The crucial fact Laura Kuenssberg omitted from her tweet about Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson and Laura Kuenssberg
Support us and go ad-free

The BBC‘s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted on 6 December about the cancellation of a Boris Johnson speech. But she left out one revealing fact.

She said:

 

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
But what was it, exactly, that caused the cancellation?

Well, according to the Independent, Johnson “cancelled a speech to members of the public in Rochester after a small number of protesters turned up”. In fact, it seems that the attendance of just five protesters forced Johnson’s hand – a perspective that was totally missing from Kuenssberg’s tweet.

Johnson was due to speak to Tory activists in a “small pub car park” in the Kent town of Rochester. But he was running late. And as the Independent reported, Conservative officials argued that “the late running of the event prompted security concerns” and that:

“security officials” had voiced worries about some members of the crowd

So it seems that Johnson’s team cancelled the speech because around five protesters had turned up, holding signs like “No to racism, no to Boris Johnson” and “Austerity killed over 130,000, the blood is on your hands”.

The public could see this as yet another embarrassing cop-out from Johnson. Because this is far from the first time he’s apparently cancelled a public event for fear of protesters holding him to account. In mid-November, for example, Johnson seemingly pulled out of a visit to a bakery in Glastonbury because of protests while blaming security concerns. Incoherent ramblings, embarrassing gaffes and hospital boos, meanwhile, have made his campaign team fully aware of the need to control his public appearances as much as possible.

Kuenssberg’s tweet, however, could easily have been a Conservative Party press release.

Johnson fears public scrutiny, for good reason

A decade of failed ideological austerity from the Conservative Party has been disastrous for the NHS, education, and social housing. It has also overseen skyrocketing foodbank usage and attacked some of the most vulnerable people in Britain. A 2018 UN investigation, meanwhile, found that “14 million people, a fifth of the population” now “live in poverty”.

As writer Francesca Martinez has pointed out, at least 130,000 people have “died because the Tories and the Lib Dems decided to make ordinary people pay for a crash caused by bankers, who we bailed out”. Tory welfare changes have hit disabled people particularly hard; and Martinez says Tory-led governments have “blood on their hands” as a result.

Millionaire Boris Johnson, meanwhile, backed this austerity as an MP. And as prime minister, he has formed a hard-right government in Margaret Thatcher’s image, with critics calling him an “ardent Thatcherite” and even “worse than Thatcher”. Members of his government have proudly argued for even further cuts to public services and the welfare state. Johnson and his party, meanwhile, have a horrific record of bigotry of all kinds and are currently facing an Islamophobia crisis.

Kuenssberg may argue that ignoring protesters helps to keep her ‘neutral’. But by failing to tell the public that Johnson is running away from completely legitimate criticism and scrutiny, she is doing both herself and her followers a monumental disservice. Britain deserves so much better.

Featured image via BBC News

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us