Boris Johnson

by Henry Farrell on June 28, 2016

The first time I heard the name Boris Johnson was in the early 1990s. I was in graduate school, and one of the ways I made a little money during the summer was by helping shepherd tours of American policy people around Brussels to be lectured by various dignitaries and then writing up reports. One year, my Americans were treated to a performance by a prominent UK member of the Brussels press corps, who was clearly enjoying himself immensely. The larger part of his talk focused on Boris Johnson, who was then the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent. The journalist told of how Johnson clearly was completely at sea in Brussels, and at a loss for what to report on. Other reporters quickly noted that he had a sweet tooth for stories about this or that regulatory horror that Brussels bureaucrats were about to inflict on unsuspecting Britons. They started an informal pool, to see what was the most ridiculously exaggerated story that they could stuff into Boris, which he would then relay as gospel truth to Telegraph readers. The speaker suggested (perhaps exaggerating for effect) that they hadn’t yet been able to find a story so ludicrous that Boris wouldn’t gulp it down.

It’s Boris who’s having the last laugh though, isn’t it.



Marshall 06.28.16 at 3:34 pm

The first I ever heard of Boris Johnson was in the early 2000s as an undergrad at Oxford, where he was notoriously having an affair with an undergrad.


Eric 06.28.16 at 3:37 pm

I think Farage would claim it was him who’s having the laugh.

I first became aware of Boris as a guest on late 1990s panel quizzes, where he was meant to be the charming face of Toryism, a role Jacob Rees-Mogg has more recently played.


SufferinSuccotash 06.28.16 at 3:40 pm

He won’t have the last laugh if he’s the one left holding the bag come September.


Daragh 06.28.16 at 3:51 pm

Martin Fletcher made a similar intervention about BoJo’s total charlatanry as a journalist during the campaign. Sadly didn’t change much…


max 06.28.16 at 3:55 pm

The larger part of his talk focused on Boris Johnson, who was then the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent.

Being a stupid fucking Yank, I started being exposed to Old Boris back in the early 2000’s the year 2000 when I started reading the Telegraph. As a conservative writer, he was all right (have you ever read National Review Online, friend? They really lower the bar), wouldn’t vote for him for dogcatcher, of course.

It’s Boris who’s having the last laugh though, isn’t it.

Well, now he’s famous, which seems to be his thing, so he doesn’t really need to be PM, does he? Bit early to decide if he’s going to come out ahead on this deal.

It’s really telling that respectable people clearly think Boris would be a far …safer… and more respectable PM than Corbyn, whatever Corbyn’s faults. Actually, also very telling to consider how Hollandaise sauce (he’s yellow, lukewarm and sticky), Merkel and Juncker are viewed as compared to Boris and Corbyn.

[‘Maybe the WWI generation of leadership wasn’t so bad after all.’]


engels 06.28.16 at 4:04 pm

Hilarious jape from the Brussels days—Boris discussing plans to beat up a journalist with fellow old boy Darius Guppy

“I guarantee you he will not be seriously hurt. He will not have a broken limb or broken arm, he will not be put into intensive care or anything like that. He will probably get a couple of black eyes and a … a cracked rib or something.”

“Cracked rib?”

“Nothing which you didn’t suffer at rugby, OK? But he’ll get scared.”


RNB 06.28.16 at 4:20 pm


Placeholder 06.28.16 at 4:25 pm

He says so himself, in his own words, and admits he gets a kick out of it.

“I was just chucking these rocks over the garden wall. I’d listen to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door, over in England,” Johnson once said during an interview on BBC radio. “Everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing explosive effect on the Tory Party and it really gave me this, I suppose, rather weird sense of power”


Chuck Karish 06.28.16 at 5:04 pm

The US is in a fiendishly difficult predicament right now. It remains to be seen whether Johnson is clever enough to avoid accepting the opportunity to try to resolve it, which he clearly lacks the political and diplomatic skill to accomplish.


merian 06.28.16 at 5:04 pm

Ze K @9, in the light of a politician, who was clearly well-liked and admired for her humanity and integrity, dying under bullets, stab wounds and cries of “Britain First” at the margins of this sorry affair, I’m gobsmacked by your comment.


Chuck Karish 06.28.16 at 5:05 pm

(post 10 should have said “UK”, but you knew that.)


Rich Puchalsky 06.28.16 at 5:22 pm

“(post 10 should have said “UK”, but you knew that.)”

