalty. The state cannot be seen to deny an unarmed human that poses no immediate threat their right to life.
The fact that it has to be explained to a nation of 64 million people, some of them educated and intelligent, that a girl of 20, who made mistakes when she was 16 poses no immediate threat is symbolic of the crazy times we live in.
The UK has turned it’s back on Begum because of outrage and anger.
The people that hate her, that have stripped her of her citizenship and that would want her dead have simply become the same as what they hate.
Fast forward a year, pretty much to the day when Shamima Begum’s name was on everyone’s lips, Boris Johnson was briefing the nation about Coronavirus and how he and his government expected to deal with the crisis.
The feeling from pretty much everyone that the message from the Prime Minister was that “we’re going to try and carry on, a lot of people will get it, few will die but the economy must continue to function”.
Shocked were we as a nation that the PM would give a massage such as “...some people will die but... bigger picture”.
Even in wartime, when Winston Churchill, Johnson’s idol, was saying “we’ll never surrender” was there not such a sloppily-handled message of “...some people may die but...”
I mean, “we’ll never surrender” is basically “people are going to die, it’s war, but we’re not surrendering” but the way it was handled was so unministerial and unpresidential.
You don’t deliver a message saying some people are going to die and then follow it with a but. You say “whatever happens we’ll go through it together and come out the stronger, together.”
Boris Johnson is neither ministerial nor presidential. Apart from being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, going to some of the finest schools and universities the UK has to offer and being a distant relation to the queen, he has little in common with Winston Churchill.
Yet Johnson idolises him, he wants to be him, he wants the legacy Churchill has but he lacks the class.
If Winston Churchill is the personification of how an upper-class English gentleman should dress then Boris Johnson is the personification of a snotty-nosed school kid, with scruffy hair, shirt hanging out, half-arsed attempt at his tie while picking wax out of his ear.
And I’m no real fan of Churchill. I recognise his qualities along with his faults but he was ten times the man and PM than Johnson is.
But even Johnson isn’t that bad, he’s no Donald Trump. Now there’s a narcissist.
The difference between the two is that Johnson, as I said earlier, cares about his legacy. For his legacy to be positive, the country has to do well.
If this virus kills too many people then Johnson will forever be remembered as the man that did that.
If you think legacies don’t matter and these things will be forgotten then let me tell you about Henry II.
He ruled over all of England and half of France, a very successful king, possibly England’s greatest monarch, but what he’ll always be remembered for is ordering the murder “accidentally” (no, seriously) of his Archbishop, the head of the Catholic Church in England and his former best friend, Thomas Beckett. That was 850 years ago, legacies matter.
Johnson cares about his, Trump doesn’t. “The Donald” just wants power and he wants it all now. He’ll attack you this week if he thinks it’ll get him power but if being your friend next week means the same thing then so be it.
Don’t believe me? Look at the revolving door they’ve had to install into the entrance of the Whitehouse to account for his high turnover of staff.
“I want you to be my friend, you can work on my campaign, I think we’ll be good together. Oh, no, wait, firing you will increase my popularity by two points, you’re gone.”
However, Trump is no Hitler, now there’s a true fascist (I promise you this is going somewhere).
Hitler couldn’t live with the fact that certain people existed so had to move them away. But as he did so his power grew, and so did the land he controlled.
There is an opinion that he wanted the Jews to have their own state in Zion, modern day Israel but I think had he managed to achieve that and he won the war he would have increased his reach to eventually take over Israel and move the Jews further away.
He couldn’t deal with them existing.
That’s the difference between Hitler and Trump, who hates everyone that isn’t him, equally. He allows people into his world because it benefits him, but once your presence stops benefiting him, you’re gone.
Back to Johnson, I had to divert to those other people to show where Johnson is on the scale of really nasty people, nowhere near as bad as it could be.
And Trust me, Johnson really is a vile human being.
In a radio interview last year, just months before becoming PM Johnson was asked in a about investigations into child abuse in British society.
He made a comment that he believed “some money was being spaffed up the wall on some inquiry”.
Spaffed is very informal speech for ‘ male ejeculation’.
The inquiry that Johnson used this particular verb to describe, discovered that in the past 50 years child sexual abuse was rife in the highest echelons of British society, the Catholic Church, government and the aristocracy.
It’s by far the vilest comment any British Prime Minister has made in public address.
And yet of all the disgusting things ‘Boris’ has done, this ranks somewhere in the middle.
I think the worst thing is a friend of his trying to get the address from him of a journalist this friend wanted to have beaten up.
Now in Johnson’s defence he didn’t give the address but you can hear on the recording* that he says he has people looking into finding the address. Johnson never informed the police.
*Yes, it’s on YouTube. A recording, from twenty years ago, of the now British PM, being asked for the address of a journalist from a friend, so he can have him beaten up. It’s just the sort of ilk Johnson associates with. He’s safely locked up now, no longer a menace to society.
I wonder where people put that friend of Johnson’s on the Shamima Begum scale.
Back to modern day and possibly the most severe case of Covid-19 in a world leader is Johnson himself.
At first it just started out as mild symptoms, then about a week later it moved on to him having to go into hospital and now he’s had to be moved into intensive care.
I can’t help but think the unthinkable, you hear the words intensive care and imagine motionless bodies in hospital beds with tubes sticking out of them.
It’s since been revealed that he is breathing without the help of a ventilator which is fantastic news and now he is out of intensive care.
As soon as I heard this news I dreaded the worst, for two reasons. 1) the obvious, 2) the reaction from people like me, his enemies.
And for some part of me it was the reaction I feared the most.
People celebrating death, like I saw when the towers fell, all those years ago.
As much as I despise Johnson, I think he’s a vile human being from the greediest part of our society, hoarding wealth for himself and his chums, I don’t want him to die.
The country’s having a hard enough time as it is with losing the highest elected official in the land.
Besides which, what would it achieve? So one of our political opponents has gone, he’ll soon be replaced and that replacement could be far worse.
On top of that, it shouldn’t even be an issue, the guy is a human being and so am I.
The thing that makes me laugh the most is that people are saying that with the way things are at the moment it means that the government shouldn’t be criticised, which is crazy.
A crisis is the exact time you criticise your leaders. If they can’t deal with a crisis, when you need them the most, then they shouldn’t be in power.
There is irony in what he said just a few weeks ago about “some will die of Covid-19” and then him fighting against the disease for his life. More so with the NHS which him and his party have looked to sell off into private care. He can obviously afford it if needed but he is now requiring treatment from the public health service that he has, on numerous occasions, voted to divert funds from.
It’s politics, we beat them with democracy. We argue with their points, get elected and then implement change. If we don’t get elected, it’s on us.
If we glorify in another person’s suffering then we’ve already lost because we just replace what we sought to destroy with more of the same.
There was a campaign to “clap for Boris” in a similar way that we’ve all be doing for the people that are keeping things together, health workers etc and I don’t believe in that, either.
Clapping for him is an endorsement of his policies, if I thought it’d save him, I’d do it but I’m not just going to clap for someone like him just because he’s sick.
And if you think that “well, his policies/government have killed loads” or “he wouldn’t give a toss about you” then I thought the whole point about us not liking our enemies was because we don’t act like them?
Shamima Begum left the UK to enter a country that was nothing like what she’d left. Don’t become like that country.
Islamic terrorists look to destroy us all. They don’t actually want to kill us, they’re happy for us to survive, they just want to deny us of our freedoms. The second we give in to them and treat others how they treat others then we’ve lost the battle.
And that’s why I’m glad Boris Johnson survived, because our politics are different. He might not care about other human beings, but I do.