Statement on The Spectator article

From Boris Johnson - sent to the Liverpool Daily Post this morning It is quite an education to be at the centre of one of these sudden media firestorms: the cameras on the doorstep, the phone ringing off the hook, the endless requests for interviews, the shouted abuse. By Saturday morning my poor Commons secretary was so overcome by the avalanche of electronic hate mail that she had to retire to her bed. And yet I can't really pretend to be surprised. We had a firestorm because we had an editorial in the magazine that was frankly incendiary, and I have no one to blame but myself. I am the editor. I put it there. I must now take responsibility for enraging my party leader, alienating the people of a great city, and incurring the anger of not a few of The Spectator's readers. What on earth was I thinking of? How could I possibly have approved an attack on Liverpool? I will tell you the genesis of the piece. I was driving a child to a football match, and we were listening on the radio to the start of the England-Wales game, where it was the intention to hold a minute's silence in memory of Ken Bigley. I listened with mounting disbelief and disgust; because instead of keeping silent - as the people of Liverpool kept silent - the crowd started to jabber. Then they started to swear, and jeer, and catcall. After what seemed like barely twenty or thirty seconds the ref was so embarrassed that he gave up, and blew the whistle for the start of the game. The following day I looked in the papers for an account of this disgrace, and found nothing, and thought we should have a piece on it. I brooded on the causes. How could people behave so thuggishly, when called upon to hold a minute's silence? It occurred to me that the crowd's reaction showed there was something by definition false in the decision to hold the minute's silence. The ceremony required people to show an emotion that - manifestly, alas - they did not all feel. Suppose a British crowd had been asked to hold a minute's silence for those who died in the second world war. Or suppose that they were asked to commemorate all the British soldiers who have died in Iraq, or the victims of some IRA atrocity. I don't believe that silence would have been interrupted by anything more than a cough. So it struck me that a large part of the crowd was in a sense rebelling against an imposed sentiment; and that made me think about a leader on the difficulties of the culture of sentimentality in modern Britain. No doubt I shall be strongly criticized for saying this, but I still believe that the underlying point of that editorial was serious, and was worth pondering. Whatever apologies I am about to make, it would be absurd and Orwellian if I were to perform a complete intellectual U-turn, and repudiate, this week, the main point of a leader I published last week. I still think it worth saying that it is a sad truth that tumultuous displays of grief, like those we saw for Ken Bigley, will tend to encourage the Islamic terrorists, because they increase the political value of each kidnapping and murder. Time and again, in the leader, we stressed our horror and revulsion at Ken Bigley's death. Time and again we extended our heartfelt sympathies to his family. But we also pointed out that it was wrong of some of the Bigley family to say that Tony Blair had Ken's blood on his hands, because in our view the people who had Ken Bigley's blood on their hands were the people who killed him. And I say that because I do not believe it would have been right for the Government to negotiate with his kidnappers in such a way as to encourage further kidnappings, and jeopardize the lives of others working in Iraq. We concluded with a point - which I stick by - about risk, and the risks Ken was willingly running, and our modern refusal to accept that we may be in any way the authors of our own misfortunes. I now think that the point was valid, but that it was tasteless to make it in the context of Ken Bigley's death. I am truly sorry for any offence we may have caused his relatives. But I am sorry, too, for the hurt and dismay we have so evidently caused in our description of Liverpool. There may well be some Liverpudlians who still answer to the characteristics in question - just as there are all over the country. We should not have generalized, so as to seem to refer to everyone in Liverpool. Above all, we have simply no excuse for getting our facts wrong about the Hillsborough tragedy. We said "more than 50" Liverpool supporters died. That was I suppose technically accurate, but the real number was 96, as ten seconds on Google would have shown. And we should clearly not have blamed drunken fans at the back, when this cause was specifically ruled out by the inquiry report. A lot of people have said that this whole business shows that you can't be both a politician and a journalist, and that there are things you can get away with as a columnist that you simply can't say as a member of the Tory front bench. I am not so sure. After all, I am not the first journalist to be forced to say sorry to the people of Liverpool - as I do - for misrepresenting what happened at Hillsborough. I repeat that in so far as the leader made a serious point about risk and sentimentality, and the culture of blame, I stick by it. In so far as it imposed an outdated stereotype on the whole of Liverpool, and thereby caused offence, I sincerely apologise.

160 thoughts on “Statement on The Spectator article”

  1. I hope they’ll accept your apology in Liverpool. I suppose it would be a bit wimpy to wear a crash helmet when you go?

