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Boris – The Aftermath

By October 19, 2004News

It’s been a few days since the metaphorical lynching of our dear Boris, and many of the kneejerk reactions will now have been put to rest. The visits to Boriswatch have increased threefold, the comments and forum posts on Boriswatch have been measured and considered, and all in all Boris seems to have a lot more support both here and on other websites than is being reported.
On top of the Boriswatch input, I’ve found that people – both who I know and who are complete strangers to me – have asked my opinion on Boris’s faux pas, and also on his future. It seems that many care what happens to Boris, such is his support. I’ve wondered whether I should put my thoughts in writing – mainly because I see so many ill-informed people recklessly giving opinions, and I didn’t really want to become another one. But, I thought as I lay back and sipped my cocoa, I run Boriswatch, and I have a duty to update and provoke discussion. So, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d stick my oar in, put my thoughts to paper and spout forth, with one proviso – that, like many others who have commented publicly on the issue, I don’t know Boris. I’ve no idea of the extraneous factors that may be involved. I’ve no idea what it’s like to be an editor, an MP or a media personality, least of all all three. But I think I know what the public thinks – and they will ultimately decide Boris’s fate.
Boris has enjoyed huge success in all areas of his career, causing more than a few jealous detractors in the media and in politics. He is feted by many for higher things – and this is based not only on his obvious intelligence. He has an ability to talk a great deal of common sense, and convey his thoughts in a way that both entertains and informs. This in itself is a rare talent.
But his journalistic genius is at odds with political life. The two professions have, to put it mildly, a history. Journalists comment on politicians; the two should, by rights, be mutually exclusive. Boris has managed magnificently to balance the two careers he holds most dear. He has stumbled. From now on The Spectator, a publication always meant to enrage and inform, will be constantly monitored by opponents for further transgressions. That cannot be good for Boris or for the freedom of The Spectator.
I have no doubt that Boris will bounce back. The outpouring of support in response to Liverpudlian attacks of the last few days goes to show that many people believe in him. He is frankly the best prospect the Conservative Party has, and let’s face it, if any politician is likely to survive a public mauling it’s Boris. As he said a few days ago, “I’m simultaneously clinging on and coming out fighting.” The public on the whole love him, and the odd transgression is more than countered by the pleasure and common-sense he has put forward over the years. He is widely acknowledged as a shining light in two professions with dull and mendacious reputations, and for that the whole country should salute him. I, for one, would love him to continue as he always has, being a popular media figure and using that to liven up the political spectrum.
There’s been talk in the media that he cannot possibly be giving his multitude of jobs their full attention. I disagree. All areas of his career were blossoming before this episode, and he has proved himself a very able man. In a few months, he’ll be back as big as ever. But after the embers of this episode have died down, one simple, blunt question remains – a question that I and countless others really hate to ask. In the current politically correct climate, can Boris continue to ride two horses with one arse? I hope he can – but this has made it just that little bit more difficult.
UPDATE: Boris responds to the Spectator article on his website


  • melissa says:


    I really like your analysis and comment on this whole embroglio.

    Let’s hope that Boris returns unscathed from his visit to the North West this week!


  • Joe Robinson says:

    If you look at the comments criticising Boris on the BBC site, by no means all are from Liverpool!
    Boris has now admitted the Bigley/ Hillsborough comments in the editorial stereotyping Liverpudlians were unwise. So I’ll give him some credit for that. I’m from Liverpool myself, and the comments upset me a little. As the great Ken Dodd has said ‘Liverpudlians live their lives in higher gear than most people…They get very emotional and think with their hearts not their heads.'(What about Evertonians – Ken ? – Only kiddin’.)

    A generalisation of course! But if that’s what Boris was getting at, then why all this rubbish about ‘whingeing scousers’. Perhaps this ‘English’ perception is born of out of the fact that many people call Liverpool ‘the Capital of Ireland’. Liverpudlians on the other hand, often think of it as the Capital of Itself. Does that clarify things?

  • John says:

    There must be some truth in what he said though or otherwise so many people wouldn’t agree with him.

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  • Joe Robinson says:

    The TRUTH of the matter is that Liverpudlians are generally a bit fed up with people knocking the City. Critics are usually ill informed , using a mixture of half truths & LIES. It has been going on for years. Is this to be another forum in the ongoing saga (yawn) of let’s get the scousers? Even your mate Boris has backtracked.

    For some reaction see:

  • James says:

    Er… let’s not tar all of us in the North West to the same brush as those in Liverpool, eh Melissa? 😉

    We’re not all going to make a move on his wheels whilst he’s apologising…

  • Sam C says:

    I’m also from Liverpool, am a teenager, and a Tory. A rare breed indeed! I was also one of the few who read the article before the media picked up the hype. I was enjoying the article as it relected some of things i’d been saying since Dianas death, and was even more interested in it as it began to focus on my city. I was surprised however that the editorial dared to generalise an entire city in a negative way. That was wrong and foolish. A lot of the criticism of it since then though has also been wrong and foolish. It seems everyone needs to be more sensitive to the details in this game!

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  • Joe Robinson says:

    Anyone who supports Boris and then makes a cheapskate remark about Liverpudlians and robbed wheels has already lost the argument. At least BJ came to Liverpool and apologised. If James came up to the ‘Pool spouting his ignorant vitriol, I’m sure he could be gently persuaded to keep his pathetic opinions to himself.

  • ben says:

    That’s called a JOKE JR, don’t throw all your toys out of the cot now there’s a love.

  • Joe Robinson says:

    A Joke. Give us a break! We’ve heard these jokes a thousand times. ZZZzzz…They’re just repetitive & boring. Just grow up!

    See BBC comments below.

    BBC News | ENTERTAINMENT | Comic Relief from Scouse jokes
    Scouse jokes are no laughing matter if you come from from Liverpool – the charity
    Comic Relief have donated money to help change the city’s image. …

    Kevin Bocquet finds out why Merseyside is the butt of so many jokes

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