2007 - 2021

A Nasty Piece of Work

Boris Johnson faces a proper journalist for a change. If you haven’t seen this classic interview with Eddie Mair you should watch it now. It raises significant issues about the new Foreign Secretary’s integrity and character.

Comments (25)

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  1. James Coleman says:

    Boris Johnson really is a stupid idiot. He dosen’t appear to realise he’s in an interview set up to denigrate him. Thinks it is all a big joke and tries to con and joke and bluster his way out of every serious question.
    And this is the man Tories STILL think he is their great white hope for the future.

  2. James Coleman says:

    Boris Johnson really is a stupid idiot. He dosen’t appear to realise he’s in an interview set up to denigrate him. Thinks it is all a big joke and tries to con and joke and bluster his way out of every serious question.
    And this is the man Tories STILL think he is their great white hope for the future.

    1. Connor McEwen says:



  3. Neil lepick says:

    May is giving him the job so everyone can see how big a fool he is. Enough rope to hang himself and she is the in the clear because she gave him a chance. Smart move???

    1. Graham King says:

      On the contrary, I think -if we grant for argument’s sake that the sceptical view of Boris Johnson’s character and capabilities has merit – then Theresa May’s appointing him is arguably a stupid and irresponsible move that puts Tory in-party realpolitik above the interests of the UK.

      I hope that the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour will duly highlight this folly.

      What Prime Minister in their right mind would appoint – in this time of our national need and such upheaval re the EU as we face – to the key role of Foreign Secretary, a man widely regarded both at home and abroad as a buffoon, intending or expecting as likely the possibility that he will be seen publicly to fail?

      Either May really believes Johnson is competent and sound (in the face of a fair amount of evidence and public opinion), or she definitely does not, or she simply doesn’t know.
      Any of those three scenarios would make his appointment questionable at best, and at worst wilfully reckless, would they not?

  4. Mach1 says:

    Great white dope, more like. The fooling hides nothing, not his burning ambition, his willingness to do what it takes to secure his position and the patronage of the powerful, nor the simple fact that his apparent bumptiousness is a front for a very calculating politician. He is difficult to dislike on a personal basis, but would appear to be as far away from “a safe pair of hands” as it is possible to imagine when it comes to filling the FO job. So why did May put him there? To see him crash and burn, methinks. Look on the bright side, Boris, who will still be welcome on Have I Got News For You, as the laughter grows about the fiasco which is the May cabinet and its incompetence.

  5. James Mills says:

    I think the questioning by Eddie Mair took him by surprise .
    He ( Boris ) is part of the establishment elite and has been feather-bedded and coddled throughout his life . He has never really had to face up to the reality of the things he says or does ( apart from being forced to apologise , reluctantly to the people of Liverpool for his crass remarks ) and has always assumed that when interviewed by a Paxman or by a MSM journo that they will never put difficult questions of a personal nature to him – and , on the whole they didn’t .

    The comments by Eddie Mair on his unseemly personal life took him by surprise as ” a decent chap wouldn’t do that to another chap . Would he ? ” Boris has been sheltered from harsh criticism like this all his life and , when put on the spot , couldn’t charm or bluster his way out .
    It is worth noting that very seldom has the content of this interview been used against him despite the unsavoury nature of some of it . Protected by his pals in the media / establishment , no doubt .

  6. Veronique says:

    This interview is obviously well long gone. Cameron did win, Borrie decided to tackle him and left London for Westminster and has had to suffer his own Ides of March moment.

    Now he’s back as Foreign Secretary. FFS!! I don’t believe the Maybug is that naive. She knows that he will crash and burn and, importantly, not be able to mount a challenge to her while ever he’s traipsing around the globe. Instead, he will underscore the collective world’s opinion that the UK is still, and wishes to remain so, the laughing stock of any adult economy on the planet.

    I seriously doubt that Borrie can rein himself in and behave with probity.

  7. bringiton says:

    I’ll bet he is not pleased about the post he was forced to take.
    The alternative was to be seen as someone who ran away from his responsibilities and political oblivion to follow.
    This way,he still has a chance of the top job,provided he is a good little boy and does what Mummy tells him.

