Boris Johnson claimed today that the naughtiest thing he’s ever done is ride a bicycle on the pavement. In early September however, he alluded to his time at university by advising primary school children not to get drunk.
While at Oxford University Boris was a member of the elite Bullingdon Club that engaged in high jinks such as drunkenly destroying pubs and restaurants followed by humiliating the owners by paying for the extensive damage in cash.
The woman who was the club recruiter said: “Boris was one of the big beasts of the club. He was up for anything. They treated certain types of people with absolute disdain, and referred to them as ‘plebs’ or ‘grockles’, and the police were always called ‘plod’. Their attitude was that women were there for their entertainment.”
She said there was a “culture of excess” in the 1980s in which the activities of the Bullingdon Club felt “normalised”. “They had an air of entitlement and superiority.”
In 2013, Johnson – who reputedly still greets former members with a cry of “Buller, Buller, Buller” – described it as “a truly shameful vignette of almost superhuman undergraduate arrogance, toffishness and twittishness”. He added: “But at the time you felt it was wonderful to be going round swanking it up.”
It is documented and established beyond doubt that Boris Johnson is a lying liar. While that is enough to establish that he is totally unsuitable to hold any high office, there is further evidence that he is a dangerous, unstable twat totally unsuitable to be the UK’s prime minister.
Appearing on ITV, the prime minister was asked whether he could look the presenter “in the eye” and say he had never lied in his career – spanning back to 2001 when he was first elected as an MP.
“Absolutely not, absolutely not,” Mr Johnson replied. “I have never tried to deceive the public and I’ve always tried to be absolutely frank.”
Pressed again, he continued: “I may have got things wrong, I may have been mistaken, but I’ve never tried to deceive people about the way I see things.”
He’s recorded on video saying that lying lie.
The trouble for lying liar Boris Johnson is that it is widely accepted that he is a lying liar and that his lies are well documented. It is disappointing that he is permitted to lie so blatantly without being held to account.
The Brexit lies above were while he was campaigning to be leader of the Conservative Party. Now he’s lying to win a general election.
later still: More
There is a debate about BSters vs. Liars proposing that BSters are more dangerous than liars and have very little grasp of the concepts of truth and deliberate deception. It appears that Boris Johnson also has very little grasp of these concepts and is very willing to deliberately mislead without realizing or accepting that he is a lying liar e.g. his statement “I have never tried to deceive the public and I’ve always tried to be absolutely frank.” Should we instead regard him as a BSting BSter?
As well as being unable to trust anything he says Boris Johnson’s inattention to detail and/or his daytime drinking have had serious effects.
Johnson, who told a Commons committee when he was foreign secretary that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” in Iran, should acknowledge his mistake, he said. Iranian officials cited his words as evidence that she had engaged in “propaganda against the regime”. The family have always maintained she was visiting relatives in Iran when she was arrested. She has strenuously denied spying. She was sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to overthrow the Iranian government.
The 2019 UK general election matters because the climate emergency means that the next decade is critical for the future of humanity. Only a Labour government can really turn things around, not just in the UK, but globally. This may sound exaggerated, but it’s true. Let me explain.
While flooding has affected people in Yorkshire during the election period, look further afield and many millions are suffering the impacts of catastrophic floods in Central and East Africa. Fires have raged in Australia and things will get a lot worse until humans stabilise Earth’s rapidly changing climate. To do that means carbon emissions need to decline to zero. Fast.
Pursuing policies to limit warming to 1.5℃, as the Paris Agreement mandates, is a two part process. Stage one is to halve global emissions by 2030. Stage two is to eliminate the other half by 2050. Getting the world to zero emissions is extremely difficult as it means every sector of every country needs to get to zero. We can still pollute, but every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted will need to be immediately captured again, giving a net impact of zero emissions.
