Category Archives: Boris Johnson

Satire lives!

Tom Lehrer reckoned satire died when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tom Lehrer also wrote:

When I was in college, there were certain words you couldn’t say in front of a girl. Now you can say them, but you can’t say ‘girl’. 

There’s much that ‘cannot be said’. And the Independent Office for Police Conduct, on the dubious relationship of ‘the Right Honourable’ [sic] Boris Johnson and Ms Arcuri, his pole-dancing tech-instructress, said it all:

To which can only be added, in the News of the Screws expression:

At this point, our reporter made his apologies, and left.

 

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Conservative family values, sleaze., Uncategorized

“Stay alert”

I guess it’s just me.

That particular slogan comes straight of the wall of a 1960s urinal.

Next left:

“To be is to do” — Socrates.
“To do is to be” — Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do” — Frank Sinatra.

OK: Kurt Vonnegut has that in Dead Eye Dick (1982). I’m pretty sure it was in the jakes of several dives in London’s Camden Town, around 1967.

Immediately above it:

A give and take, in two (err) hands …

My mother made me a homosexual
If I paid for the wool would she make me one?

This one from 4, Trinity College, Dublin crapper:

Beside the toilet paper:

Sociology degrees. Please take one.

Feel free to scrawl your own. But, above all —

Stay alert! Your country needs lerts.

When you find one, it’d fit neatly between lerret (“A boat suitable for heavy seas, used on the coast about the Isle of Portland”) and lesbian (“A native or inhabitant of the Greek island of Lesbos”) in the Oxford English Dictionary.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, politics, Tories., Uncategorized

‘PM and fiancee announce birth of son’: BBC website headline

The precise marital status between Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Marina Claire Wheeler QC, and Carrie Symonds is less than certain. What is certainly not clear is whether one can be properly and decently ‘affianced’ while still married elsewhere.

Moreover, that fiancée usage can be dated precisely to 1853 (says the OED), and that jocularly. It wasn’t properly domesticated until three decades later.

So I’ll try to help the BBC:
arm-candy, bag, bawd, bed-mate, bed-warmer, bint, bird, bit-of-fluff, bit-on-the-side, bitch, blowen, chippy, concubine, consort, courtesan, date, donna, doxy, dutch, fancy piece, fancy woman, flame, flirt, floozy, heater, hoochie, honey, hoor, hoyden, hussy, girl-friend, inamorata, Jezebel, jilt, kate, kept-woman, kitty, lady-love, live-in, lorette (though that one might be specific to Paris 9e), lover, made, minx, mistress, moll, mot (very Dublin. that one), odalisque, other, patootie, pullet, quean, paramour, POSSLQ (person of opposite sex sharing living quarters — US Census bowdlerisation), skronk, slacken, sloven, squeeze, steady, sugar, sultana, sweetheart, sweetie, tabby, tart, tootsie, tramp, trollop, trouble-and-strife, wench, Wag …
etc.; etc.

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Filed under BBC, Boris Johnson, Literature, Oxford English Dictionary, sleaze., Tories.

Cato-tonic economic sabotage

There are different ways to lose one’s head.

Shortly after 9/11 the Washington Post published a piece by Richard W. Rahn of the Cato Institute.

Sorry: did that sets off every fruitcake-warning klaxon? Cato describes itself as:

dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. 

One of its main thrusts is to brief the Supreme Court on its view of what the Founding Fathers would have made of any modern dilemma. The Cato Institute doesn’t blush too deeply when identified as “libertarian” (which worries me none too much), but is a renaming of the erstwhile Charles Koch Foundation, which ought to re-charge and re-energise all those klaxons.

Joseph_Addison_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt_cleanedMore positively, by the name-change the Foundation/Institute was wrapping itself in the toga of Joseph Addison, the supreme Whig essayist of the early eighteenth century.

When I was a student, working towards the Irish Department of Education Leaving Certificate, the essays of Addison, and his mate Richard Steele, were prescribed to us as models for comment, criticism and imitation. That was doubtless derived from the opinion of Doctor Samuel Johnson:

Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison.

There’s the “Kit-Kat” portrait of the man himself, by Godfrey Kneller, to the right here.

