What’s ‘monstrous’, Boris?

May 27, 2017

by Martin Odoni

The Conservative Party line in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on Friday has been one of predictable, theatrical outrage. They have accused Corbyn of ‘making excuses’ for terrorism, as I am sure most people guessed they would, even though Corbyn himself had gone to great lengths to make clear that he held the people who commit such atrocities responsible for them. As I wrote yesterday, there is a distinction between explanation and justification or extenuation, and it is childish when a politician – or indeed anybody – tries to blur that boundary. When it happens, it is usually a rather cowardly method of avoiding a difficult discussion.

One Tory who needs singling out for particular contempt in all this is the ever-blimpish Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson – or as I call him, ‘BoJob’. At a joint press conference with US State Secretary Rex Tillerson yesterday, he decried Corbyn’s words furiously; –

“I find it absolutely extraordinary, and inexplicable… that there should be any attempt to justify or to legitimate the actions of terrorists… Now is not the time to do anything to subtract from the fundamental responsibility of those individuals, that individual in particular, who committed this atrocity. And I think it is absolutely monstrous that anybody should seek to do so.”

Screenshot from 2017-05-27 23-07-44

BoJob’s words veer a little between criticising the timing of Corbyn’s speech, and criticising the content of it. But while the focus is a little inconsistent, BoJob leaves us in little doubt that he wants everybody to see Corbyn’s meaning as objectionable.

Now, BoJob has subsequently received much criticism in return in the media, given that he was singing much the same tune as Corbyn in The Spectator back in 2005, in the aftermath of the London Underground Bombings. Of course, that atrocity occurred during the time of a Labour Government, and in apparent response to an aggressive war upon which that Government had embarked. Both the timing and the meaning of BoJob’s words then were barely distinguishable from Corbyn’s speech on Friday.

I am sure everyone is familiar with the counter-argument by now, and so shall dwell no further on it; there is nothing terribly remarkable or unusual about BoJob talking around the other side of his head, after all. Instead, I wish to point out that, as Foreign Secretary, he is particularly involved in the British foreign policy that Corbyn has been criticising.

I refer in particular to BoJob’s dismissive responses to demands that Britain cease selling arms and aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The House of al-Saud, effectively a kind of Wahhabist monarchy, is one of the most brutally repressive regimes on the face of the Earth. More pertinently though, it has been indiscriminately using the arms it purchases from Britain for the last two years to interfere very violently indeed in the Yemeni Civil War.

One shudders to guess how many children have been killed in the Saudi-led Coalition’s atrocities over the last two years, but we can be sure that the death-toll of the Manchester Arena Bombing, harrowing though it was, pales before the body-count in Yemen. Saudi actions in Yemen are, by any reasonable definition, terrorism-with-state-blessing.

Not only does BoJob have precious few words of condemnation for these crimes, he paves the way for, and defends, British weapons sales to the House of al-Saud. He not only endorses terrorism, and ‘subtracts from the fundamental responsibility’ for it, he even aids and abets it.

Please note that, in return for their ongoing co-operation, the Saudi Government has given both Johnson and some of his colleagues personal gifts, including food hampers. This is not only an inappropriate business practice, it is also an incredibly crass and insensitive choice of present, given the ongoing famine in some of the worst-hit areas of Yemen. Some of the worst hit, by the way, have been hit by Saudi air-strikes using British-manufactured jets.

So, Boris… who exactly is the one being ‘monstrous’ here?


One Response to “What’s ‘monstrous’, Boris?”

  1. Sophia.George 💋 Says:

    The man is an outright monster and a coward. He’d do well to vanish.

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