He lost me at “electoral appeal”. I just don’t get it.

Boris Johnson gets disemboweled on the pages of the New Statesman.

Boris Johnson is a singular and unorthodox politician whose electoral appeal transcends traditional party lines. He is charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite, yet blessed with the common touch. He is a wonderful wordsmith, even if he often uses words to deceive and dissemble.

Those talents served him admirably in his role as merrymaker-in-chief while he was mayor of London, but they do not remotely qualify him to govern the UK during a gathering national crisis that he did so much to engender. Nor do I accept the contention that “Boris is Boris” and should therefore be exempted from all the customary rules of personal and political conduct.

Strip away the bluster and bonhomie, and you are left with a chaotic, mendacious, philandering, egotistical, disloyal and thoroughly untrustworthy charlatan driven by ambition and self-interest. Or, as the BBC broadcaster Eddie Mair once put it, “a nasty piece of work”.

You could say the same thing about the American president, except that you don’t even have to strip away any “charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite” aspects of his character, since they aren’t there. But now I have to wonder…how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?


  1. zebede says

    Because there are constituencies in England that would vote for a vegetable if it had a Conservative Party rosette on it. (And they often do).

  2. rpjohnston says

    Because a lot of people are Bad People and the Left spent 30 years trying to solve all problems with the Power of Friendship. (At least Stateside. I don’t know as much about British politics but I doubt people are much different over there).

    Their targets are wrong but the Right is right, in principle, about some things – like how a society should not and can not countenance agents who attack it. Like white supremacists, Nazis, and the kind of thugs who roll coal. I can only hope we get tough enough on defense before we’re overwhelmed.

  3. specialffrog says

    @Caine: presumably the author of the piece also thinks Prince Phillip is charming and funny too.

  4. Moggie says

    Remember how Shrub was described as “a politician you could imagine having a beer with”? That’s Boris Johnson’s beat. He wants to be liked, and uses humour and carefully calibrated self-parody. I don’t think this fools most people who actually follow politics, particularly since the Brexit vote, but he’s a politician for people who don’t have much interest in politics, which is a sizeable demographic.

    He’s appalling and dangerous, and I wish I believed his time is almost up. But, barring some major sexual scandal, I suspect he’ll be around for a while yet.

  5. sullivanst says

    @Caine his first Mayoral campaign was launched off the back of the profile he’d gained as a regular guest on the comedy news panel game-show Have I Got News For You, so, yes, he’s considered funny even if most of the time the audience was laughing at rather than with him. Charismatic seems undeniable given his ability to take up the oxygen in almost any room.

  6. sullivanst says

    The big danger is to mistake “I’d vote for a half an onion in a bag after it had been indicted for tax evasion before I’d vote for *that* guy” with “he has no electoral appeal”. Johnson won two terms as mayor sandwiched between “Red Ken” and a Muslim social democrat. Somehow quite a number of people are buying what he’s selling.

  7. laurentweppe says

    how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?

    They tell racist shitbags the lies they want to hear

  8. davem says

    how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?

    I subscribe to Newsthunp, a satirical news web site. When I saw that Boris Johnston had been elected to Foreign Secretary, I laughed, then realised to my horror that this was the BBC news site I was looking at.. If Boris is ritually disemboweled, please put it on pay-per-view; it’ll have millions of eager viewers.

  9. specialffrog says

    My favourite Boris joke is that when considering cabinet appointments May wrote “F Off” next to Boris’s name and this was misinterpreted by her staff as an assignment to the Foreign Office.

  10. jazzlet says

    One of the reasons peope like Boris get elected is they get selected as candidates, and the Tory party are still in thrall to the public (in the British sense, ie private) school and Oxbridge educated “elite”.

  11. vole says

    Comparisons between Boris and the fake president are unfair. Like him or not, Boris has a brain, and a vocabulary.

  12. Moggie says

    Notice how people are calling him “Boris”, like they feel they’re on first name terms? That’s kind of part of his scam. Fact is, his friends don’t call him that: it’s Alexander, his first name.

  13. gijoel says

    It’s nice to know that someone is able to step up and deliver nationally embarrassing, racist gaffs now that Prince Phillip has retired.

  14. davidc1 says

    @1 So true ,i live in Shropshire it returns 5 MPs ,used to be 4 and they are all tory ,the only one that voted Labour in the past was The Wrekin . Shrewsbury and Atacham in 97 and for a few years afterwards voted New Labour .
    I did read somewhere that bloody stupid johnson’s majority was reduced to a wafer in the last election,maybe they is a chance of getting rid of him next time ,at least for a while.

