Marx on Monday: Boris Johnson

I don’t know about you but I was outraged by the comments made by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in his speech at the Margaret Thatcher lecture last week. The bumbling oaf of a politician made a number of offensive comments about how the rich pay most of our tax and how the poor are cornflakes with low IQ’s who fester at the bottom of the box. “Greed is good” he announced, like a modern mix between Gordon Gekko and Ayn Rand.

Thank goodness then that politicians are lining up to disagree with the Eton toff. Osborne and Balls distanced themselves on Sunday on the Andrew Marr show.  Osborne had the strongest message for his rival to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader – “I believe in equality of opportunity” he said, “there is no reason why someone being raised by a single mother on a crime and drug ridden sink estate who has an IQ of 80 can’t be given the same opportunity to succeed in life as someone with an IQ of 130 who comes from a wealthy two parent family, goes to a major public school like St Paul’s and stands to inherit the multi-million pound family wallpaper business.”

I was watching the show live on TV in the lounge of the Savoy Hotel and felt like bursting into applause as I heard our chancellor put the bumbling mayor right. Another viewer actually did burst into applause and I looked over and called out “hear hear” in support, only to realise it was none other than Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister and leader of the now defunct Liberal Party.

“Osborne is absolutely right,” he called over to me, “Boris hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about.”

“I agree,” I replied, “his speech was a disgrace.”

“Not just a disgrace,” said Nick, “the speech displayed unpleasant careless elitism and was full of inaccuracies.”

“Like what he said about tax,” I said, “that the top 1% of taxpayers pay 30% of all tax and the top 0.1% pay 14% of all tax.”

“No I think that bit was true,” Nick corrected me.

“Maybe it is true,” I said, “but so they should. Don’t the rich consume far more of the tax collected than the poor?”

“No,” Nick shook his head, “they have private healthcare, use private education, claim no benefits or grants, commit little or no crime, use no public leisure facilities and hardly any public transport. They see barely a penny of the tax they pay. That is all spent on the poor.”

“But I thought you said his speech was full of inaccuracies.”

“It was,” Nick replied, “it was also offensive, particularly what he said about people’s IQ’s.”

“That’s right,” I agreed, “he said that only 2% of our species had an IQ above 130 whereas 16% had an IQ below 85 – that’s just a lie isn’t it?”

“No,” Nick frowned, “it’s absolutely true.”

“So what was wrong with Boris saying it?” I looked confused.

“The danger of such a “deterministic” view of people based on their IQ is complete anathema to everything I have stood for in politics,” Nick replied.

“So what do you stand for in politics Nick?” I asked him.

“Much though Boris is a funny and engaging guy, I think these comments reveal a fairly unpleasant, careless elitism that suggests we should somehow give up on a whole swathe of our fellow citizens,” said Nick, “politicians should be “instilling an opportunity culture” rather than sending out such a “dispiriting” message.”

“So what have you done as a party to advance an opportunity culture?” I played Devil’s advocate.

“Just look at our policies Kevin,” Nick snapped back, “our election manifesto was a solemn pledge to abolish university tuition fees; we promised amnesty for illegal immigrants; we promised to safeguard Kingston hospital, where my son was born; and we promised to lower taxes – every single one of those policies, every solemn pledge, instilled in the voters an opportunity culture.”

“But didn’t you break all of those solemn pledges Nick,” I enquired, “by  actually tripling university tuition fees rather than abolishing them; by introducing a £1,000 deposit for all visitors from the third world – and supporting no benefits to migrants from the EU; by slashing Kingston Hospital’s budget by 25% and by raising VAT to 20%?”

“We’ve done what we can,” Nick protested, “if nothing else we’ve shown the public, particularly the poorest sector of society, that the Liberal Democrats are fighting for them to have equal opportunities with the wealthy.”

“Boris said he thought some form of inequality was necessary to encourage innovation and economic growth,” I said.

“Well it’s not,” Nick spat back, “Boris is a bumbling over-privileged Old Etonian, Oxford University buffoon who is completely out of touch with the real world and has led an incredibly privileged life since day one!”

“But didn’t you go to Westminster School, where the boarding fees are the same as at Eton, and then on to Cambridge University,” I asked him, “and wasn’t your father the chairman of a major bank and the son of a Russian Baron?”

“There are some vague similarities between Boris and me,” Nick was forced to accept, “but there is one major difference – I know what it’s like to be a helpless youngster raised in abject poverty with no choice but to turn to crime. I can feel their pain.”

“How?” I expressed some surprise.

“Because in spite of my privileged and astoundingly wealthy upbringing,” Nick replied, “when I was 16 and an exchange student in Munich I went on a drunken rampage and set fire to a priceless collection of cacti. I was arrested and forced to do community service with other young hooligans. So – unlike Boris – I know what it’s like to be a drunken, criminal reprobate with an IQ under 85!”

4 comments on “Marx on Monday: Boris Johnson

  1. Roderick
    December 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Keep the punch-line ( = the last sentence). Cut the rest by around 50%. Verify the Munich story. Sorted.

    • Honey Badger
      December 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      Hopefully, at consistently less than 9% in the polls, the Lib Dems will have less than 10 MPs at the next GE. This is my dream.

      My stretch target is less than 5 MPs. That would keep me laughing for the rest of the month.

  2. Demetrius
    December 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    My purely personal opinion is that Boris The Bulgar’s waistline is bigger than his IQ.

  3. Simon Roberts
    December 3, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I’m not surprised by Clegg’s broken promises – he’s a politician after all – but I am surprised that a convicted arsonist should become the leader of the LibDems.

    If he was the best option available, I shudder to think what skeletons the others had in their cupboards.

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