Britain Today Is Broken And Boris Johnson Is Not The One Who Can Fix It
It’s time for everyone and their cat to stop treating the British Prime Minister like a well-meaning yet gaffe-prone hapless chap
Boris Johnson is a man who understands the power of the indelible sword. After all, he once unashamedly admitted to quitting journalism because he had lost the necessary gumption to ‘abuse’ people without ever having strutted in their shoes. Thus, it was but a short hop, skip, and jump over to politics. For he got to do all that and more. Minus the guilt. And, by jove, did he make the most of it. Particularly, when invoking blatantly racist language while referring to the African continent and its people. The “big white chief” all trademarked bumbling ineptness. Ditto the half-witted apologies; expressing sadness if his words happened to offend anyone. Especially if an election of any sort was looming.
The man has game. Even if he doesn’t have the moves like Jagger.
BoJo’s winning streak hasn’t run out. Sadly. For just last month an independent review cleared him of breaking the Conservatives’ code of conduct over comparing veiled Muslim women to letter boxes and bank robbers. Oh, how Daily Telegraph readers must miss his pay-walled quick wit. At the time, the man who is now Prime Minister dropped a blonde bombshell was still quipping about how the freedom of the unsheathed pen and journalistic flair must prevail. Though the party isn’t out of the woods. Its very own Baroness Warsi, Britain’s first-ever Muslim cabinet member, has already urged the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate what she insists is institutional racism. Similarly, former chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has called for tough action on Islamophobia while also remaining everyone and their cat that he, in fact, had called for the independent inquiry during the leadership race of 2019. Regardless of how the Beeb reports it.
That traditional Tory mice-in-council are gathering to bell the Bojo should come as no surprise. Even Priti Patel may come to her senses, though later rather than sooner. Paws crossed. Once she’s had her fill of score-carding those who are to be sent back home. But surely even someone as white-privileged as Boris must realise that his compatriots of colour are all first generation children of immigrants, along with London Mayor Sadiq Khan who sits on the other end of the political divide. Meaning that they are old enough to remember the treatment meted out to their parents in the Rivers of Blood aftermath. And all have publicly talked about their own harrowing experiences. While Mr Mayor and Labour team mates Diane Abbot — the country’s first black woman MP — and David Lamy continue to suffer viscous trolling online.
Of course, Old Labour has had its fare share of problems. Just ask former chieftain Jeremy Corbyn who was sensationally suspended from the party. Not for being anti-Semitic. But for daring to uncover a right-wing smear campaign against his leadership. Some pundits agreed with him, pointing to a December 2018 poll conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) surveying Jewish populations across 12 member states. The results were damning: 84 percent of British Jews concluded that anti-Semitism played out across the great political divide. This is unacceptable and the country absolutely must do better by its Jewish citizens. Elsewhere, a March 2018 YouGov survey found that anti-Semitism within Labour had in fact fallen under Corbyn’s stewardship. Fast-forward to April 2020 and a leaked 850-page internal Labour Party internal document confirmed that in-house hostility to Jezza had hindered the party’s ability to address anti-Semitism claims. Far too little and much too late. Every man, woman and like-minded cat thinks so.
BoJo and the Tories are part of the self-serving establishment whereas Corbyn poses a challenge to status quo politics. And the right-wing media has backed its own horse. Thus, Mr Johnson is caricatured as a well-meaning yet gaffe-prone hapless chap. No matter whether wisecracking about how war-torn Libya needed to clear away the dead bodies before becoming a magnet for investors and tourists. Or when a parliamentary ‘blunder’ risks a British woman serving an additional five years in an Iranian prison. Oops-a-daisy. Corbyn, by contrast, is painted as a bête-noire for insisting that the dark side of British colonialism be included in the national curriculum or that Islamist groups are critical to Middle East peace. All of which earned him the Jezbollah moniker.
This is today’s Broken Britain. And BoJo won’t be the one to fix it. Nevertheless, we have our paws crossed for Baroness Warsi. Good luck!
Miranda Husain is a senior journalist and has worked as Deputy Managing Editor at Daily Times, Features Editor at The Friday Times (TFT) and Deputy Editor at Newsweek Pakistan. She writes on local and international politics; race and identity; and cats! She can be reached at [email protected] and tweets @humeiwei