A serious plan
Finally, after 30-plus years of scientists explaining the problem, a major political party of a major economy has a serious plan for part one of the process. After wrangling between grassroots activists and trade unions, the Labour Manifesto pledges that the “substantial majority” of UK emissions will be eliminated by 2030. This isn’t bluster, as there is serious investment planned across electricity production (more wind and solar), buildings (retrofitting all UK houses to high efficiency standards), transport (investment in buses, only electric cars sales from 2030), and heavy industry (research and development into hydrogen and carbon capture technology), to name a few sectors.
Crucially, this would be driven by those who control the finances of the country. A new Sustainable Investment Board would bring together the chancellor, business secretary and Bank of England governor to oversee and co-ordinate these major investments. A National Investment Bank with £250 billion allocated for decarbonising the economy provides serious funds. And climate and environmental impacts will be included in the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts, so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every government decision.
Labour are calling it a Green Industrial Revolution. And it would be. It is a far-reaching set of policies and investments befitting the scale of the problem.
Tory plan ‘lacks ambition’
By comparison the Conservative Party manifesto lacks ambition and seriousness. Capital spending on climate – broadly conceived – is just £20 billion. There is no overarching strategy to reach net zero. As the independent analysts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said of the whole manifesto, “If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.”
While the Conservatives have a net zero target of 2050 and official UK emissions have dropped by 43% from 1990 levels, most of the reduction has come from the power sector, and the low-hanging fruit of switching from coal-fired electricity generation to gas and renewables. Beyond this, their record over the past decade in government has been poor – emissions from transport, buildings and agriculture have not declined over recent years.
Of course, UK emissions are just 1% of the world’s total, so does it matter what the UK does? It does. First, because every country needs to get to net zero emissions. Second, as the fifth largest economy in the world, large and sustained reductions in emissions across all sectors simultaneously would become a beacon to other countries to learn from the UK and reduce their emissions more quickly. Third, Labour would use £4 billion of new overseas development funds help countries leap-frog the fossil fuel age.
Finally, geopolitics matters. The world is gripped by right-wing populists who are often hostile to tackling climate change. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro abandoned hosting this years’ UN climate talks, while Donald Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Fearful inward-looking nationalism means that the internationalism necessary to tackle climate change is being eroded.
The antidote to the rising right-wing populism that Brexit and Boris Johnson are part of, is a Labour government with a Green Industrial Revolution at its heart. And just as Brexit spurred the Trump campaign, a win for Labour would increase the chances of the Democrats in the US reaching office and pursuing a similar Green New Deal. The tide would be turning towards deploying the tools of the state to reshape the economy to seriously tackle climate change.
Scientists working on climate often say some form of transformation of society is needed to tackle climate change. Here’s a rare chance to lever serious resources to do just that. Of course, supporting any political party is a major compromise, especially with our voting system.
When it comes to the environment, you can’t beat the Greens, but they can’t form the next government. The big prize is to grasp the chance to turn things around. So, I won’t just be voting this election. I’ll be out knocking on doors to canvas for Labour. It’s the least I can do. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
It is difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of UK wealth inequality, which is twice as high as income inequality. New research published today by the Equality Trust has shown that the five richest families in the UK control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million people and that the number of billionaires has almost doubled over the last decade. The top 1 per cent of the population now owns the same wealth as the bottom 80 per cent of the population.
The other side of the wealth of the property tycoon is the poverty of the family being shunted between different forms of temporary accommodation because they cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads. The other side of the wealth of the private equity manager is the poverty of the worker he laid off to “turn around” his latest investment.
The other side of the wealth of the few is the poverty of the many. Fourteen million people in the UK are living in poverty — 4.6 million of whom are children. Children are going to school “unwashed” and “hungry” — nine out of ten schools in the UK are being forced to distribute clothes to students. 135,000 children will be homeless this Christmas, in a society with hundreds of people so rich that they couldn’t even count their wealth.
These patterns are replicated at the level of the international economy. Globally, the 26 wealthiest billionaires own as much wealth as the bottom 50 per cent of the population. And their wealth is not “earned” either. According to Oxfam, one-third of global billionaire wealth comes from an inheritance while another third comes from “crony connections to government and monopoly”. Much of the rest originates from land, oil or finance.