Oh well I was imagining Boris having a try.


Layman 06.28.16 at 5:40 pm

Anyone want to start a pool on when the UK will give article 50 notice? I want the ‘never’ spot, please!


Ogden Wernstrom 06.28.16 at 5:41 pm

“(post 10 should have said “UK”, but you knew that.)”

I thought you meant to say “Trump” in place of “Johnson”.


The Raven 06.28.16 at 5:42 pm

“Pay attention to the demagogues. They’re only funny until they win.” — Rick Perlstein, more-or-less.


Mercurius Londiniensis 06.28.16 at 6:09 pm

Mr Johnson’s press conference on Friday, so far from showing someone enjoying the last laugh, revealed an untypically subdued man. He is clever enough to realize the predicament in which his unbounded ambition has landed him. It is completely clear that he did not expect the Leave side to win the referendum. (His aides have been telling reporters today that the column he published in yesterday’s Telegraph, setting out his conception of how the UK should relate to the EU, is to be disregarded: he was, apparently, ‘tired’ when he wrote it.) Had Leave lost — but not too badly — he would have been nicely placed to succeed David Cameron in 2018, and in much calmer circumstances.

But he won, and now he is doomed to compete for the premiership in the extraordinary circumstances in which the UK finds itself. If he wins, the gravity and complexity of the issues will overwhelm him. (Although he was Mayor of London for eight years, he has never served even as a junior government minister.) As a student of the tragedians, he knows well how events (alias the gods) exploit the fatal weakness of character (in this case, ambition) to destroy the hero. Many will suffer as a result of him, but his fate, too, is terrible.


Igor Belanov 06.28.16 at 6:59 pm

The man’s a buffoon, a sadist, a sociopath and an enormous egotist.

But the PLP prefer him to Corbyn.


Chris Bertram 06.28.16 at 7:15 pm



William Berry 06.28.16 at 7:23 pm

@merian: You should save yourself the gobsmacking. That comment was typical zekstones. It likes to think it’s getting a dig at all the pathetic CT liberals, and appears to be completely unaware that it is really only performing a bit of low comedy.


Rich Puchalsky 06.28.16 at 7:29 pm

All CT regulars have about the same level of predictability. I find this more reassuring than anything else. I would be truly gobsmacked if Ze K changed his mind about something or really if anyone changed their mind about anything. As for whether some regulars are inherently more disreputable than others, well, everyone is absurd including our societies as a whole so I suspect that it’s more a matter of stylistic preference than anything else.


William Berry 06.28.16 at 7:45 pm

@RP: I couldn’t agree more!

I especially liked this bit: “ . . . everyone is absurd including our societies as a whole so I suspect that it’s more a matter of stylistic preference than anything else.

But it is still get to get a bit of a chuckle in these dark days.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 06.28.16 at 8:02 pm



djr 06.28.16 at 8:08 pm

Chuck Karish @ 10/12: “The US is in a fiendishly difficult predicament right now.”

Johnson was born in New York, so maybe he could indeed be convinced to turn his powers to solving your problems instead?


NomadUK 06.28.16 at 8:48 pm

djr@24 : Too late.

Shame, really. It would have been fun having him place his hand on the bible on 20 January 2017 and intone, ‘I, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, do solemnly swear…’


djr 06.28.16 at 9:03 pm

And Lord Ashcroft said he was going to give up his non-dom status too. Anyway, maybe we could convince the US to take him back. Special relationship, pretty please.


Sancho 06.29.16 at 3:04 am

Is it generally accepted by Brexit critics that Johnson never actually wanted or expected to leave, and is now in position of the dog that caught a car?

I can’t tell if this is plainly obvious, or just my perception.


nick s 06.29.16 at 3:28 am

I first became aware of Boris as a guest on late 1990s panel quizzes

Alan Bennett had him and Nigel Falange (and the BBC) pegged there:

the impression an audience comes away with is that actually nothing much matters and that these seemingly jokey demagogues are human and harmless and that their opinions are not really as pernicious as their opponents pretend. And even if they are what does it matter as politics is just a con anyway. Whereas Johnson, the bike apart, doesn’t seem to have a moral bone in his body and the batrachoidal Farage likewise. ‘So where’s your sense of humour? It’s only a joke.’

I’ve heard Johnson stories from people who remember him from That School. Yeah.

