Yorkshire keeps telling ‘Thatcherite’ Boris Johnson where he can stick it

Johnson and protester in Doncaster
Ed Sykes

The last time Boris Johnson went to Yorkshire, things didn’t exactly turn out as he’d hoped. And when he went again, on 13 September, a pattern began to emerge.

“Please leave my town”

A week ago, Johnson launched a Trump-style stunt in Yorkshire, making a disastrous speech in front of student police officers. People also heckled him, jeered, protested, and one asked him to “please leave my town”.

Nonetheless, Johnson went back to Yorkshire a week later. And local people again sought to hold him to account.

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One woman in particular captured people’s anger at Johnson and his party with a brilliant face-to-face takedown of disastrous and unnecessary Conservative-led austerity. Speaking in Doncaster, she said:

people have died because of austerity. And then you’ve got the cheek to come here and tell us austerity’s over and it’s all good now

Indeed, just one ‘cost-saving’ policy in the last nine years of Tory-led rule – cutting public health spending – has led to over 130,000 premature deaths in the UK.

Speaking about Johnson’s police pledges, meanwhile, the woman stressed two key points:

Why’ve we all of a sudden got loads of money? … You’re gonna put the same amount of police on the street as what you’ve took off.

“Worse than Thatcher”

Over in Rotherham, things didn’t go much better. Because one heckler brought up Johnson’s highly controversial suspension of parliament, asking him to go “back to parliament”:

Like other places in Yorkshire Johnson has visited recently, both Rotherham and Doncaster voted to leave the EU (by 67.9% and 69.0% respectively). So it’s clear that he’s currently doing his best to shore up support in Brexit-voting areas. Doing terribly as prime minister, he seems to have given up and just started his general election campaign already. But in doing so, he’s exposing how unpopular he and his party are even in heavily pro-Brexit areas.

Conservative Party icon Margaret Thatcher decimated working-class communities and workers’ rights. That’s why many communities throughout Yorkshire and Britain celebrated when she died. Because she left unemployment, destruction, and poverty in her wake. Johnson, meanwhile, is following in Thatcher’s footsteps with his hard-right government. That’s why he’s been called an “ardent Thatcherite” and even “worse than Thatcher”.

Brexit may be a big issue in Britain today. But there are so many more important issues too. So everyone should remember that Johnson has been a faithful supporter of the most callous Tory-led governments in living memory. And no amount of cynical politicking should fool us into forgetting how many lives the Tories have destroyed.

Featured image via screenshot

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