So many gaffes! Maybe so many that we need to stop calling them “gaffes”! Blunderous BoJo, what ever shall we do with him? We all make slip ups sometimes. But the former foreign secretary, who today will become our PM, has had his fair share of headlines surrounding Alleged Accusations Of “Racially Charged” Race-Related Comments Reportedly Said By Some To Be Motivated By Race. Or as we like to call it: racism.
He’s also ventured into misogyny and classism in his time – and over the weekend became part of a conversation around the rise of the far-right, led by David Lammy. In the name of the public record, we took a deep dive and pulled together a comprehensive history of times Boris has really, really fucked up. Chronologically. Buckle up!
- In his 2002 column in the Spectator, Boris penned an article titled: “Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism”.
- In the piece, Boris described the continent as a “blot” and suggested that it would be better off if it was colonised again, writing: “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more…the best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”
- In 2002, in a column in the Telegraph, BoJo described black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
- In 2004, Boris was asked to apologise to Liverpudlians after writing in the Spectator that they were “wallowing” in “victim status” after the Hillsborough disaster. Boris said those who lived in the city needed to acknowledge the role played “by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground”.
- In the 2005 leadership contest, bumbling BoJo said “voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3”.
- Boris described Papua New Guineans as prone to “cannibalism” and “chief-killing” in his column in the Telegraph in 2006.
- Boris blamed rising house prices on women graduates in his Spectator column in 2007. It’s almost as if people should stop giving him columns.
- In the same article, he managed to wrap classism into sexism, writing: “The result is that in families on lower incomes the women have absolutely no choice but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become hoodies, NEETS, and mug you on the street corner.”
- Also in 2007, BoJo described Hillary Clinton as looking like a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.
- In 2008, Boris allowed a piece to be printed that claimed black people have lower IQs, under his editorship at the Spectator. “Orientals…have larger brains and higher IQ scores,” the piece read. “Blacks are at the other pole.”
- London assembly member Jennette Arnold accused BoJo of all-round sexist conduct in 2012, arguing that he generally treats women assembly members in a “disrespectful, patronising” way that was different to the men.
- In 2013, Boris suggested that the increase in Malaysian women going to university was down to the fact that they have “got to find men to marry”. Groans were reportedly heard from Malaysian women in the audience.
- Boris dabbled as a wordsmith in 2016 when he wrote a poem about the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “There was a young fellow from Ankara / Who was a terrific wankerer / Till he sowed his wild oats / With the help of a goat / But he didn’t even stop to thankera.” Boris won a £1,000 poetry prize for the limerick.
- In a Tory party conference speech in 2016, Boris claimed that “the values of global Britain are needed more than ever” and that British “beliefs” are necessary to “lift the world out of poverty”.
- In the same speech, he called Africa a “country”.
- After Barack Obama suggested that the UK should remain in the EU, BoJo said that the then-president should stay out of the conversation as he was “part-Kenyan” and had an “ancestral dislike” for the UK.
- In 2017, Boris met with Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, a self-described “platform for the alt-right”.
- Boris also apologised to political prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe in 2017 after saying she was in Iran “training journalists”, when she was in fact on holiday. He was accused of risking adding an extra five years to her time in prison due to the mistake.
- Boris was asked to apologise after referring to Emily Thornberry using her husband’s name to ridicule her in the commons in early 2018.
- Last summer, Boris wrote in his column in the Telegraph that the burqa was “oppressive and ridiculous”, comparing Muslim women to “bank-robbers” and “letterboxes”.
What a silly bumbling, potential Prime Minister he is. Good thing people’s views don’t tend to have an impact on their policies or anything.
Part of gal-dem’s Bad Politicians series. Read further here.