And the scary thing about British politics — especially Tory politics — is that to say it’s a continuation of school rivalry and student hackery should be glib and lazy, but it isn’t. The plotting of Johnson and his chums over the weekend will have been not much different in kind from an Oxford Union election, only changing in degree and impact. Young boys in grown-up trousers.


nick s 06.29.16 at 3:38 am

NomadUK @25: Did he actually renounce his US citizenship? He said he would, but the list of US citizens who renounce is public record, published every quarter, and having just checked the quarterly reports since he said he would, I see no mention.


Sandwichman 06.29.16 at 3:53 am

Has Boris filed his U.S. income tax returns? He is required to by U.S law.


Sandwichman 06.29.16 at 3:59 am


nick s 06.29.16 at 4:28 am

That’s February 2015. If he’d renounced between then and March 31st of this year, his name would be listed in the Federal Register’s quarterly reports along with all the others who do so. I don’t see his name in any of them. Either he hasn’t done so, or he did so in the last three months. Worth someone asking him, at least?


casmilus 06.29.16 at 8:01 am

Key text for Borisologists: his essay in the book “The Oxford Myth” (1988) edited by his sister Rachel Johnson. In which the President of the Oxford Union expounded on what it’s like to be an operator, trying to work your way up the political pole, whilst doing just enough work to get through tutorials. Also revealing of the casual condescension the Tory leadership cadre have for the humble provincials who keep them in business.

That book also contains an essay about “Class” by Toby Young, now a tiresome commentator and cheerleader for right-wing causes.

Someone should also dig around in copies of The Spectator from the mid 90s, for the negative appraisal of the young pup written by veteran Tory pro-European Auberon Waugh (son of Evelyn). Something like “never in 35 years have I met someone who understood conservatism less”.


casmilus 06.29.16 at 8:18 am

And who could forget this classic hatchet job by a Tory who used to work with him:

“I want to dismiss a prejudice about Mr Johnson, and I do so as one who has known him for the past 20 years. It is that he is a buffoon. He isn’t.
The act is calculated and it has required serious application and timing of the sort of which only a clever man is capable. For some of us the joke has worn not thin, but out. Yet many less cynical than I am find it appealing. It conceals two things: a blinding lack of attention to detail, and (though this might seem to sit ill with the first point) a ruthless ambition.
Mr Johnson is the most ambitious person I have ever met. That ought to be a commendation for high office, since ambitious people normally understand they will go further only by doing their present job well. Mr Johnson’s scattergun approach to life will not allow this.
In his superb biography of him, my colleague Andrew Gimson outlines the practice that has allowed Mr Johnson to get so far in life: he has used his charm, to which only a few more seasoned hands are immune, to enlist at every stage what Mr Gimson calls “stooges” to help him advance.
There were stooges when Mr Johnson was en route to be president of the Oxford Union. He has had stooges all through journalism, who did significant parts of his various jobs for him, usually with little thanks or reward. And now there are stooges in politics.”


Lowhim 06.29.16 at 9:21 am

@19, thank you. Also there needs to be an obligatory “Laugh now, but someday we’ll be in charge” stencil with Boris holding the sign.


J-D 06.29.16 at 9:37 am

Somebody else had the same idea (with differences in detail):


NomadUK 06.29.16 at 12:38 pm

nick s @ 29: He might have it done for him.

On the other hand, because there is no administrative presumption that U.S. nationals who hold policy-level positions in foreign governments necessarily intend to retain their U.S. nationality , efforts are made to adjudicate fully such cases to determine the individual’s intent. Certain policy level positions are inherently incompatible with retaining U.S. nationality. Cases of this nature generally involve heads of state or foreign ministers.


Ed 06.29.16 at 1:40 pm

While it should be emphasized that the situation is very fluid, everything I am reading about British politics in the last few days strongly indicates that Theresa May will be the next Tory leader and next PM.

First, if things had gone “normally”, and Cameron had stepped down in a couple years after winning the referendum which was the original idea, she would have been a strong leadership candidate anyway. The front-runner would have been George Osborne, who is not running (btw if you care it is Osborne who wins the “political career most negatively affected by the referendum contest but I doubt many people care).

Second, there really is a big gap in the UK between elite opinion and “the political nation” and the masses. Its probably bigger than at any time since the 1832 Reform Act, but at least in 1832 there was the excuse that most people couldn’t vote. In any case most Tory MPs are pro-Remain while most Tory voters are pro-Leave. The similar gap in the Labour Party is really well publicized, but at least there is actually substantial Remain support among Labour voters. What this means is that Johnson or anyone else on the Leave side will almost certainly lose among MPs and will have to hope that when the Tory voters are asked they will back him anyway. Once May wins among MPs expect her get get glowing media coverage. The one-sided coverage of the coup against Corbyn is a hint about what is in store.