    It does sound like you’ve learned something from all this, and that part is good. I hope that folks won’t hold a grudge; god knows everyone has put their foot in it a time or two. Public figures are still human beings.

    Please do continue to write. I’ve enjoyed your books enormously (the ancient tennis ball just fell on Hugh’s–er, Chester’s head; this book has been just the thing as I seem to have also caught the flu) and your columns I’ve read online as well.

    I hope your secretary is all right! She probably needs large quantities of chocolate to restore her strength in the face of adversity. [Ed: Lori, You’re so right. I had the hugest hot chocolate with whipped cream today and a slice of passion cake to see if it would be the panacea for all ills…]

    Good luck. And get well soon!

  2. Dreadful as the murder of Ken Bigley was,the reaction was excessive.Many people are killed every day in Iraq. The coverage in the press was excessive & will only encourage more kidnappings. You were right to make the point & Michael Howard should back you.

  3. Boris, this is an excellent response to the trouble of the last few days. I’m glad you stand by your main points in the article – and I’m also highly impressed by your willingness to take the blame, despite the article probably not being your own. I hope this goes some way to calming the situation down, and I hope the support you’ve had encourages you!

  4. I’m really glad Boris hasn’t simply retracted the whole article – there’s nothing worse than having politicians who are a slave to public opinion and aren’t permitted a genuine thought of their own. His mistake in focusing on Liverpudlians has been apologised for, as it should have, whilst he retains the original criticism in the article that people over emotionalise things to the detriment of society.

    It was really interesting to read about the original thoughts behind the article – the reaction to the England Wales game. A friend of mine went to the game and although he kept to the silence, he did come back and tell us that a group of people behind him who were booing the silence, were squaddies.

    From this whole episode my admiration for Boris has increased – he has been honest enough to tell people what he thinks, was human enough to make a mistake, was humble enough to apologise, and principled enough not to pretend he now completely disagreed with the article. I only wish all MPs were like this.

  5. Oh well, it’ll all be over by tomorrow. Anyway, I doubt Liverpool will be too busy boiling over with self-indulgent, self-righteous indignation to forgive you. So why worry? It’ll just be a formality on your relentless climb up the greasy pole…

  6. Boris – The Aftermath

    It’s been a few days since the metaphorical lynching of our dear Boris, and many of the kneejerk reactions will now have been put to rest. The visits to Boriswatch have increased threefold, the comments and forum posts on Boriswatch…

  7. I agree, Krayon. This response, coupled with a hopefully calm and mature response to his visit, has shown that Boris is human, and can accept his mistakes. In a climate where it seems other politicians struggle with that acceptance, it’s a refreshing change.

  8. Boris Johnson, you are truely not deserving of all this negative media attention you have received. Your article showed an opinion (A democratic right) without appearing overly bias. May I say that I believe in what you said what whole-hearted correct and within the concensus of the majority of the British Public. The way you have dealt with the critism is a true show of your character. Please continue Editing The Spectator and encouraging thought provoking arguements.

    Dan Carruthers, 16, from Brighton.

  9. While the Hillsborough comment was clearly an error, the rest of the editorial was pretty much spot on. The over-the-top reaction from the city’s leaders, nearly every printed one of which contains the word ‘outrage’, tends rather to suggest the generalisation complained of may have something in it.

  10. What football team does Boris support if any? In the (hopefully far off) event of his death I will personally demand the club observes a 5 minute silence and the wearing of black arm bands. I am of course certain that my campaign will be successful, after all, silences and arm bands are nearly as much a part of the saturday afternoon ritual of football as the purchasing of burgers (bagels as Highbury) and hot dogs. You’ll never walk alone Boris, er, sorry.

  11. Personally I find our culture of melodrama and public grief embarrassing and utterly disrespectful and am sick of so many people’s self-enforced victim status. So I say “Bravo!” to Boris for saying what many of us have been thinking, without either the guts or outlet to make our opinions widely known.

    As for Boris’ well thought-out critique of his own publication and the possibility that he may allow himself to learn something from this whole affair? All I can say is: “Are you sure you are a politician Boris?” This isn’t exactly characteristic behaviour!

    So finally, well done for your dignified stance in the midst of such an overblown circus; don’t be dragged down to the level of the baying audience. You appear more like the only real human being in politics every day.

    PS: In reply to a query in an earlier comment: My location is rather further north than Liverpool, although I am a Southerner by birth. Not sure how this fits the north/south commenting bias, I’m afraid.

    PPS: Having lived in Manchester, there’s a whole new issue to be covered there, but I don’t want to suggest you land yourself in any more hot water just yet!