    1. Veronique says:

      Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. You could well be right. He would not have been able to reject the post he was ‘offered’. He was probably told by the Maybug to pull his diplomatic socks up or suffer the very public slings and arrows of the international community and press.

      Also a clever way of keeping him on his diplomatic toes and out of her immediate field of vision. Sigh – it is so difficult to try to disentangle the mind(s) of politicians. Devious as Machiavelli and as naive as Rupert Bear.

  8. JohnEdgar says:

    He has already failed. May is not setting him up to fail; she was/is a closet Engxit. Not expecting to be in this position, who could she choose?
    Yet, she chose Boris. What does this say about May?
    EBC adulation aside, the new Cabinet is an amalgam of opposites and oddballs. All on the loopy fringe of Toryism.
    Boris, Leadsom, Hammond, Fallon, Fox!!!, Rudd…..
    And May herself. Unknown, inspire of the flat hagiographic dredged up ramblings from the EBC journos.
    You could not make it up. It is the Boris appointment that makes one speechless! No integrity, mocking, condescending, sees others as inferior, makes gaffs that make HRH Duke of Edinburgh look saintly. And Boris is the outreach into the world on our behalf?!
    Why would May set these jokers up to fail? She also goes down if they”fail”.
    It reflects on her inner mentality and approach. It’s nice setting up a Cabinet, it’s like being in the Brownies!!

  9. Mungo says:

    I don’t know … I’m a Scottish Nationalist to the core , I’m 43 and have never voted anything other than SNP and won’t until independence is realised, But . I quite like the guy ! Lol ! He seemed to me to come across in that interview as a human being ? He had been put on the spot a bit and tried to answer some pretty awkward questions. I bet there’s plenty questions that could be asked of you or me that we wouldn’t fancy, or that without a proper opertunity to respond in detail, could misrepresent the type of person we are ?
    Anyway Probs get slaughtered for that opinion ? Lol

    1. Heidstaethefire says:

      You’re wn’t get slaughtered, but you might need counselling.

    2. Duncan says:

      Mungo, I admire your temerity for not singing from the same songsheet as everyone else.And as predicted being slaughtered for it. Independence of mind was, and still is, hailed as a quality amongst Scots. But I fear your appeal for consideration as an SNP voter attenuates this claim and and at the same time amplifies the first signs of Orwellian thought crime.

      1. Mungo says:

        ha ha, hope not ! 🙂

        1. Duncan says:

          oh aye, nearly forgot, my ain opinion. What wiz that shite I wiz sayïn’aboot independence of mind in Scotland…yi woodnae fuckin’dare in the shithole I grew up in, fi fear ay getting your mooth punched.

  10. Habib Steele says:

    I’m watching The Late Debate on ITV. Discussion of the appointment of Boris as Foreign Secretary. every party represented except the 3rd largest party in the UK Parliament, The Scottish National Party. That’s how much Scotland and Scottish views matter in the UK regarding foreign affairs.

  11. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    The interview repeats so much of what is already known about Mr Johnson, some of which, the Darius Guppy story, has been in the public domain for years. For many of us, including myself, it is incomprehensible why this man continues to achieve high offices, continues to get pretty positive publicity, and continues to be seen by many, such as Mungo (if he is what he claims to be), as likeable, lovable, ‘a card’. Recently, I did a charity cycle ride in London and met and accompanied a fellow Glaswegian, who had lived in London for many years and worked in a professional medical capacity within the NHS. Never having met before and unlikely (not due to any disagreeableness) to meet again, we had a pleasant chat and congenial lunch over the 40 miles of our trip. I was astounded to find that this person considered Mr Johnson to have been an ‘outstanding Mayor of London”. The person did not want Mr Johnson to be PM, but considered him an asset. We did not fall out, just agreed to differ on this single point.
    I cannot understand why he has been appointed Foreign Secretary. I cannot see what he brings to the job. He is obviously a highly intelligent and well educated person, but his interest is himself. The supportive article in the Telegraph, by a former ambassador and chum of Mr Johson senior, was a bit of public school Oxbridge flannel displaying the sense of entitlement this clique has. I am currently rereading Robert Graves’ ‘Goodbye to all that’, and I feel that while he may have said goodbye, his class has blithely continued.