Third, government whips are rallying support for May.

Fourth, people with personalities like Johnson’s are generally not given the top spot in British politics, but granted exceptions are made in extraordinary circumstances and arguably this is one of them. Disraeli wound up as one of the few talented politicians on one side of an earlier elite vs base Tory split. For Churchill it took the collapse of the government’s entire national security strategy and even then there was alot of reluctance to give him the top job.

Where things get interesting is if the next government decides to ignore or try to work around the referendum result, and then they get really interesting if the other European countries decide they really like the idea of getting the British out of the EU.


ZM 06.29.16 at 1:53 pm

This article written from a comment on The Guardian about David Cameron and Boris Johnson, says maybe Cameron has in effect poisoned Johnson’s career by not triggering Article 50 and choosing to resign from being PM instead:

“The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-manoeuvred and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over – Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.”–bJhqBql0VZ


Brett Dunbar 06.29.16 at 2:13 pm

The Parliamentary Conservative Party whittles down the candidates to two the party as a whole then chooses between them. Boris has to avoid coming third. It is possible that he comes third but that seems unlikely. If he is one of the names submitted to the party then he probably wins.

Johnson could state that he intends to go to the country before triggering article 50, he could argue that the negotiation is so important that he needs a parliament elected on then understanding that that is going to be the main business of that parliament. He can still get the support of the leave supporters if his opponent is May, who supported remain and appears to be the not-boris with the strongest support in the wider party.


Philip 06.29.16 at 2:53 pm

It seems obvious to me that Boris joined the leave campaign to get support from the right wing of the party and never really expected to win. Now he has won he can’t articulate what he wants from a Brexit in a way that will satisfy the social conservative branch of the party and keep the economic liberals happy too. Brexit will be seen as Boris betraying London and the City and if no one believes he was a true believer in Brexit he will lose support from the right. Will he get much support from London voters and corporate backers? Surely his opportunism will have pissed off too many people and his personal charm won’t be enough to carry him through, right?

May as Home Secretary has had to try and meet the impossible target of reducing immigration to tens of thousands while accepting freedom of movement for EU citizens. She took a back seat in the remain campaign so she can emerge relatively unscathed. I think this was a deliberate ploy for her to have a leadership bid whatever the results and I think Osborne’s chances went up in smoke at the last budget and his proposed cuts to disability benefit. The thought of May as PM is terrifying and Stephen Crabb seems to be the best option from the people likely to stand but he won’t be seen to have enough experience.


Ed 06.29.16 at 2:58 pm

Brett Dunbar makes a good point @ 41.

I think May will probably defeat Johnson when the Tory voters way in, but it wouldn’t hurt the “stop Boris” movement to come up with another candidate, in the hopes of pushing Johnson to third among MPs. And this is less obvious than the current Blairite maneuvers to pressure Corbyn into not standing or to keep him off the ballot among the Labour membership. Hence the Crabb candidacy.


eddie 06.29.16 at 2:59 pm

There seem to be a lot of quite talented MPs not happy with following the opposition leader. Maybe hillary benn can put his hat in the tory leadership ring.


rea 06.29.16 at 3:30 pm

I thought you meant to say “Trump” in place of “Johnson”

The two bear a remarkable physical resemblance to each other. I would not have thought that two people could have that hair . . .


goli 06.29.16 at 3:32 pm

Another enjoyable example of the genre of reminiscences by Boris’s former colleagues:

(this piece was originally written for one of the more unspeakable tabloids, but was sufficiently entertaining for the Guardian to reproduce it)

The author, Max Hastings, is a journalist and editor, and generally conservative. Unlike Heffer, though, he writes books which are well-regarded by people who don’t share his politics.

Nuggets include

“I have known the mayor more than 20 years. He worked for me as EU correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and then as a columnist when I was the paper’s editor, and I have seen plenty of him since. He is a magnificent journalist and showman. He proved himself the perfect maitre d’ for the London Olympics… I would not trust him with my wife nor – from painful experience – my wallet… His chaotic public persona is not an act – he is, indeed, manically disorganised about everything except his own image management. He is also a far more ruthless, and frankly nastier, figure than the public appreciates.”


bianca steele 06.29.16 at 3:50 pm

I honestly thought the photograph of Johnson I saw last week was of the Saturday Night Live guy dressed as Trump.

