Boris Johnson went full-on Orwell in response to a question on Marr

Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show
Peadar O'Cearnaigh

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on 15 April to explain the UK’s participation in airstrikes in Syria. On the show, he essentially claimed that the airstrikes were humanitarian.

But both Andrew Marr and others highlighted his hypocrisy, and how full-on Orwellian that statement really was.

Humanitarian reasons

During the show, Johnson spoke about the legality of the strikes in response to a question from Marr. He said:

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if it acts as a deterrent… it can alleviate further humanitarian suffering.

But Marr effectively highlighted the government’s hypocrisy in response. Because he put it to Johnson that Assad can still seemingly continue using coventional weapons all he likes. So dropping bombs, which in itself isn’t considered a humanitarian act, hasn’t really brought about a ‘humanitarian’ result.

Public reaction

Social media users also pointed out Johnson’s hypocrisy and how Orwellian it was:

Humanitarian bombing?

This is not the only example of the government’s hypocrisy. Because much of the UK government record doesn’t tally with its stated purpose of ‘alleviating humanitarian suffering’:

  • Theresa May voted against accepting 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian child refugees in 2016.
  • Weapons sales continue to Saudi Arabia despite it bombing Yemen, a country which is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
  • Britain removed Chagos Islanders to make way for US military base in the 1970s and still refuses to let them return home. The issue will be discussed at this week’s Commonwealth leaders’ meeting.
  • The UK government took no action against Israel after an Israeli sniper shot dead Yaser Murtaja, a journalist covering protests in Gaza.
  • The UK sold chemicals to Syria as late as 2012 that were “likely” used to produce chemical weapons.


The notion that bombing is humanitarian is completely absurd. The public need to call out this Orwellian nonsense out for what it is.

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