Boris Johnson comparing the agonies of Ukraine with Brexit, claiming that both are examples of standing up for freedom, is a crass insult to crassness.

First published: March 2022.

It’s not like we need any more reasons to tell us why the abandoned serial lying mattress Boris Johnson is unfit for the office of Prime Minister, but just as one reason why Johnson should be deposed starts to drop off the news agenda, Johnson helpfully provides us with another. It was only a few short weeks ago that Johnson was mired in the scandal of his repeated rule-breaking during lockdown after it came to light that he had hosted numerous boozy parties in Downing Street while the rest of us could expect to have the polis come chapping at our doors if we dared to go into our granny’s house for five minutes when we dropped off her shopping.

By the end of January, many Conservative MPs were openly demanding Johnson’s removal, and it was widely believed that Johnson’s political life expectancy was numbered in days, not weeks. However, Johnson has escaped the consequences of that scandal thanks to public and political attention being diverted by Vladimir Putin’s imperialist attempt to bomb Ukrainian nationhood out of existence. Conservative MPs, members of the same party which fetishes WW2 and Winston Churchill, have collectively decided that this is not the time to depose Johnson, although their party did not have the same qualms during the darkest days of WW2 in 1940 when Britain was facing the threat of an imminent invasion from your actual Nazis but still decided to unseat the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain and replace him with Churchill. Admittedly, amongst the political pygmies on the Conservative benches, there is no one of any stature who could potentially replace Johnson. All of them are compromised by his lies, his deceit, and his corruption.

Over the weekend, TV reporters attending the Conservative party conference asked activists if they thought Johnson should resign, none of them did, they maintained that he should not resign even if he is fined by the police for breaking the law with his frequent breaches of lockdown rules. That is how low the Conservative party has now sunk. The self-proclaimed party of law and order thinks that its own leader should be allowed to break the law and face no political consequences for it. Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservative jellyfish, has performed a humiliating U-turn on his demand for Johnson’s resignation. In doing so, Ross has merely taught Johnson that he can continue to hold the norms of political behaviour in a functioning democracy in contempt, and the Conservative party will let him get away with it.

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At that same Conservative conference, Johnson again illustrated how he can’t even manage basic human decency, never mind adhere to the high standards of behaviour expected of the leader of modern advanced democracy. In his rabble-rousing speech to an audience of Conservative sycophants, Johnson made a direct comparison between the current agonies of Ukraine with the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, claiming that both are examples of standing up for freedom. Calling his comments crass is a crass insult to crassness.

Obviously, hiding in a bunker while the Russian army bombards your house and devastates your cities with long-range missiles in an effort to destroy the existence of your nation’s independence, democracy, and right to self-determination while forcing millions of your compatriots to flee abroad, is exactly the same thing as the European Union imposing a directive mandating a 48-hour maximum working week. It’s a comparison that no one with a shred of integrity could make.

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Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster, Johnson is resorting to increasingly ludicrous hyperbole in order to cover the gap between the miserable and tawdry reality of Brexit and the false utopia of Great British sunlit uplands that he promised. It is truly shameful that this is the level to which British political discourse has descended in 2022.

That “oppression” of Europe is why P&O was unable to sack its French staff in the same way that 800 of its UK employees were dismissed with immediate effect via a pre-recorded video on a zoom call. The British workers are to be replaced with agency staff from Colombia, who will be paid at a lower rate. The French staff are protected by stricter employment regulations which impose tough conditions on employers who seek to shed staff. The “freedom” that Johnson lauded was the freedom of employers like P&O to sack loyal staff without a period of notice or the “freedom” of Russian oligarchs to squirrel away their money in the City of London and to ensure that they can do so without fear of having to explain the source of their wealth.

At a time when it is vital that the world maintains a united front, Johnson’s remarks are an insult to our allies and partners in the EU, allies and partners that Johnson has now compared to Putin, they are an insult to the people of Ukraine who are witnessing the devastation of their country precisely because they dared to challenge the great Russian imperialist fantasies of Vladimir Putin by asserting both that Ukraine is its own nation and not merely a Little Russia province to be ruled by the Kremlin, and moreover they see the future of their Ukrainian nation as being intimately tied to Europe and the EU. And Johnson’s comments are also an insult to all of us who opposed Brexit and who seek to rejoin the European Union, whether that’s through an independent Scotland joining the EU in its own right or through the UK as a whole once again becoming a member of the EU.

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Johnson’s crass tub-thumping for the benefit of the Anglo-British Brexit supporting nationalists of the Conservative party risks undermining European unity at this critical time. It has certainly damaged even further the battered remnants of Britain’s international reputation.

Yet one of Scotland’s leading anti-independence newspapers has chosen to downplay this story, instead giving screaming prominence to an ill-advised tweet about Priti Patel from an SNP member who holds no elected office. Because that’s the really important story here. In its pathetic desperation to find SNPbad stories in order to fend off calls for another independence referendum, Scotland’s overwhelmingly anti-independence media is doing Scotland an immense disservice by refusing to scrutinise the quality of the UK that they are determined Scotland must remain a part of, and by allowing manifestly unfit individuals like the corrupt lying Johnson to escape scrutiny. But still, there’s bound to be a story about a CalMac ferry breaking down along tomorrow.

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Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger. Biting the hand of Project Fear.


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