I’m also tempted to make a Blazing Saddles joke but I can’t decide which clip to link.


nick s 06.29.16 at 4:29 pm

NomadUK @37 – the “policy-level” aspect matters there. He was a US citizen right through his earlier stint as an MP, so that’s not expatriating per se. He was in the shadow cabinet, but that’s not the same as being in government. And it’s quite difficult to lose US citizenship without the explicit intention of doing so, especially if the IRS considers you eligible for the expatriation tax.

It’d be very… Boris if the only way for him to give up his US citizenship without the usual effort, expense, tax liability and bureaucratic hassle was to become prime minister.


Igor Belanov 06.29.16 at 7:04 pm

eddie @ 43

‘There seem to be a lot of quite talented MPs not happy with following the opposition leader. Maybe hillary benn can put his hat in the tory leadership ring.’

LOL as the youff text. Not sure about the ‘quite talented’ though….


Colin 06.29.16 at 9:44 pm

“Other reporters quickly noted that he had a sweet tooth for stories about this or that regulatory horror that Brussels bureaucrats were about to inflict on unsuspecting Britons.”

So what you’re saying is that Johnson was slightly ahead of his time for British journalism, a trailblazer. The timescale between this story and Johnson getting ‘the last laugh’ isn’t the 20-odd years between then and Brexit, it’s the handful of years it took the majority of England’s newspaper editors to turn Johnson’s style of Brussels reporting into a model to be followed.


Chris S 06.29.16 at 11:31 pm

@41 the choice is between a serial liar, an authoritarian and someone who thinks gayness can be cured by prayer.


J-D 06.30.16 at 12:24 am

Incidentally, does anybody else associate the name ‘Boris Johnson’ with the fictional leader of the ‘Democratic League’ in Norman Spinrad’s Agent Of Chaos?


Dipper 06.30.16 at 5:38 am

One advantage Boris has is that we all know he is a liar. Spares us the disappointment of voting for someone you think is telling you the truth only to find out that they, too, were liars.


Philip 06.30.16 at 11:00 am

Boris isn’t running for Leader and Gove has thrown his hat into the ring. I don’t know much about Crabb or Leadsom and hadn’t known about Crabb’s links to an anti-LGBT religous organisation when I made my last comment. I have a feeling Gove will be seen as too divisive for the electorate outside of the Tory membership and Theresa May will be the next PM.


harry b 06.30.16 at 12:10 pm

Looks like Henry’s post had an effect!


Gav 06.30.16 at 12:12 pm

So, Boris is not just a liar, he’s a coward too, running away from the mess he helped to make.


Salem 06.30.16 at 12:50 pm

Boris isn’t having the last laugh now. Stabbed in the back by Gove – et tu Michael?

Is this an Osborne play? It seems suicidal from a Tory p.o.v.; Johnson seemed certain to win any general election, whereas Gove is poison and May is uninspiring at best.


kidneystones 06.30.16 at 2:15 pm


Ben Alpers 06.30.16 at 2:15 pm

Luckily for the Tories, the PLP is busily undermining Corbyn while failing to come up a way to get rid of him…or even to put forward an official challenger. Perhaps the Goves can give Angela Eagle some tips.


Tabasco 06.30.16 at 2:26 pm

The Conservatives are a serious political party. Boris Johnson is a clown, a buffoon, an oaf. It was never going to happen.


kidneystones 06.30.16 at 2:29 pm

@ 57 Teresa May claims a snap election is not necessary.

The (largely meaningless) Express online poll has support for May as leader at 45%.


Neville Morley 06.30.16 at 6:06 pm

A day is a long time in politics…


Neville Morley 06.30.16 at 6:07 pm

Ignore previous link and try this one


Jim Buck 06.30.16 at 6:16 pm

Boris has gone away to let someone else play the Michael Collins of English Independence. The Éamon de Valera part will be there for him later.


Dipper 06.30.16 at 6:19 pm

Neville Morley – very funny, and thanks for posting, but I resent the notion being peddled (not by you but generally elsewhere) that people voted Leave because they somehow wanted to have Johnson as Prime Minister or because they were somehow fooled by Johnson. I voted to leave the EU because I want to leave the EU.