  12. I haven’t read the article but have read the outrageous reports rebuking the author. I wholly agree with the orignal comments that this country goes way over the top on things like this. To suggest all Liverpool folk enjoy their victim status as you put it is a little extreme but I agree there are enough of them and it is reflective sadly of mischannelled efforts by the ignorant. I wonder what would have happened had you questioned Bigley’s motives for working in Iraq against the recommendations of the government. It’s what everyone’s thinking isn’t it?

  13. Yes, rather – Boris, you are super; in fact your apologising has completely made me forget what it was you said in the first place.

    Sorry guys, but a big round of bravos is kind of innapropriate right now. The article was unpleasant, and Boris has made an honest apology, which is as it should be. Hopefully he won’t make such an ugly mistake again.

  14. Chin up, Boris. Cilla Black says in the Evening Standard Londoner’s Diary today: “I’ve met him, and he’s a very charming, nice man. He made a mistake, but these things happen. The article should never have been printed. What he said won’t be forgotten in Liverpool. But I think people should forgive him.”

  15. Aw, Jonathan, come on. Saying I hope he still continues to write is certainly not as over the top as all the “you cunt” comments on the last entry.

    I’m a bit surprised those were allowed to stand, actually; I guess he’s just taking his lumps, but I wouldn’t allow that kind of abuse in my blog. [Ed: with Boris, we have to let everyone expel what they wish to from their chests I think]

  16. Lori – as someone involved in the weblog’s “genesis”, as Boris words it, a decision was made to keep the comments as open as possible. This is something that is rare nowadays – and also encourages honest views, right or wrong, on Boris’s words, in the same way that Boris has been open and honest in the past. We hope that the openness of that comments system will stay as intended!

  17. Well, Simon, they had to nip a few threads in the bud on the first entry, so pardon me if I don’t take that as gospel!

    There was just a *bit* too much squealy-fangirl at the start–and it would’ve driven off anyone with common sense 😉

  18. Apology accepted as far as I’m concerned. Good to see a politician – and a Tory at that! – showing a touch of humanity and humility.

    The points about grief culture are worth standing by, but I just hope that in some way you back up your verbal apology regarding Hillsborough with action. This, I think, upset Liverpool people more than anything else because it regurgitated the horrible, groundless smears made famous by Kelvin McKenzie at The Sun.

    Do something concrete, Boris, for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/) and you’ll do more to restore your reputation on Merseyside than any amount of public contrition.

  19. Worry about winning the next election. Put this behind you.

    You made a sincere apology and if they won’t accept it; there’s only so much you can do. You give a lot, and you give your best- that’s more than a lot of your critics and political enemies can say about themselves.

  20. Nihil Illigitimus Carborundum Est – there are those who glory in the “alleged” downfall of others – the British disease – well I am glad to see a british response – your points are clear and I am in agreement with what you said – why oh why did these points not get the air time they deserved last week – are we a nation of griefmongering chavs who can only shoot from the hip

  21. The apology is fine. He stands by those parts of the article that are fair comment and apologies for the uncalled for and false accusations about Hillsborough and the unwarranted attack on Liverpool. The latter seemed to by motivated by nothing more than the fact that the murdered man came from Liverpool. As everyone from Liverpool on this board has commented, there was no overreaction in Liverpool about Ken Bigley’s death. A church held a service and the council, for want of anything better to do, organised a two minutes’ silence. Any other city would have hekd similar events if Bigley has been from elsewhere. Otherwise, people’s reactions to the whole sequence of events were very low key.

    Whats more, even the press hadn’t been reporting on an overreaction in Liverpool. The story of Bigley’s murder wasn’t much more of a topic of conservation in offices and pubs around Liverpool than it must have everywhere in Britain. Beyond that everyone just got on with their own lives.

    The writer of the Spectator simply assumed that Liverpool must have over reacted as a result of, I guess, his own prejudice and perhaps his perception of Liverpool’s reaction to the Hillborough diaster fifteen years ago and then proceeded to attack the city’s character based on his false assumption.

    I don’t know how several posters on this blog can be claiming that the article was “spot on” and the like when getting on for half of it was based on the lie that Liverpool over reacted to Bigley’s death. I’m not sure how you could have possibly think this. Were you in the city at the time? – I doubt it. Clearly the article appealed to your own prejudices. Please try to think harder.

    Anyway, Mr Johnson has apologised about these aspects of the article. For obvious reasons he cannot be looking forward to his visit, but Liverpool people aren’t a bad bunch on the whole, and I hope the reaction to his visit is better than some people on this blog might think and that he enjoys himself.