  15. davidc1 says

    @6 Yes i haven’t felt the same about HIGNFY since it launched boris on us ,i think they are trying to
    do the same with that reese mogg twat..

  16. Zmidponk says

    The reasons for laughing at Boris is much the same reasons why some people laugh at clowns – they are the epitome of bumbling ineptitude. The only difference is that, with clowns, it’s an act, but with Boris, that actually seems to be the way he is. As such, why anyone would think he was, in any way, fit for any kind of office with any kind of responsibility at all leaves me totally baffled.

  17. Moggie says


    As such, why anyone would think he was, in any way, fit for any kind of office with any kind of responsibility at all leaves me totally baffled.

    Eton and Balliol will get you a long way in the Tory party. Though even Tories are starting to notice that he’s alienating everyone outside the UK at precisely the time we need every friend we can get.

  18. says

    how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?

    You get enough people who are willing to vote for their party’s candidate, no matter how obviously evil they are, because Otherwise The Other Lizard Might Get In, and that’s really all it takes — Lesser Of Two Evils voting makes bad candidates inevitable in the long run, and guarantees that sooner or later the entire choice will be between bad candidates, so that a bad candidate will necessarily win.

    Like the U.S. just proved, to echo a bit more of your post.

  19. ajbjasus says

    Eton and Balliol will get you a long way in the Tory party. Though even Tories are starting to notice that he’s alienating everyone outside the UK at precisely the time we need every friend we can get.


    No doubt Oxbridge disproportionately stands one in good stead for Tory politics, but Balliol has a strong socialist tradion. Christopher Hill was Master when I was there, and the student body was pretty radical.


  20. davidc1 says

    @17Jacob Rees-Mogg is not a real person, he’s a character from P.G.Wodehouse..
    He wishes he was .

  21. Dark Jaguar says

    They vote for him because he seems like he’s their friend. Like, literally. People have been breaking into the White House because they just want to talk with Trump and think he would be “totally cool” with that. They literally have no concept of scale or how that changes how we must behave.

  22. Nogbert says

    Eton and Oxford, like his brother Jo, who is in charge of science and universities in the May government.
    We are infested with privileged assholes who are well connected before they even go to university. There they meet more people of the same kind coming from other public schools and are fully networked. The advantages of such education are less when considering a career in the sciences but for people going into business and law and the like where who you know is much more important than what you know they are substantial.
    According to an article in the independent the current parliament has a majority of it’s members (51%) not from public schools. So almost half are but most astonishing is the fact that a full 10% are from one school. No prizes for guessing which that is. I can not imagine that being the case in the US. I’m sure that just as a lot of our politicians attended Oxbridge a lot of yours are Ivy league but no way do 10% of your Congress critters hale from the same high school.
    There are intangible assets to such an education, they exude an insouciant confident superiority that comes from being educated in institutions that know they are educating an elite. Where it really counts is not the obvious filling of top jobs in many areas but the fate of the lesser intellects. Whereas a poor person who may be a bit academically challenged ends up on the dole or a dead end job their privileged counterparts get to run boutiques.

    My solution to the problem is simple. Cull Tories. Bomb Eton.
    Serve the buggers right for putting all their chicks in one hen house!

  23. runswithscissors says

    So now Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has managed to double the sentence on a British woman held in an Iranian jail:

    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested and tried on suspicion of secretly training journalists while visiting Iran. Her family, her employer and the UK Foreign Office insist she was in Iran on holiday, visiting her parents with her infant daughter. In the year since her conviction there have been repeated International calls for her release.

    So what does our Foreign Secretary do?

    Tells Parliament that he doesn’t understand why the Iranians would jail a someone when all she is doing is – training journalists.

    …. at which point the Iranians say ‘thank you very much for confirming that’ and hauled her back into court to double her sentence to 10 years.

  24. Moggie says

    Johnson really needs to be sacked before he does more harm, but May is probably in too weak a position to do that.

    Meanwhile, the international development secretary, Priti Patel, has been caught having a series of secret, unauthorised meetings with the Israeli government, to discuss funnelling development money to the IDF, apparently without the PM or the foreign office knowing about it. What a complete shambles.

  25. davidc1 says

    Just had an email from Change org ,they have a petition going to remove bloody stupid johnson from office ,of course i signed it
    like a shot.