Diary in the New Statesman

Not only is Gordon Brown a chippy, high-taxing, gloomadon-popping, nannying old socialist, he is also a Scot. He sits for a Scottish seat, called Motherclyde or something. By Boris Johnson

I can’t believe it. They really are going to do it. The Labour Party seems to think it can just plonk Gordon Brown on the English public and that we are all going to swallow it. It’s an outrage. Not only is Gordon Brown a chippy, high-taxing, gloomadon-popping nannying old socialist, he is also a Scot. He sits for a Scottish seat, called Motherclyde or something, and he is presuming to tell us, the English, how to order our affairs, and to accept his diktat on controversial questions concerning healthcare and admission to our schools and universities (on which matter Gordon demonstrated not only his hysterical resentment of Oxbridge but also his lust to intervene). We English MPs have no corresponding say on those questions in so far as they affect people in Scotland and – here is the crowning absurdity – neither does he, Gordon, sitting for Motherclyde, on the health and education of his own constituents. It is a constitutional abomination, aggravated by the injustice that 8.1 million English voters went for the Tories, when 8.04 million English voters went for Labour, and we still have a socking Labour majority in England alone. In the circumstances, does Labour sincerely think it can win the next election, without reform and with a Scottish MP leader? I say bring it on.

Among the reasons why I am supporting David Cameron is that I want this to be the last Tory leadership contest for a long time. As you will see when you shoot out to buy this week’s Spectator, David has written a brilliant and convincing article about his agenda. Before any fraudulent Labour spin-doctors get to work, I want to stress now that the flat tax is not some demented proposal for a new Tory tax on flats.

If I were an Iranian politician I am afraid I would regard it as my patriotic duty to equip my country, as fast as possible, with a nuclear deterrent against Israel and the Pentagon. Tragic but true.

I am thrilled that my old friend John Kampfner has acceded to the editorship of the NS. Apart from anything else, this is a triumph for the former Daily Telegraph foreign editor Nigel Wade, who was in charge of us both when John was bureau chief in Berlin and I was bureau chief in Brussels. It was Nigel who used to exhort us to ever greater frenzies of effort, with his terrifying cry of “Call yourself a f***ing journalist!” We are both in his debt.

Lance Price is a turd. That is the only word for him. First he works for the Labour government and, by his own admission, connives in the government’s systematic lying. Then he takes colossal sums from the Daily Mail to “expose” those lies. The whole thing is rank. As we used to say in Brussels, “Passez-moi le sac de vomissement.”

When Hurricane Katrina struck the United States I told the Spectator morning conference that I very much doubted that the casualties in New Orleans would exceed 1,000. “Oh, come off it,” I said, when they started raving about tens of thousands of dead. “This is America. They’ll sort it out.” So I feel vindicated to discover that the official Louisiana death toll is now less than 800 – not a fact that you would readily discover from the BBC, which broadly takes the Muslim line that it is all a vengeance on Bush for Kyoto, Iraq, et cetera, et cetera. When Blair talked to Rupert Murdoch about BBC “gloating” and anti-Americanism, there was, alas, something in what he said.

My friend Andrew Neil is among those who think the world is pretty shortly going to be ruled by China. My own view is that these fears are overdone, mainly because China does not pass the first test of a global imperial power. I mean that the Chinese have very little cultural impact on the rest of us. The sad truth is that China is fated for many years to be a vast source of helot labour, for its own tycoons and for western capital. Take this amazing story from the latest issue of Grazia magazine. One of the ingredients for the collagen implants used by western cosmetics companies is human skin from China’s industrial system of capital punishment. That’s right: the corpses of their misfits and criminals are used to plump the lips and cheeks of our women. There, in its horrible subservience, is all you need to know about the relationship between Chinese humanity and western capital.

For many years, I have mentally rehearsed the choices I would make for Desert Island Discs, and so you can imagine how gratifying it was when the programme’s producer came round the other day. After I had told her, with a mixture of coyness and pride, the eight tunes that would give me greatest pleasure, I noticed something was amiss.

A frown crossed her lovely face. She sucked her teeth. “Your choices . . .” she said. “Yes?” I said, heart in mouth. “It’s just that they seem so political. It’s like you’re kind of trying to appeal to everyone, a bit of Stones, a bit of Bach, you know. I mean, Nigella Lawson chose Eminem!”

I was shattered, and insulted to the core. “But I love this music. And, much as I like him, I don’t want Eminem on a desert island.” She then tried to reassure me about my taste, and what exquisite choices they were, but I couldn’t help feeling, as she left, that I had failed one of life’s great tests.

9 thoughts on “Diary in the New Statesman”

  1. Just as long as he doesn’t pick Imagine or Working Class Hero. I suppose though that lengthy exposure to either of these dirges might make one vote for anyone pledged to abolish them. Could we not get round the Geneva convention by playing them to terrorist subjects?

  2. Not *entirely* sure about the China paragraph, especially the statement that they lack cultural impact. I, for one, love my crispy aromatic duck…

    Still, another top-notch article from the big ‘B’.

  3. “but I couldn’t help feeling, as she left, that I had failed one of life’s great tests.”

    Boris honey, let me reassure you that any man as remarkable and distracting as you has not failed.

  4. I’m a big fan of crispy duck too, and a case could certainly be made for china having had an impact worldwide, but it is not a strong one. Perhaps the only major impact they have had is to spread their cuisine, and yet a thing one invariably notices when one goes to china is that they don’t eat “chinese food”, including I’m sorry to say crispy duck.

  5. Other Jack

    It’s a moderately well known fact that traditional Chinese cookery consisted of roast beef, brussel sprouts etc., The first Chinese restaurant, the Golden Bean, in the UK was established in 1123 in Bury St. Edmunds. Quickly the new cookery spread. But in the 13th century China was gastronomically invaded by the Mongol horde McGhengis, which gave us today’s Chinese food. Fortunately you can still experience traditional Chinese food in the Golden Bean. Interestingly the waiters, descendents of the original gastronomic pioneers, have developed webby feet and tendencies to meet their sisters at barn dances like other East Angians.

    An attempt to establish original Chinese cookery run into problems in Wales in 1289 where sweet and sour mutton was frowned upon by the locals as a waste of good sheep.

  6. It’s amazing that someone like Boris who’s associates are so fond of the Union Flag, and Rule Britannia etc. can trash another member of the union with such ferocity, on no more grounds than he isn’t English. Despicable

  7. Um, Boris, isn’t that chap Blair Scottish? Of course, he was elected before devolution swung the system to the advantage of those north of Hadrian’s Wall, but still. The only real difference between Tony and Gordon is what they disguise; Blair hides that he is Scottish by adopting a neutral accent and telling people he ‘cares’, while Brown hides his ‘Blairier-than-Blair’ politics under a mask of Old Labour values.

    David Cameron for Tory leader!!!

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