That’s awkward – perhaps Boris Johnson thought he’d have the usual easy time on the BBC’s flagship politics programme, The Andrew Marr Show.
But it seems that the Establishment has already started shifting (prematurely) towards Keir Starmer.
So we all got to enjoy this:
(I’m not saying Marr had to point out the huge, ONS-shaped, hole in Johnson’s wage lie because This Site had already done so, but it’s nice to put it out there.)
Here are some more Johnson lies defeated by facts, courtesy of Peter Stefanovic:
He was tackled over the fuel crisis:
And then the Mirror fact-checked the whole interview:
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: “What you’re seeing is finally growth in wages after more than 10 years of flatlining. What you’re seeing is people on low incomes being paid more.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: The ONS has warned it is “clearly misleading” to use these “distorted” figures to make claims about the health of Britain’s economy.
Inflation is soaring this Autumn, and is already sitting at a nine-year high of 3%. That means any rises in wages could soon be outstripped once again by rising prices.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: “What you’re certainly seeing is the stresses and strains caused in a UK economy that is now the fastest growing in the G7.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: That’s only if you compare to the period January-March 2021, when the UK was stuck in lockdown. According to the House of Commons Library, UK “real” GDP fell by 4.4% between October-December 2019 and April-June 2021 – the steepest drop of any G7 country. The US grew 0.8%, while Japan fell 1.5%, Canada 2%, the Eurozone 2.5%, Germany 3.3%, France 3.3% and Italy 3.8%, the Commons Library said.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: Asked about justice funding after Sarah Everard’s murder, he said: “We’re almost certainly putting record sums into all parts of government.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: There are three problems with this. First of all, it ignores previous sweeping cuts to budgets under austerity. According to the House of Commons Library, the Ministry of Justice budget was around 25% lower in 2019-20 than in 2010-11.
Secondly, Mr Johnson’s boast appears likely to be in cash terms rather than real terms (factoring in inflation). The MOJ budget did rise between 2020-21 and 2021-22 – but only from £10bn to £10.1bn.
Thirdly, the Spending Review is coming at the end of this month which could put a financial squeeze on “unprotected” departments like the MOJ. The independent IFS think tank has warned unprotected services face a £4bn cut, and those areas – “including perennially squeezed budgets like justice and local government – are now facing real-terms cuts in 2022–23”.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: On fuel shortages, Mr Johnson said: “It has been abating. What you’re hearing now from the Petrol Retailers’ Association is that supplies are getting on to the forecourts.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: On Saturday, the PRA said that while the fuel situation was easing in Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands, elsewhere it was deteriorating.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: “We’ve had to look after the British people with £407 billion of a protection for their jobs, for people’s livelihoods. And I’ll tell you something about that package, it was most beneficial to the poorest and the neediest in society.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: Not all of this related directly to “jobs and livelihoods”. 32% has been for households – that vast majority of that the furlough scheme and self-employment grants.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: “You have no fiercer and more zealous opponent of unnecessary tax rises than me, but we have had to deal with a pandemic on a scale which this country has not seen before in our lifetimes and long before.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: The IFS think tank has said the UK tax burden is set to reach “the highest-ever sustained level” due to the PM’s National Insurance hike in April – with various estimates putting it at the highest since the war, since 1950 or since 1969, depending how you count.
WHAT BORIS JOHNSON SAID: “The people who are paying the most for the NHS, the people who are paying the most to fund the NHS bounce back, the £36 billion that we’re putting in, are the richest, the wealthiest people in society. And that’s entirely right. That’s what’s happening.”
WHAT THE FACTS SAY: This appears to be a reference to health and social care funding, which is being raised through a National Insurance hike from 12% to 13.25%. You start paying NICs if your salary hits just £9,568 per year – a much lower threshold than Income Tax. It’s charged at a much lower rate once your earnings get beyond £50,270 per year. And it’s focused on workers – who are hardly all the richest people in society. The tax will charge nothing to the unearned wealth of landlords, for example.
All in all, it seems we finally have reason to be grateful to Andrew Marr for actually doing his job – and at a critical moment.
It means that, going into the Conservative Party Conference, we can all see the extent of Johnson’s failures.
And we can use this information as a yardstick against which we can judge what the Tories try to tell us over the next few days.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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