Addison’s five-act drama, eponymously on Cato the Younger, was the West End hit of 1713 — and went on to even greater success and longer-lasting fame in the American Colonies. So much so, it became a fave of George Washington, who had it performed for the delectation of his troops at Valley Forge, and serially cited it in his orations.

To the main point, Redfellow!

Much of Kahn’s argument could flow as easily from the Taxpayers’ Alliance (which are a styrofoam assemblage, merely right-wing fellow-travellers, without the intellect or clout of the Cato Institute). Let me focus, though, on Kahn’s punchline for that 2011 essay. It was:

Economic saboteurs can only succeed when the public is kept ignorant of their actions by a compliant press and timid foes. It is important that good people be as steadfast in defeating the economic saboteurs as they are with the terrorists.

The economic saboteurs of #Brexit were (and are) the ignoramuses of the Out! campaign who propagated arrant nonsense and deliberate untruths — none more grotesque than the “£50 million a week for the NHS”. That was so blatantly a lie its sponsors were denying it even as the votes were being counted. Beyond the BoJos, the Goves, the Farridges (English: rectè), it took the self-interests of the press lords and lords-in-waiting to perpetrate a stupendous, xenophobic fraud on the general populace. And they all got away with it.

By the way — no: I’m not suggesting the other side were without sin. However, the Remainers were singularly “timid” (Kahn’s word) in answering the excesses lobbed across by the Outers. Even the BBC, in the misguided pursuit of “balance” were reticent in calling the lies for what they objectively were — and are. To describe the Leader of the Opposition as “supine” is a slur on any horizontal human.

In the 1950s, East Germany (then under the jackboot of another ideological cadre) introduced the crime of “economic sabotage”, with the ultimate capital punishment of beheading. Just saying.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Britain, economy, EU referendum, High School, History, Literature, Tories., Washington Post

There are times …

… when the excesses of the Murdoch press are so grotesque, they defy imagination.

Today’s very-shady Sun has this, from the Honourable Toby Young [1]:

If the new Prime Minister is serious about taking us out of the EU, we need a Foreign ­Secretary who’s upbeat about Britain’s post-Brexit future, not another doom-monger. [2]

It will be the job of Britain’s 150 ambassadors to sell this new vision of the UK to the rest of the world, so it makes sense they should be led by someone who believes in it. [3]

Boris is a pretty good salesman in his own right. As Mayor of London, his main job was to attract business and investment to our capital — and the transformation of the city’s skyline [4] is testament to how effective he was. If he can do the same for UK PLC, Britain’s depressed northern cities will be lit up like Las Vegas. [5]

[1] Toby Daniel Moorsom Young is the son of Baron Young of Darlington, major contributor to the 1945 Labour Manifesto, and a distinguished sociologist. The Moorsom is for his mother, Sasha, who kept the BBC Third Programme and elsewhere culturally sound, and wrote a couple of decent books herself. As such, the offspring is entitled to be an “Hon”.

This fruit has fallen far, far from the Muswell Hill tree.

[2] Up to a distant point, Lord Copper.

It obviously hasn’t dawned on the Honourable Toby that Theresa May, in her wisdom, has made quite sure BoJo will have little to contribute on #Brexit. Were he even considering so doing, he would collide forcibly with the adamantine David Davis, Secretary of State for #Brexit. That would be an event where it would be would be worth having the popcorn franchise. Essential differences are that Davis does his homework, knows his stuff and is licensed to kill.

[3] Even further from the point, Lord Tinplate.

Theresa May has delegated International Trade to Liam Fox, the one Tory outstanding for being more devious, more self-seeking, more duplicitous, more venomous than BoJo. If Davis leaves a bloody BoJo corpse at the Cabinet table, Fox can be guaranteed to boot it on the way out.

[4] Ah, yes.

Generations yet unborn will hail BoJo for his architectural significance. He did more for the London skyline than the Luftwaffe. His greatest hit [sic] ought to be the car-killing 20 Fenchurch Street, a.k.a. the Walkie-Talkie.

[5] Either the Honourable Toby has smuggled an irony past the Sun sub-editors, or this has to be further proof of the man’s excellence in crassness.