Jim Buck 06.30.16 at 6:23 pm

Do you really think that cart would have moved so far without the donkey?


Layman 06.30.16 at 6:50 pm

“I voted to leave the EU because I want to leave the EU.”

Yes, well, you could always have left the EU. I rather think what you’ve done is to force everyone else to leave it, to.


marcel proust 06.30.16 at 8:22 pm

bianca steele: I’m also tempted to make a Blazing Saddles joke but I can’t decide which clip to link.

How about this one? I will try to embed it, but not sure that that will work, so…

It seems to me that of all scenes from that movie, this has the greatest general-purpose utility.


js. 07.01.16 at 4:37 am

So, is _anyone_ laughing right now?


alexx 07.01.16 at 4:45 am

> > “I voted to leave the EU because I want to leave the EU.”
> Yes, well, you could always have left the EU. I rather think what you’ve done is to force everyone else to leave it, to.

Could you explain this? First, do you (I don’t) know about Dipper’s situation to know for sure that there is any country that would take him/her? Somalia? Australia? Perhaps you can give your best “open-to-all” answer for a country that will accept a random (i.e. unknown: wealth/age/gender/skills) Englishman/woman who would want to escape the EU? Bonus points if can give a clear answer (e.g. one or more specific countries) and can furthermore explain the extent to which living standards, pensions, social relationships, etc, will transfer to this mysterious new home.

The remainers want to “force” everyone to (continue to) adhere to a set of EU laws
that some people don’t like (either the specifics, e.g. wrt immigration, or the principle, i.e. their – clearly – lower democratic influence on the laws and procedures). Can you make a principled distinction between this “force” and the implications of “Dipper”‘s
(in your clear opinion, selfish) position?


J-D 07.01.16 at 4:53 am


RNB 07.01.16 at 6:02 am

Trump worried about being attacked by Mexico’s Air Force today. Quote is on the front page of the NYT. Absurd.
As js notes, the Brexit fallout is not funny.


kidneystones 07.01.16 at 7:01 am

Hey, did you hear the one about the attorney-general of the United States meeting the former president and husband of the Wall St. candidate currently running for office and from an FBI investigation meeting on a private plane in Arizona?

No? Too busy goofing on Trump?

Here’s the kicker – Lynch and Bill got spent two hours on the private place discussing their shared social interests, and nothing I repeat nothing about email, especially email connecting foreign government contributions to the Clinton Foundation/Campaign fund.

Just two lawyer Democrat political high-power players getting together for a friendly chin-wag. Nothing illegal could have possibly taken place because we know that none the bad things that people have been saying about Clinton Inc. are ever true.

How do we know that? Hillary says so! So, there.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair offered to be a fair and neutral negotiator for to ensure a smooth break from Europe. Lookee! Corbyn is being held captive by his two aides!


kidneystones 07.01.16 at 7:07 am


kidneystones 07.01.16 at 7:45 am

“Pure coincidence” hours before the release of the Bengazi report and the discussions were “primarily social”. Okaay.

“The private meeting took place on the west side of Sky Harbor International Airport on board a parked private plane.Former President Clinton was visiting the Phoenix area and arrived to Sky Harbor Monday evening to depart. Sources tell ABC15 Clinton was notified Lynch would be arriving at the airport soon and waited for her arrival. Lynch was arriving in Phoenix for a planned visit as part of her national tour to promote community policing. ABC15 asked Lynch about the meeting during her news conference at the Phoenix Police Department.”I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” said Lynch.

ABC was told the meeting lasted about a ‘half hour’ and that the discussions did not cover Bengazi, the FBI investigation into Bill’s wife, or any matter currently before her office.

But oh, the time the chief prosecutor and the suspect’s powerful husband had swapping tales of grand-kids and sharing family snaps!

What other possible explanation could there be for Lynch to ‘change’ her schedule and meet with her political ally, incidentally the husband of the principal suspect in a criminal investigation involving national security and alleged bribes from foreign governments to the tune of millions?


RNB 07.01.16 at 3:11 pm

The criminal investigation was over long ago. It was a colossal waste of public money and time just as with the Congressional Benghazi investigation. Bill Clinton does not need to influence its outcome. Hillary Clinton did not send information that had been classified over the private server., and the private server was not hacked. National security was not in fact put at risk and Clinton was not criminally negligent in her handling of State Department information. This has been known for a long time.If you know something else, please share it.

