By Daniel Fox
Boris Johnson. The one politician who appeals to the masses. Boris Johnson. The one politician who says what he thinks. Boris Johnson. The one politician we can trust.
Boris Johnson. We heard his name again several weeks ago, this time for calling jihadists ‘literally wankers’ who watch porn because they can’t meet women. His astute analysis was that the principal cause for the four hundred or so British men fighting for ISIS is that they are ‘not making it with girls’ and consequently lack a ‘sense of success in life’.
Boris Johnson. These comments – although surely misguided – do actually highlight a pressing issue which affects us all. Many people do feel disconnected with the culture that surrounds them; many people do feel that – whatever they perceive them to be – mainstream social norms, values and ideals do not fit them.
Boris Johnson. Radicalisation is an issue. I would certainly agree that many young men are disaffected. But comments like these further marginalise and disaffect people. They make people angry.
Boris Johnson. These comments are bound to be incendiary, they will cause anger. It is unlikely that they will have much effect on those already convinced by jihadist ideology – they already hate. Who we should be worried about are those at the margins – those who do feel disaffected, are desperately searching for some sort of identity in our society, but have not yet succumbed to hatred or violence. Boris Johnson. Will these words make people feel more connected to our society? Will these words help people to integrate? Will these words help to reduce the hatred?
Boris Johnson. What does it mean to be a man? The most common cause of death for men under fifty in the UK is suicide. LAD culture persists. Depression is on the up. Some would argue we face a crisis of masculinity. Boris Johnson. ‘Making it with girls’ – whatever that rather vulgar expression might mean – should not be equated with success. ‘Not making it with girls’ should not be seen as a problem. It should not be ridiculed.
Boris Johnson. The one politician who appeals to the masses.
‘I’ve slept with far fewer than 1000’. Does he appeal to the shy, lonely boy who doesn’t have the brazen arrogance which our Mayor possesses, along with the likes of Julien Blanc? Does he appeal to women – just numbers apparently?
‘Face it: it’s your own fat fault’ cries the heading of Boris’ article on obesity. Does he appeal to the overweight girl who is constantly bombarded by images of the perfect body in the media.
‘Gay marriage can only ever be a ludicrous parody of the real thing’. Granted, perhaps he has changed his tune on this issue but – in the light of another gay joke in 2013 – does he really appeal to the young man who is struggling to cope with the bullying which occurs as a result of his sexuality?
He accused Liverpool of ‘wallowing’ in its ‘victim status’ after the Hillsborough disaster. Does he appeal to anyone connected to the city?
There is a common misconception about honesty. Saying unacceptable things is often taken as a sign of honesty. Boris Johnson does not strike me as a beacon of honesty or integrity. This is a man – at the time a married father – who lied to his Prime Minister, Michael Howard, about having an affair. This is a man who ‘humoured’ his buddy, Darius Guppy, in a conversation about having a journalist beaten up. This is a man who was sacked from the Times for making up a quote.
Now, I do not personally know the man and these events might be forgivable. However, we do need to be careful. Blurting out offensive remarks does not equate to honesty.
Boris Johnson. His name saturates our political discourse just as it clogs up this article. He is a shrewd political player. He plays us all. His comments may be made in jest but they do affect people; they do affect norms.
For want of anything meaningful to say, he often lapses into laziness – vicious victimization – bullying. I do not take him seriously as a politician, or as a statesman, and – to be quite honest – neither should you.
Picture Credit – Wikimedia Commons