Johnson still won’t call Trump’s words ‘racist’. Newly revealed comments of his own show why.

Boris Johnson speech 2018 Conservative conference
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Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt recently refused to label comments from Donald Trump ‘racist’. Given Johnson’s history, that’s no surprise. Now, people are drawing attention to comments Johnson allegedly made about the European leaders he’ll soon have to work with:


Historic bigotry

The comments appeared in a Financial Times opinion piece by Philip Stephens. Although it’s previously been reported that Johnson called the French “turds”, the rest appear to be new.

The “turds” comment was filmed by the BBC when Johnson was foreign secretary. The producers chose not to include the remark in their documentary. This information surfaced in June 2019, and according to the Independent, the Foreign Office asked the BBC to remove the comments because of “concerns it would make Anglo-French relations “awkward””.

On the other comments, Stephens wrote:

Mr Johnson’s crude English exceptionalism is even less endearing. At the Foreign Office he was heard to muse as to whether Chancellor Angela Merkel had served in East Germany’s Stasi secret police. French president Emmanuel Macron was a “jumped-up Napoleon”. As for Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, “Why isn’t he called Murphy like all the rest of them”. Such jibes find a way back to foreign capitals.

These varyingly backwards and racist comments haven’t gone down well.


Britain has a long and inglorious history of repressing Ireland. English racism against Irish people continued (and, through figures like Johnson, continues) right into the modern age. As such, it’s easy to see why Irish people have taken offence at the comments:

Labour peer Andrew Adonis pointed out there could be real fallout from this:

Irish politics professor John ‘Murphy’ O’Brennan chose to protest the comments with humour:

One MSP pointed out why Johnson really is an embarrassment to the entire union:

One man pointed out why Johnson’s Stasi comments were particularly offensive:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, Johnson’s comments about Macron and French people appear to have gone down well with the sort of voters he’s courting:


While calling out world leaders for their actions is a good thing, there’s obviously a world of difference between doing that in a statesperson-like fashion and resorting to schoolyard insults. Corbyn has been critical of Donald Trump, but it’s a criticism of his actions. It would be embarrassing if he called him a ‘hateful, orange Cheeto’. It would also be unproductive.

Unfortunately, ‘unproductive’ and ’embarrassing’ are all Johnson has to offer. That and racism. We already knew he was unfit to be PM. Each new revelation just brings that further into focus.

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