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Boris’s puddle of bother

By October 15, 2004News

Has Boris stepped in his first muddy puddle? The Spectator’s editorial today highlights the “wallowing” pity Liverpudlians are currently in over the fate of Ken Bigley, and many consider the views are beyond the pale. Boris has always spoken his mind, for right or for wrong. The Scotsman comes out with all guns blazing in this article, hinting that Boris’s political days are numbered. Even Tory leader Michael Howard has denounced the article. However, it seems that in fact many agree with Boris and the comments left by visitors to this BBC article tell a different story. The majority of commenters support Boris, and feel that again he has spoken for the silent majority. There’s further support at Is this just a case of “the truth hurts”?
I’ll leave the final word to one of those commenters, K. Georges from Liverpool itself: “Just because you don’t agree with his views doesn’t mean he should resign. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?” Quite.


  • Aaron Brown says:

    I have to say I support said editorial.
    As Boris has said, no offence was intended, and although I haven’t read it yet, it seems obvious to me that it could have been written a little better. Still, it does make a perfectly fair and legitimate point.

  • Andrew Denny says:

    I’m a stiff-upper-lip Brit, so I’m four-square with uncle Boris. A bit dodgy of him to lump all of Merseyside in with the touch-feely drips, though. Almost any city in modern England would have had the same critical mass of wets, and I’m sure quite a few sickbags were quietly being passed around the city’s pubs and firesides.

    More amusingly, just how many Liverpudlians buy the Spectator? And is the magazine likely to notice any boycott by them?

  • Joe Robinson says:

    The BBC Liverpool Messageboard (See Below)
    generally has more messages posted on it than any other. Many Liverpudlians are garrulous and well informed about the issues that matter to them. Obviously, opinions expressed in The Spectator would not come high on their list of priorities. Whilst BJ is entitled to his opinion, he has (in this case), been badly informed. Linking Hillsborough with the Bigley case is just plain silly. It is only natural for the citizens of Mr Bigley’s hometown to mourn his wretched death. Boris has already apologised, but some of the anti Liverpool comments on the BBC website are just ignorant and bigoted. Liverpool , (like lots of other places) is great!

  • John says:

    Funny how the Labour MP’s are demanding an immediate apology, yet Blair won’t give one after like a year of lying to us about the war.

  • Joe Robinson says:

    Where is the courage of your convictions Boris? –
    Enough said.

    Liverpool Echo reports.

    Editor to apologise over city slur Oct 16 2004

    The Spectator editor, Boris Johnson, has been ordered by Tory leader Michael Howard to go to Liverpool to apologise for an article in his magazine accusing its people of “wallowing” in their “victim status”.

    Mr Johnson, who is also the Conservative shadow minister for the arts, said he would be travelling to the city next week in a “spirit of complete humility” to apologise in person for the offence caused.

    Mr Johnson, the MP for Henley-on-Thames admitted that he had received a “tremendous kick in the pants” from Mr Howard, but said he had been “stunned” by the reaction to the article.

    There was a furious outcry in the city after the magazine’s leader article criticised its “extreme reaction” to the killing in Iraq of the British hostage Kenneth Bigley…

    Mr Johnson said today: “I have been stunned by the hurt this article has caused. I will be going as soon as I can next week to apologise in person for the offence I have caused, and to listen in a spirit of complete humility to local people,” he said…

    In a statement today, [Michael Howard] said: “I cut my political teeth in Liverpool and have long had great admiration and affection for its people. I have asked Boris Johnson to visit Liverpool next week and to apologise in person.”

  • Iain Guiterrez says:

    Being from Merseyside, I hadn’t even heard of the Spectator until the article came out. I haven’t read and don’t think I ever will; not that I’m choosing to boycott it because of Boris Johnson’s article (which it has to be said, in the case of Ken Bigley at least, is somewhat accurate), but simply because I’ve never heard of it and I’ve never seen it on sale anywhere. I daresay Boris and his fox-hunting, tally-ho-ing, double-barrelled chums at said publication won’t be too hard hit by any Merseyside boycott, eh what?

  • Michael says:

    In the essentials, Boris, you are right over the Bigley situation. People appear unable to read plain English, I have no public school education but I understood what you were saying.

    Opinions count for nothing unless they agree with the reader.


  • Paul says:

    Surely I cannot be the only person in the country to want to praise Boris Johnson for his courage in saying this. How Liverpudlians do like to feel sorry for themselves in matters such as these!

    I am afraid that I only feel symapthy for Kenneth Bigley’s family during this time. I wonder how often they asked, NO BEGGED, Mr Bigley to leave Iraq during the war. I would be prepared to bet every last penny I will ever earn that his family were constantly trying to persuade him to leave the country, especially in the latter days of the war before his capture. But he for some reason was unwilling or even too stubborn to leave. No one person that I know would visit Iraq in the current climate for all the money in the world!

    How embarrassing that Briain should have spent so much time concetrating on Mr Bigley and his misfotune. What about all the other hostages that have lost their lives in such horrific manners. What about the two other hostages captured with Mr Bigley. Where is the outcry of support for them and their families????

    It was obvious from the start that Mr Bigley would eventually lose his life at the hands of these monsters.

    The terrorists were toying with the West’s Leaders, public and press with this. Seeing how much publicity they could drag out of this for themselves. We”ll, i am sure that everyone can agree, they achieved their aim in this respect!

  • gentlereader says:

    Who in the UK has heard of Fabrizio Quattrocchi? Anybody?

  • John says:

    An italian hostage that was killed earlier this year.

  • Wibbler says:

    Good point, gentlereader…

  • John says:

    Why though must Liverpool make it out as their exclusive loss, it isn’t like Liverpool is suddenly it’s own country and UK shouldn’t feel as hard done by as them. It is a tragic loss, but sometimes people go way over the top with things.

  • David Colbran says:

    Anyone know where Boris is going to appear in Liverpool – supposedly today?


  • adam says:


  • Richard says:

    Spot on Boris – if I hear one more comment about books of condolence I shall throw up. Its pathetic. Grow up you fools and let the families grieve without you sticking your attention seeking noses in.

    btw – Good luck in Liverpool Boris!!

  • grahame says:

    Spot on Boris. Just a shame your pathetic Tory leader made you apologise. Outpourings of public grief sicken me. Sh** happens and one man’s death is no more worthy of grief than any other person. Why the hell do the Ken Bigley brigade think he is so more deserving of two minutes silence than anyone else who is murdered, dies in unexpected circumstances, or simply keels over in the street.

  • “I do know that I’m responsible not for what happens but what I make of it”

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