Boris Johnson’s remarks about Muslim women who wear the full veil looking like a “letter box” has rightly drawn criticism from all quarters. As experts such as Runnymede Trust’s deputy director Dr Zubaida Haque noted in the New Statesman, it’s not just about the offence against Muslims, the issue is the lowering of the bar when it comes to Islamophobia, and the impact this has on the lives of ordinary Muslims.
Boris has a long and sad track record of writing poisonous articles, calculated not merely to insult but also to build a support base among those who agree with such comments. His calculation must have been if it’s got him this far, why shouldn’t it win him the top job? Maybe this Poundshop Enoch Powell might just have overstepped the mark this time, but it’s worth looking back and what he’s got away with thus far.
For starters he demanded the return of the British Empire and claimed the Chinese contribution to culture was “nil”. Writing in The Spectator, a magazine he edited, Johnson says: “The problem [with Africa] is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more.” The article, from February 2002, was penned after Johnson returned from a trip to Uganda. Calling for the return of colonial rule, he wrote: “The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.” The peice also agreed with one anonymous British official whom he quoted as saying: “Why are they so brutal to each other? We may treat them like children, but it’s not because of us that they behave like the children in Lord of the Flies.”
He also branded of black children as “piccanninies” and his claim that Africans had “watermelon smiles”, and previously campaigned against the Stephen Lawrence inquiry which he called a “witchhunt” against the police and accused Nelson Mandela of leading South African towards a “tyranny of black majority rule. Johnson claimed the Chinese had contributed nothing to cultural history.
This is not the first time he has had Muslims in his crosshairs. Johnson also ridiculed Islam with the following remark: “Islam will only be truly acculturated to our way of life when you could expect a Bradford audience to roll in the aisles at Monty Python’s Life of Mohammed.”
This record proves that Boris is clearly a racist bigot who has expressed himself clearly in derogatory terms about African Caribbean people and other minorities and is not fit to hold public office of any kind. When he was editor of the Spectator he was quite content for a racist article by the journalist Taki George, which said that Caribbean people were “breeding like flies” to remain on the Spectator website for over six weeks despite a complaint to the Metropolitan Police over the article by the Society of Black Lawyers.
Boris has got away with a catalogue of racist and offensive comments for too long. It is time the Tories ended his association with their party.