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We all thought reciting a colonial poem by Kipling in Myanmar was tactless. Then Boris Johnson decided to do the Hokey-Cokey (“In, out, in, out, shake it all about”) during Brexit negotiations.

The longer Boris Johnson is allowed to remain in post as Foreign Secretary while stirring up division in the Conservative government, the more ridiculous that government becomes.

His latest stunt, timed to be broken in the press right before the start of the Conservative Party Conference, was to announce – unilaterally, after no consultation at all with anybody other than his fevered imagination – four “red lines”, conditions without which he says Brexit should not take place.

They are:

  • Transition period must be a maximum of two years
  • UK must refuse to accept new EU rules during that period
  • No payments for access to the single market after the end of the transition period
  • UK must not agree to shadow EU rules to gain access to the single market

Thank you, Ian Dunt – that sorts out the practicalities.

Now, here’s Jonathan Portes to point out the very obvious:

In other words: This stunt is entirely about causing division at the Conservative Party Conference.

On the BBC News channel today (September 30), reporters were speculating on whether Theresa May would be able to prevent the event from degenerating into a Brexit-related brawl.

But that isn’t all the Blond Boor has been doing – oh no!

He has been accused of “incredible insensitivity” after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.

Here’s The Guardian:

Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: “The temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.”

Kipling’s poem captures the nostalgia of a retired serviceman looking back on his colonial service and a Burmese girl he kissed. Britain colonised Myanmar from 1824 to 1948 and fought three wars in the 19th century, suppressing widespread resistance.

Johnson’s impromptu recital was so embarrassing that the UK ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was forced to stop him. The incident was captured by a film crew for Channel 4 and will form part of a documentary to be broadcast on Sunday about the fitness of the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to become prime minister.

He is definitely not prime ministerial material.

The comments have been coming thick and fast, but the following is probably the best:

As ever, for those who can’t read from image files, here it is again:


“If you can keep on lying when all about you
“Are proving what you’ve said is blatantly untrue;
“If you can ignore all that’s in your nation’s interest
“While making sure you only to what’s best for you;

“If you can hate and help to incite hating
“While pretending you’re just a bumbling twat,
“And simply can’t bear any more waiting
“Till at the head of government you’re sat;

“If you can spout racist jargon and still people like you
“And torch everyone’s future but remain unburnt;
“If you can deceive on TV, onlline and on buses,
“Then wreck an economy and remain unconcerned;

“If you can turn every triumph into disaster
“For your nation, its people but never for you,
“And hide behind waffle and Jacob Rees-Moggery
“An ambition which means that nothing’s taboo;

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
“With 350 million lies about the future ahead,
“You’ll be Prime Minister of the UK and all that’s in it,
“Even though it’ll look like The Walking Dead.”

The Walking Dead will be all you can see at the Conservative conference – but his antics mean Mr Johnson should be a dead man walking.

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