    1. Duncan says:


      just to confirm your point here. Are you excluding Mr Johnson as FS on class grounds?

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:


        No, not on class grounds. The point I am making is that Mr Johnson, Mr Cameron, and others of similar backgrounds have a sense of entitlement to senior positions in civil society. The tenor of the Telegraph’s encomium on Mr Johnson conveyed that impression.

        I am genuinely bewildered as to why so many people seem to think Mr Johnson is suitable for high office.

        1. duncan says:


          I think Eddie Mair tries to score cheap points. He fails to appreciate the self deprecating irony of Johnson’s humour. I think the person who posted this has entirely missed the point, as has Eddie Mair, in misinterpreting the hyperbole and wit of Johnson. It seemed like a pretty messy witch hunt gone wrong to me and the bullish Mair comes out bruised and diminished. Another point, I am not sure what the qualities are supposed to be for high office, i’d be interested to know someone who you would be prepared to offer as a standard?

          1. Wow. That’s a very low bar for public office.

  12. duncan says:

    Dear Editor

    the question still remains, can you put someone up? I am also a little bit puzzled by your reverence to public office as a lofty position? It comes across as a little bit pious. Anyway, please give a good example so I can see where you are coming from.

  13. Alasdair Macdonald says:


    There is no doubt that Mr Johnson has a measure of wittiness, but no more than some other MPs, although the number who are prepared to say anything original or outwith the tight bounds of ‘acceptable’ opinion is greatly diminished. Apart from Mr Corbyn, none of the other four had the courage to say anything which gave a glimmer of originality. Indeed, most of what we learned of their fairly trite opinions, was from statements made about them by press officers or ‘friendly’ journalists.

    I disagree with your view of Eddie Mair. I have been aware of him since he was a relatively minor reporter on BBC Scotland, based in Dundee. Already, despite the straitjacket the BBC puts on its reporters, wit and originality were evident, perhaps because much more of his broadcasting was on radio, and McLuhan’s view was that it was a ‘hotter’ medium. Despite the many nastinesses and faux pas, which would have led to excoriation in the media of other politicians, Mr Johnson gets a remarkable amount of publicity – so much, that he is usually referred to only by his first name – which simply ignores his previous misconduct. Mr Mair, I felt, was particularly challenging and rightly so, but he is also very witty and certainly outdid Mr Johnson.

    You asked me to identify someone whom I would consider suitable for the post which Mr Johnson now holds. In the current situation, such a person would have to come from the current Conservative MPs. There are few who easily suggest themselves. Mr Hammond, perhaps, but he was made Chancellor. Mr Davies is another. Beyond that, I would be struggling. Indeed, in the current Parliament, only Mr Alex Salmond has the internationalist perspective and statesmanship who could bring gravitas to the job.

    Compared to the period between the end of WW2 and the millennium the correct crop of Westminster politicians is remarkably undistinguished. There were some bampots during the period I have mentioned, but looking back over previous Labour and Conservative Foreign Secretaries, there were several, whom I felt had a grasp of the nuances of international politics and the necessary diplomacy. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that several had served in WW2 or had been politicians during the war or the subsequent Cold War. I know Mr Johnson is well versed in the politics of the classical world, and, perhaps has imbibed some of the lessons therein, but, I do not see him as someone who should hold elected office, even at Council level, but clearly a number of my fellow citizens disagree. I suspect that many of them vote for him to show their contempt for the self serving clique in Westminster and the journalistic and lobbying succumb us which feeds on it.

  14. Pogliaghi says:

    Compelled to point out one thing: grouping Boris with Trump and Farage as a sort of thicko, post-truth media neo-demagogue is flat out wrong. The guy speaks five languages and recites Homer in the original. He is clearly not (inherently) lazy or stupid compared to the likes of Trump, who, in the opinion of his ghost-writer recently expressed in the New Yorker, has “never finished a book in his life”. Therefore, if the point of highlighting Johnson’s ruthless ambition is to argue that he shouldn’t be underestimated, then let’s not underestimate him.

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