So Bill Clinton wasn’t urging Loretta Lynch to drop criminal charges or offering her some quid pro quo. Hillary Clinton has already been in the clear for some time. She has already received her reprimand for not keeping up with and complying with changing cybersecurity regulations, and she has said that she made a mistake.

Bill Clinton was not influencing Ted Cruz when he had a chance meeting with him. He seems to meet with government officials in such casual encounters because he does not want them to feel slighted and disrespected. And in this case he probably could not deny himself the pleasure of Loretta Lynch’s gratitude for his having set her on the path to become Attorney General of the US. I think he gave Lynch her first federal appointment in New York.


RNB 07.01.16 at 3:19 pm

And as Lynch as pointed out the investigation has been handled by career prosecutors, not her. The conclusions have been known for some time, though the preparation of the relevant legal documents has taken some time. But we have known that Clinton will again be reprimanded and that criminal charges will not be filed.


Layman 07.01.16 at 3:20 pm

“Could you explain this?”

Yes, it was snark.


Richard Cottrell 07.01.16 at 6:05 pm

Boris didn’t know what was going on in Brussels? Nonsense. His father was a senior European Commission official dealing with environmental matters. Like me, Stanley Johnson was elected to the European Parliament, at the first open elections, in 1979, as Tory MEP’s.. Boris as I recall, was often in attendance in Strasbourg and Brussels, with Clan Johnson. In his short pants of course. The notion that he grew up in ignorance of the European project, is like something penned by the Guardian’s agony aunt, Polly Toynbee.

Richard Cottrell


alexx 07.02.16 at 2:57 am

> “Could you explain this?”

> Yes, it was snark.

Thanks. Got it. Well, not really “got it” since I don’t know what this means. You provide an insultingly stupid criticism of someone’s post, but we shouldn’t take it in the tiniest bit seriously as a critique or counter argument, since after all it was just “snark”.
Also not amusing or interesting, and besides entirely devoid of information or even opinion (witness: utter collapse if someone (i.e. me) is naive enough to try to read actual meaning into your words – foolish me for trying giving your comment that credit, how dumb can one be?!?). Apparently, you are happy with that. I have to wonder: WHY POST AT ALL? Ok, my best guess (actually only guess at this point) is that you were attempting a parodic response that perhaps the regulars here would understand, but I don’t. I.e. that you are basically endorsing “Dipper”. Could you confirm is that was your intent; I’m a bit lost otherwise. Thank you.


Suzanne 07.02.16 at 3:35 pm

@78: I have read similar stories from here in the States. That is, Johnson is well-versed in the European project and is not particularly anti-EU, personally. Which, to me, makes his conduct all the more irresponsible and unforgivable, even for one who never seems to have got out of those short pants in terms of maturity, intellectual and otherwise. I would welcome correction for those in a better position to know.

To whom much is given, much is expected, etc., although the ruling classes of our day on both sides of the water don’t seem to take that dictum terribly seriously.


Layman 07.02.16 at 4:11 pm

alexx: ‘Well, not really “got it” since I don’t know what this means.’

I understand. I could have said that dipper voted for Brexit because he’s either a bigot or a fool, but we’ve been around that circle too many times before, and I took it as understood that this was my view. Given that, the votes of bigots and fools will have brought a whole lot of unnecessary suffering on their fellow Brits, to no useful purpose at all. How much better if the bigots and fools had voted with their feet! (<— This bit was the snark)


Look in the mirror, ask yourself that question.


Dipper 07.02.16 at 4:40 pm


What seems to have happened with the EU is a lot of people have adopted a particular political stance as a badge of identity. Voting to remain in the EU shows they are caring, intelligent, internationalist, multicultural people. Voting to leave the EU shows people are uneducated, knuckle-dragging racist bigots.

However, unlike buying a particular brand of drink or reading a particular book, the EU is an actual institution that behaves in a particular way. It ignores democratic elections, and replaces governments it doesn’t like. It puts a ring round the countries in it and is highly restrictive to anyone from outside moving in. It pursues an economic policies that clearly can have only one result – the impoverishment of many people. It shows contempt for opinions other than its own.

However these irritating facts are no problem for the Remainer – lets just invent an EU we can all be proud of! We will reform the EU to make it all the things we would like it to be!

Of all the lies told in the EU referendum debate, the Reformed EU was the biggest one of the lot. Remainers believed it because they wanted to believe it. The only way they could square their opinion of themselves with the reality of the EU was by pretending they were going to change the EU.

