In the weeks before a majority of Britons voted on 23 June to leave the European Union – the Brexit decision – one of the contenders to be prime minister was a man called Boris Johnson. After the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron, an honourable man, resigned. Then, in what can be described only as an act of bizarre eccentricity his successor, the otherwise highly competent Theresa May, appointed Boris Johnson to be Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Most of the world considered her selection as an aberration, and reaction varied from expressions of amazement to downright mirth.
Johnson has a certain juvenile attractiveness for some people because his private life is colourful and chaotic while he has a certain facility with words and gives the impression that he could be all things to all men and to a certain number of women.
He is also a proven liar.
When he was a reporter for the UK’s Times newspaper he fabricated a quotation and was sacked for his dishonesty, although it is intriguing that he was dismissed by a newspaper owned Rupert Murdoch, who had gone ahead with publication of the ‘Hitler Diaries’ that he knew to be forged on the basis that «after all, we are in the entertainment business». And then Boris showed that he, too, was entertaining. Mr Murdoch’s Sunday Times revealed in 2004 that «Boris Johnson, the Tory MP and editor of the Spectator magazine, was last night sacked as a frontbench spokesman by [Conservative Party leader] Michael Howard for lying about his private life».
According to the Times, «his fate was sealed by the mother of his alleged mistress, Petronella Wyatt, who said her daughter had become pregnant by him and had an abortion last month.
Johnson, who is married with four children, had categorically dismissed the allegations as an ‘inverted pyramid of piffle’ ... [and] the episode brings an end to an unlikely but uniquely engaging political career. Johnson... became one of the few modern Tories able to capture the public imagination, even provoking speculation he could be a future leader».
The trouble for Britain is that although Johnson is a twofaced, devious, posturing piece of slime whom an ordinary person would not trust to tell the time of day, he was most effective in capturing the public’s attention and helping persuade a majority to vote to leave the European Union.
He achieved this in spite of telling a barefaced lie about how much the UK contributes financially to the EU, described in detail in the Guardian newspaper, and his behaviour during the campaign he waged against those who wished to remain in the EU was deceitful and dishonourable. He wasn’t particularly anti-Europe – but he desperately wanted to be Prime Minister of Britain and put himself forward as the ideal leader when he back-stabbed his old friend Prime Minister David Cameron, who took the honourable course of action and resigned after the Brexit vote.
But then Boris himself was stabbed in the back by a fellow conspirator called Michael Gove whose countenance might inspire a casual observer to imagine a facial amalgam of tortoise and ferret. The Gove aura is also unpleasant, and although he had supported Boris during the Brexit campaign, he scented power after the vote to leave and announced that although «I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be prime minister... I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership... for the task ahead». So in the vulgar, dishonourable and increasingly absurd struggle to be leader of the British government it was exit devious disloyal Boris and enter devious disloyal Gove.
But not for long: because Gove, too, got his comeuppance and was defeated when the governing Conservative Party’s Members of Parliament belatedly realised he was too much of a joke to consider as leader of a country that was becoming a laughing-stock around the world. They decided to have a final choice between two apparently sane people. Two women, as it happens; but that’s irrelevant in the circumstances, although the winner, Theresa May, appears intent on continuing to beggar the country by continuing vast expenditure on military posturing in support of the US-NATO anti-Russia confrontation campaign.
What is unpleasant and distressing is that Britain looks foolish and has lost credibility, all because of a bunch of liars. Further, in an appalling example of the horrendous divisions deliberately encouraged in the country by Brexit Boris and his fellow fabricators, the number of incidents in Britain of «hate crime» – in plain words, the number of incidents of insult, harassment and physical assault of racial minorities, black, brown and Eastern European – increased to over 3,000 in the week before and the week after the referendum. Boris helped to direct Britain’s racists to a sewer down which to discharge their filthy prejudices.
And then came further revelations about world-class liars.
On July 6, the 70th birthday of former US president George W Bush, a document was published in London confirming that he was a lying, scheming, unprincipled gobbet of filth. The paper, known as the Chilcot Report, also indicted Tony Blair who was British prime minister at the time of the illegal and catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The compiler of the report about the US-UK war on Iraq, Sir John Chilcot, refrained from bluntness in his description of the boastful shenanigans of these evil men, but his observation that in Britain there has resulted «a damaging legacy, including undermining trust and confidence in Government statements» is an indication that there was no reason, during the war-stirring intrigues before the invasion, that UK Government statements could be believed at that time, either, because Blair was a lying, strutting, would-be macho copy of GW Bush.
The lies told by British politicians and their scheming acolytes before the disastrous war on Iraq were neither worse nor less excusable than those spouted by the liars who deliberately misled so many British citizens during the debate before they voted by a narrow margin to quit the European Union.
The effects of Britain’s Brexit vote are quite as unpredictable as in 2003 were the forthcoming international consequences of the calamitous war on Iraq. That insane military foray resulted in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the forcing of a million refugees into hellish destitution, and creation of generations of barbaric religious fanatics who are intent on revenge for the devastation wrought by Western powers. Such are the results of lies.
And lies continue to be told in the exciting march to war, as in the case of US-NATO’s last Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, who testified to the US Congress that Russia was intending to invade Ukraine with a force of 80,000 troops. Der Spiegel reported him as saying that President Putin had «upped the ante» in eastern Ukraine – with «well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defence, battalions of artillery» having been sent to the Donbass. «What is clear», Breedlove said, «is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day». His lies were contradicted by such as General Petr Pavel, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, who said bluntly that Russia’s supposed «aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing», but few people pay attention to dull, boring honesty.
As we’ve seen with the Brexit shambles and the US-NATO wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, liars and their lies have more influence than common-sense and truth. Hatred of foreigners in Britain was spurred by the slick rhetoric of ‘Britain First’ xenophobes like Boris Johnson, just as hatred of Russia is being stimulated by the confrontational oratory of the leaders of the US-NATO alliance.
Britain has made its Brexit bed and now must lie on it, but there might be a chance for rapprochement between Russia and US-NATO if the liars can be called off. Dedicated diplomacy is the way ahead, but Britain’s new prime minister would do well to remember that her foreign secretary may not be the most desirable mediator in this or any other diplomatic venture. He has said that Hillary Clinton has «a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital» while President Obama is «downright hypocritical» and President Putin is «a ruthless and manipulative tyrant».
Lies and dishonour lead to disaster. And they are generally helped on their way by insults.