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Boris’s Mersey Mission

By October 20, 2004News

Well, the media storm, with any luck, has passed. Today a prostrate Boris, still plainly suffering from his well-discussed flu, endured a Liverpool who really didn’t want him there.
I’ve no idea if Boris takes an interest in this site, although I know that those close to him do. But I would hope he knows that the great majority of those that have commented on this have been supportive of either the main thrust of the leader article, or the right to free speech. Take the BBC News “Your Views” section, where hundreds almost exclusively backed Boris Johnson. Take the comments on the two (one, two) most recent posts on, where the comments are again almost exclusively in support of Boris.
Your Boriswatch host has been sifting through the media available from his visit, and I can say with certainty that Boris couldn’t have done any better. The most telling piece is his radio interview (available to watch on this BBC page, about thirty lines down). The first worrysome part: when Boris said that Michael Howard was wrong to criticise the piece in it’s entirety, and carried on to say that Howard had “plainly not read it properly”. This is either the sign of a defiant Boris who knows that his political job is safe, or a sign that Boris and Howard are not the best of friends.
The second moment was when Paul Bigley, Ken’s brother, called in. Now, for the second time in as many days I may get a little controversial. Of course the whole Bigley saga was awful to watch, and must have been infinitely worse for his family. Paul Bigley will have gone through Hell during that time, and deserves our sympathy. However, that does not exclude him from any criticism. His comments on the show were a disgrace, and bordered on schoolground bullying. He called him a “self-centred, pompous idiot”, before belittling Boris about his appearance and waffling manner. Self-centred? Evidence please. And also, while you’re at it, evidence for how his appearance and waffling manner have in any way ruined Boris’s popularity.
Paul Bigley has let his emotions cloud his words, and has given the media a soundbite to attack Boris with. He has also handed the Prime Minister, a man whose decisions have led to Ken Bigley’s death, a golden opportunity to trample over the brightest rising star on the opposition benches. As a forum poster commented, “I hope it made [Paul] feel better.”
The end of the radio phone-in saw a downcast Boris, saying the “maybe Paul Bigley was right, that I should disappear”. I trust, Boris, that you are joking. By all means have a rest – you need it – but we need a colourful, witty and intelligent public figure to brighten up our screens, and you’re just the man. Get well soon – and don’t let the b*stards get you down.


  • John says:

    Why should Boris disappear? It was ultimatly Blair’s decision to go to war, and his lack of doing anything that led to Mr Bigley being killed, yet he thanks Mr Blair etc…. Outragous. And he never wants to see Boris again, and should go and do something in the private sector? Well, I am fed up of seeing the Bigley family like they are the only family whose brother,son etc…. has been killed. You watch, they’ll get knighted now…..

  • stephen says:

    paul bigley may have been upset but you can hardly argue with 100% accurate description of boris.perhaps if boris kept had a small fraction of mr bigleys perception he wouldnt find himself in this position.

  • stephen says:

    after reading the following page why am i not surprised. especially after all your waffle about your love of free speech.

  • Jaclyn says:

    much support for Boris. Its not like he is the only person to have said anything about Ken Bigley is it?? Billy ‘i wish they’d hurry up and do it’ Connely. Everyone makes mistakes, just so happens that this wasn’t an easily glossed over mistake. i agree with the other comment aswell, its stupid really, and the Bigley family certainly aren’t the only people in their situation. im just sorry that what happened happened in the first place because the Bigley family or Boris would never have been in this situation……. Cheers Blair

  • Bob says:

    The only mistake Boris Johnson made was to criticise the people of Liverpool when in fact the main culprits must be the local media, in particular BBC and Granada TV. They were still broadcasting the appeals made by the Bigly family days after Ken Bigley was murdered. This in my opinion was grotesque.

  • Andrew Denny says:

    I sent the following to the Jeremy Vine show, R2:

    My sympathies are entirely with Boris Johnson.

    In the fuzzy images from Iraq, we saw a British man turn into a snivelling coward who tried to sell his country’s interests for his own life. I would probably have done the same in Bigley’s position, but I would not want it turned into a media circus and I would not want anyone to feel pity and sympathy for me. I would hope the media could suppress my shame at having to grovel for my life.

    By posturing at Boris Johnson, Paul Bigley has simply highlighted himself as the brother of a snivelling coward who let down his own country in his indignity.

    Shame on Paul Bigley. Boris Johnson had to tell the truth on his behalf.

    Andrew Denny
    Aylsham, Norfolk

  • DM Andy says:

    It’s odd that after a great post defending Boris from Paul Bigley’s words you spoil it all by taking a cheap shot at Blair.

    Whatever you think about Iraq, it is clear that Kenneth Bigley was doing something that he knew was dangerous and the only people that bear the guilt of his death are the people who abducted and killed him.

  • Wibbler says:

    DM Andy,

    I suppose it’s the natural urge to want to get some blame to stick to Tony Blair. He’s not called Teflon Tony for nothing… I agree that Ken was out there risking his life for financial reward – and therefore the architect of his own downfall – but I suppose my mind was linking the reason the lucrative opportunities are out there to Tony and George’s beautiful decision to flatten another country for peace.

  • DM Andy says:

    Thanks for the reply Wibbler, it’s just that some comments that I hear from the blogosphere echo the comments I heard in the 80s about Thatcher. I agree with the Spectator leader(although not the inaccuracies about Hillsborough), we are witnessing the infantilisation of Britain.

    What gives Paul Bigley the right to expect the Government to change foreign policy because his brother happened to be endangered? What gives Paul Bigley the right to demand the resignation of an opposition frontbencher because he holds an opinion that he doesn’t approve of? To widen this to everyday matters, why are there calls for government to ban smoking in pubs, doesn’t anyone take responsibility for their own life anymore?

  • John says:

    Obviously we are not allowed to eat what we want, drink what we want or play conkers!!! We’ll all be tagged soon and monitored, and as soon as we do something some PC person doesn’t agree with we will be shocked or arrested.

  • ben says:

    tad harsh wibbler? Paul Bigley was very misguided and made himself look bad but after what he’s just been through can you really blame him?

  • Joe Robinson says:

    To call Ken Bigley a snivelling coward is an absolute disgrace. For goodness sake, the poor man was beheaded!This post by AD should be removed.

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