Fortunately for the young and gullible, millions of old people watched in disgust as the EU overturned referendum results it didn’t like, looked in horror as Greece was internationally humiliated, saw David Cameron come back from his negotiations with absolutely nothing, and heard Jean Claude Junker loud and clear when he said “There will be no reform of the EU”.

It will take a few years but you will thank me for saving you from your hubris and self-deception.


Rich Puchalsky 07.02.16 at 4:49 pm

“However these irritating facts are no problem for the Remainer – lets just invent an EU we can all be proud of! We will reform the EU to make it all the things we would like it to be!”

Sometimes Dipper writes things that seem to me to be true. The above is one of those times. (The rest of his comment has a lot of things that aren’t one of those times.) I see no evidence for the idea that the EU is reformable or that the left has any known path towards reforming it. Mostly the Remain people seem to operate by denial, which does not really make them convincing internationalists.

I can understand this. Even if the EU is the lesser evil to a more xenophobic Britain, it’s hard to make a full-throated defense of lesser evil while admitting that it is still evil. But for as long as the left has nothing better to offer it had better get used to doing this.


Layman 07.02.16 at 4:51 pm

dipper: “Voting to leave the EU shows people are uneducated, knuckle-dragging racist bigots.”

The Leave campaign was 1) explicitly bigoted and racist, 2) tendentious, and 3) vague to the point of deception on the details of execution. Polls show that bigots were much more likely to vote Leave. This doesn’t mean that everyone who voted Leave is a bigot, but that only eliminates (1). If you’re not a bigot, then you fell for the lies, and ignored the obvious fact that the Leave leadership had no idea what they were doing. Thus a fool.


Dipper 07.02.16 at 5:12 pm

Layman – Ha. Politicians tell lies all the time. The lies you need to worry about are not the obvious ones told by the opposition but the ones told by your side which you really want to believe are true.

This wasn’t a general election. People were not standing for election to government. They weren’t putting a full plan in front of the people with cabinet members etc. The government asked me a question, and I answered it. If the government weren’t prepared to live with my answer, they shouldn’t have asked.

“Polls show that bigots were much more likely to vote Leave”. This is an interesting question, particularly in the light of the observed increase in racist attacks. Is it the case that when someone votes, they should not vote for something they believe in strongly if there is a chance that people over whom they have no control will do something bad as a result? There is some obvious moral hazard here.

To get back to the OP, I didn’t vote Leave because of anything Boris Johnson said, or for that matter anything Nigel Farage said or Michael Gove said. I voted to leave because of what Jean-Claude Junker said.


Layman 07.02.16 at 8:00 pm

“The government asked me a question, and I answered it. If the government weren’t prepared to live with my answer, they shouldn’t have asked.”

See? A fool, plainly.


kidneystones 07.03.16 at 10:53 am

@ 85 You’re not having a good day.

On the harry b’s thread you proved yourself utterly ignorant of the basic dynamics of the vote – suggesting that the Conservative party was essentially Remain, and then ‘asking’ what party might support a do-over of the vote.

You don’t know what the f@ck you’re talking about. Period.

A lot of Americans know a lot about what’s going on outside your borders.
You’re clearly not one of them. We don’t have time to list even a portion of what you don’t know about the UK. Read a book. There are some good ones.


Layman 07.04.16 at 11:58 am

“…suggesting that the Conservative party was essentially Remain, and then ‘asking’ what party might support a do-over of the vote.”

I don’t think either of those characterizations are reasonable or true. I’d ask you to produce quotes to justify them, with the idea that you’d look at what I wrote again and realize you’ve been unfair, but I’m aware you don’t actually possess the character for that sort of thing. So, never mind!


Jim Buck 07.04.16 at 12:28 pm

No you are right, kidneystones are neither reasonable nor true–whichever side of the pond they are viewed from. Boris babes abound.


novakant 07.04.16 at 1:30 pm

The government asked me a question, and I answered it. If the government weren’t prepared to live with my answer, they shouldn’t have asked.

Layman should have added “completely irresponsible crank” to his list.

I see no evidence for the idea that the EU is reformable

Maybe that’s because you don’t know what you’re talking about.


Jim Buck 07.04.16 at 2:36 pm

The public mood on the day of Diana’s funeral drew comparison with the mood reported on the day Charles 1st was executed. Similar tense remorse today as the Article 50 axe waits propped in the corner.

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