  22. Boris’ Apology

    Boris Johnson, the thinking man’s Tory, put his fut in it big time this week with an article in the spectator. Essentially he used an editorial to dismiss Liverpudlians as being people who ‘wallow’ in ‘victim status’, and claiming that…

  23. Boris’ Apology

    Boris Johnson, who is usually the thinking man’s Tory, put his foot in it big time this week with an ill-advised article in the spectator. Essentially he used an editorial to dismiss Liverpudlians as being people who ‘wallow’ in ‘victim…

  24. The editorial didn’t get the press it deserved ? i think it did..it deserved everything it got because it was so poorly researched and written – off the cuff about something the writer ( not sure if it was Boris ) had no knowledge about and played to the stereotypes bandied about by cheap comedians and The Sun – why not write an editorial on that newspaper, Boris ? A paper that has no soul, pride or heart..a paper which after the death of Princess Diana, when it said it would be more stringent on issues of privacy, carries front page pictures of footballers dying on the field and promotes these outporings of grief merely for it’s own financial gain.

    Justice for the 96.

  25. Beautiful Boris.

    Everyone makes mistakes and i’m glad you have apologised for the errors in the editorial. You have again shown why you are one of the most popular political figures in the nation.

    I only hope your article is read by all who heard about the editorial and that cynicism isn’t rife amongst the readers. I hope that they see your above article for what it is: a frank apology and a beautiful example of how to redeem oneself from a seemingly impossible situation.

  26. Please don’t stop saying what you think just because sometimes it comes out wrong – it’s a rare and wonderful thing to have a high-standing politician who speaks honestly. And apologises when they get it wrong.

  27. “time and again, in the leader, we stressed our horror and revulsion at Ken Bigley’s death.”

    *** I noticed that at the time – there was a sort of to-and-fro feel about the article that stayed with me. It was making its point but trying to balance that by not underplaying the horror either. I recall remarking here on this board that the article was considerably less combative that Mark Steyn’s pulled one for the Telegraph.

    However, Liverpool is not my city and so the comments on Liverpool didn’t jump out at me in they way they would have jumped out at any Liverpudlian. It was highly tactless.

    In retrospect it’s unfortunate that Mr Bigley’s fate got mixed up with, so to speak, the idea of Liverpool. He was’t himself so fond of the city that he wanted to settle there: he was planning to live in Thailand.

    It was a gaffe. However, Michael Gove is exceptionally foolish in the Times today:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-1316845,00.html

    He says that Boris is “emotionally unintelligent” but that the former Princess of Wales was “emotionally intelligent”. The concept of “emotional intelligence” is down to Daniel Goleman of Rutgers University:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0553375067/104-8203118-1103166?v=glance

    His suggestion is that some people are better than others at understanding their own and others’ emotions. The thought is that such understanding is the sign of a well-integrated personality and brings psychological harmony with it. I can’t see that a bullimic who throws herself downstairs when pregnant in order to manipulate others to get her own way would be the kind of person Dr Goleman was thinking of when he coined the term “emotionally intelligent”.

    Gove must be barking mad.

  28. boris, I am from a family born bred and still living in and working in liverpool and i couldn’t agree more. Why do we have two minutes silence for individuals who have died in the course of their line of work, rather than serving their country?

  29. Although with many of the other commentors here, I feel that such an apology was not strictly necessary, one begins to wonder if the whole sordid situation was staged to prove that certain politicians CAN say sorry. 😉

  30. As a Mancunian who enjoyed working in Liverpool for four years I’m sure the people of that City will give him an earful but at the same time appreciate his visit. It’s a rare sight – a politician confronting his critics and making what I think is a genuine apology.

  31. Boris, you simply need to balance your comments by having a go at the rest of the country. Henley, Islington, Wales, for example. When you are leader, I will vote Tory.

  32. I was born and bred in Liverpool and I have to say that I agree with the comments made in The Spectator. Was there a minutes silence when the two young girls were shot in Birmingham last month? Or after the shooting in Nottingham the other month? Were there mintes silences at football grounds all around the country? Liverpool needs to stop feelign sorry for itself in general. It’s doing a great job of cleaning itself up and the change to the look of the city is great. Shame about some of the martyrs who live there.

  33. The original article was spot on.
    Well done for having the guts to print it.
    Shame you apologised.
    How many people had even heard of Ken before this??
    People of Liverpool get a grip.

  34. Sir, I cannot remember where I read it goes but something like this. “In a climate of corruption and decay, the truth is an act of rebellion”.