The architect of Carbuncle-of-the-Year is Rafael Viñoly. A previous “commission” (read that as you please) was the Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas. This was Viñoly‘s previous attempt to build a death-ray. The curved frontage, as at Fenchurch Street, focuses the sun, with the result that sun-bathers can have their hair scorched and their loungers melted.

 

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Filed under Boris Johnson, London, Murdoch, Muswell Hill, Tories.

A tradition of national ineptitude

The tradition of Lord North (who lost British North America), Neville Chamberlain (who came close to losing the Second World War before it had really got started) and Anthony Eden (who lost out over Suez) is a dishonourable one.

Just when I assume things cannot get worse, Theresa May springs a new foreign calamity on us:

BoJo

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Britain, Conservative Party policy., History, politics, Tories.

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred

Once-upon-a-time, back in the days when Ted Heath ruled the land, British Rail submitted (and was granted) a patent for a flying saucer:

Saucer

Now the job of being Tottenham Court Road jester falls to Transport for London.

We should count TfL’s greatest hits, especially those under the present part-time Mayor of London:

  • 808 Boris Boggler buses, which parboil the occupants, are unreliable and — arguably — unsafe, don’t quite work on hybrid power train, and — but naturally — are “iconic”. Lest we forget, the cost was originally budgeted at a quarter of a million per bus, but has ballooned to over £350,000. As for the assured export and sell-on deals, say no more …
  • the Danglewire across the Thames, which goes from nowhere to nowhere, but has a scenic view of the scrapyards below: this is billed (with everything BoJo there has to be a bill) as an “airline”;
  • the Boris bike scheme, which costs Londoners a small fortune, and provides late-night thrills-and-spills for drunken stock-jobbers — this was going to be a “no-cost” operation, which now costs £1,400 per year, per bike;
  • the pretentious and pointless, but projected Garden Bridge;
  • Borisport-on-mudflat, the Grand Project for a mega-airport in the Thames, which cost £200 million;
  • a rack-rented fares policy;
  • the worst labour disputes on record (14 million Google “hits”), largely because the Mayor can’t be arsed to talk to his employees;
  • a shut-down of ticket booths, at a moment when buses went cash-free …

What’s to be done?

Nothing else for it! Send for the PR-team! And, lo!

We are searching for London’s most iconic transport designs and designers, and will be asking you to vote for your favourite from 3 August. 

These images are submissions from TfL staff, but if you think we have missed anything, please let us know your Design Icon by emailing tbd@tfl.gov.uk.

For more information on Transported by Design visit www.tfl.gov.uk/transportedbydesign

Use the hashtags #DesignIcons and #TransportedbyDesign to participate on Facebook and Twitter.

With the history, pre-Boris, of London Transport there has to be a wealth of good stuff in such a list. It doesn’t take much presience to expect the “winner” would be one of:

  • Harry Beck’s map (which has gone round the world);

Harry Beck's

  • the Johnson type-face;

Johnston_2

or

  • (just to annoy Boris) the original Routemaster.
RM1955

RM1955

Towards the end of that “suggested” list of LT “icons”, we find Wilfred the Bunny:

Wilfred the Bunny

Wilfred was, it seems, intended — or, at least, suggested for the bonnets of LT’s “Green Line” country buses. ‘Elf’n’Safety would today ban  such an ornament, but we speak of an age when form followed function, but also could be fun. Consider, in the same vein, the coins of the Irish Free State:

1928proofseta

To think, Ireland gave up such elegant simplicity for the €.

I’m assuming that the bunny had to be “Wilfred” from  the Daily Mirror comic strip, of Pip (the dog and father figure), Squeak (a penguin and mother) and the child (Wilfred, the long-eared rabbit), who all lived at the home of “Uncle Dick”, waited on by Angeline, the house-maid, on — significantly for the Green Line — the London periphery.

“Pip, Squeak and Wilfred” had another significance for the men of that post-WW1 era: they were the nicknames of the campaign medals dished out with demobilisation:

PSW

So, I’m voting for Wilfred.

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Filed under advertising., Boris Johnson, Britain, History, Ireland, London, travel