Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Sometimes Boris Johnson comes over as a bit of a fool, but a relatively inoffensive English eccentric in the “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” mould; an Eton, Oxford toff who speaks Latin rather more fluently than he speaks English.

And as a backbench Conservative MP that is more or less what he was. A relic of England’s past, but a relatively amusing one.

However, having found himself propelled to a measure of importance as the Mayor of London, he has a more prominent role in the life of the English nation. And Boris, it seems, is not really cut out for that kind of scrutiny.

A few months ago, the English and possibly some Scots, Irish and Welsh descended upon London in mighty numbers to demonstrate about cuts in ...well, just about everything. There was a wide range of people from all sorts of backgrounds, including some of Boris’s own class. Most of them were peaceful and marched, as is their right, through London on a route agreed, until they massed in Hyde Park for a series of speeches by politicians and union leaders, countryside and student campaigners.

Before they got to Hyde Park, some of them branched off and headed for Oxford Street and Piccadilly where, disassociated from the bulk of the march, they engaged in various degrees of more direct action.

One group decided to have a sit-in in toff’s store, Fortnum & Masons in Piccadilly. TV cameras were allowed in, and the coverage I saw was peaceful. Mr Johnson, however, stated on ‘Question Time’ that the protestors had done 'tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage'.

Unfortunately for Mr Johnson a member of the Fortnum staff has said that the damage was minimal and he (Johnson) was asked by a London Assembly member to justify his remarks, which he did thus:

“The point that I was making was that the occupation of Fortnum & Mason was pure vandalism … The fact that Fortnum and Mason is owned by a charitable foundation, provides many jobs and pays its taxes was clearly lost on these ‘activists’.”

Not much of a justification for a tale of 'tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage' which actually was not done.

Boris maybe should be quiet about vandalism in any case. The people I saw sitting in in Fortnum’s were late teen/early twenties, student types, not unlike Bullingdon Club members David Cameron, George Osborne and ……yes, Boris Johnston, 20 something years ago, whose pleasure it was to get drunk and trash restaurants in Oxford and elsewhere.

Boris himself wrote in his autobiography: "We got drunk, trashed the Ritz and then went down Piccadilly to loot a few items from Fortnum's".

I wonder how it was OK for them to steal from Fortnums while drunk, and it wasn’t OK for a group of peaceful protestors of the same age to occupy the store for an hour or so 20 odd years later.

Incidentally, the Charitable trust which owns Fortnum’s, the Garfield Weston Foundation, was found by the Charitity Commission to have broken the law in its donations of over £1 million to the Conservative party. Could the moral indignation, not to mention hypocrisy, stem from that?

Pics: Boris on Bike using phone (probably illegal), and Boris before he got fat, when he was young, beautiful and shop lifting from Fortnum's.


  1. These 'cuts' that they were protesting about, however painful, will make no difference to our debt mountain. When the coalition leave office our debt will have risen by £500Bn.
    The 'cuts' are just smoke and mirrors to get the markets off of our backs. We're going down and the trivial 'cuts' are just hindering the inevitable. Once interest rates start to rise it will be armageddon. The government would get things over with quicker if they just spend spend spend and let us go out on a high.

  2. Cheap, making a play on his past.

    Boris is right, mindless vandalism must be clamped down on.

  3. Monty: From what I can see, after a year of Osborne's austerity programme, the amount of debt has got bigger, the growth is miniscule and life is a lot harder for people, for whom saving (which is what they want us to do) results in a loss of about 10% of the value of your savings every year.

    There was a UK government minister on the radio this morning saying we must be encouraged to save for our old age and that spending was bad (so why did they tell us that the wave of spending that accompanied the wedding was good?).

    Anyway, I was wondering how exactly the average English guy was going to manage to save in a life that started off at 18 being saddled with £27,000 in debt for uni fees, and another £30,000 living fees.

    Then I wondered how he was going to manage to save with a massive mortgage, which he would pay till he was around 55-60. He'd have 10 – 15 years to save for retirement at 70 and probably be dead by the time he was 75, making a nice large profit for the insurance company. That's what we like to see.

  4. Dean: No. It's not cheap.

    First of all he made up a story about the peaceful protesters in Fortnum’s. He said that they had caused damage which they had not. He used it on a national tv show, to defame people who were protesting quietly. These kids went in; they sat down; they disrupted business. That's all. He was caught out in that lie by a member of the authority of which he is mayor.

    Secondly I didn't bring up his past. He did.

    I didn't write his autobiography, from wherein the quote was culled. Presumably, it being an autobiography, he did. That's something that he's good at. He writes amusingly. Perhaps that's more to his abilities and talents than modern politics, where people are likely to question the veracity of figures thrown into the air, even from one so great as the mayor of London.

  5. tris..

    They can raise the pension payments as high as they want but it won't buy you a loaf of bread by the time you retire. The money won't be worth the paper it's written on. Look at the turmoil in Africa and the middle east where basic foodstuffs are beyond the reach of the people and food riots / govt overthrow are the norm. Wheat and butane gas are kept under armed guard. That's our future.

    A poem I found here is quite good...

    If price of wheat now goes sky high
    And bread that Arabs make
    Now costs so much then they should try
    To eat more chocolate cake
    Or mayhap try a nice gateau
    A cupcake would be nice
    A jellyroll or just for show
    A strudel filled with spice
    It breaks my heart to hear them cry
    And tears from me are rung
    To see they can no longer fry
    Their pancakes over dung

  6. Great poem there Monty. I'm not saving anything for my old age... so no pancakes and dung for me.

    Hell and handcart are words that come to mind.

  7. I see that Wales is also starting to have problems with the Beeb

    Boris what can one say other than buffon supported at taxpayers expense as can only happen in a backward UK.

  8. I simply don't know why they voted for him CH. He's an amusing clown, but he's a clown.

  9. Hilarious. Moral indignation of donating to a political fund, while "occupying" private property while causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage & lost sales, is just fine. You morons.

    Spend your own money, take your own risk, hire your own idiotic protestors, make your own money, and then get taxed up the ass. Then come back here and write what you have learned. In the meantime, stop whining that everybody else owes you something.