    Keep-up-the-good-work.
    JNField

  35. Boris says it would be ‘Orwellian’ to do a complete intellectual U-turn on this. I think he’s aiming a little high with that description – he would simply be following in the great British tradition of political hypocrisy. The fact is, he clearly wanted to print something controversial in his magazine, and when the result was more than he expected, was forced to apologise for it without really believing he did anything wrong.

    For what an apology it is. He says he was wrong about the people of Liverpool but right about the general obsession with ‘mawkish sentimentality’ prevalent in the country today. But in the Spectator leader, we are informed that hearing the fans at the England-Wales match being less than respectful during the 1-minute silence for Bigley made Boris realise that the good people of England weren’t taken in by the Liverpudlians’incorrigible sense of their own victimhood. Boris’s self-contradiction here points to his inability to juggle even two balls at the same time. Following his own instincts, he feels that the people of Liverpool are tribally supportive, welfare-scrounging victim junkies; following his boss’s dictat at Central Office, he acknowledges that maybe only a few people in Liverpool are like this – and probably no more than elsewhere in the country (a country that, according to him, sees through this very mawkishness).

    In other words, either the apology is pure cant, or the original article pure nonsense. I’m not sure Boris really understands the meaning of ‘Orwellian’ – he is it turns out merely another great British hypocrite.

  36. Don’t apologise too much for the Bigley aspect – lots of Brits work abroad as ex-pats for “loadsa money”. Do we have a major news story every time something happens to one of them, and then a 2 minute silence? I don’t think it is anything to do with Liverpool – it is a general correctness thing now.

    I personally am fed up of so much headline news coming from Iraq and Israel/Palestine when there is so much more happening in the world.

    Keep up the critics job Boris!

  37. You shouldn’t apologise: it was a well-written article, and the reference to Captain Scott was spot on. The fact that people complained suggests that (like the people who whinge about human rights) they have a severe inferiority complex.

    P.S. Can one really take seriously a city that names its airport after John Lennon?

  38. Haven’t voted Tory for years, but make Boris party leader and he’ll get my vote at the general election.
    Good on you, sir. You’re a breath of fresh air.

  39. I have read and listened to the furore caused by your article, quite frankly, you have only echoed the sentiments of a ground swell of opinion, evident in this country, if the politicians who control this country had the “bottle” to listen and takenotice. I always understood that we lived in a democracy and thus, each individual was free to express an opinion, and, that opinion was not to be controlled by others!! I do not think there is any need for a grovelling apology, as this would only serve to place you in the ranks of the “grey suits” and not, as someone who has the intellect to think and be outstanding. I place you in the latter category.

  40. It is particualarly ironic that someone who writes complete drivel 95% of the time should be reprimanded and hounded into apologising for the one article where he is spot on.

  41. Good or poor judgement? A reasonable point to make or not? The truth is that it was very shoddy journalism. You screwed up, Boris. You got your facts wrong.

    You inability has caused all of this. If we can’t trust you as a journalist, we certainly can’t trust you as a politician.

    This can never engender admiration for a journalist. As for the work of an editor… Time to fall on your sword my old chap.

  42. A well crafted retort sir. While I, like many who would not typically support many of your views, agree broadly with the thrust of the original piece I have to say that it could have been made equally effectively with no reference what so ever to Hillsbrough. The rights and wrongs of the feelings of the people of Merseyside are irrelevant. It is simply a matter best left alone entirely. Unless it is the central focus of the piece the emotions it stirs in people will always drown out the point you are trying to make, rather than help illustrate it.

    Continuing to enjoy your blog, Boris. I hope this incident has in part proved to you the value of the exercise.

  43. Boris made the mistake of getting a few facts wrong in a controversial article that overall made an important point. Yes Ken Bigley’s death was horrific, but what we have seen is many people trying to turn this into the a Princess Diana sized exercise in mourning. I feel dreadfully sorry for Ken’s family, but just as I do for every soldier and Iraqi who has died in the conflict. The only thing that makes Ken special is that he had a choice to go to Iraq, and for his choice he earned a good wage. The other des who died had no choice.

  44. If the comments from these bloggers are representative of public opinion, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about, Boris. I’m not sure that Michael Howard comes out of it very well, but if he has any sense, he’ll make you Home Secretary in his forthcoming Government. From there, it’s only a short hop to becoming Prime Minister.

    What a good thing it will be to have a PM who can amuse us. No-one has done that since the days of Disraeli & Palmerston.

  45. i for one will be accepting mr johnsons apology but im realy unsure why he needs to… maybe some of it was abit over the top but as the old saying goes ‘the truth can sometime hurts’ plus i thought that this country was ment to have ‘free speech’

    good luck today mr johnson

    Stephen from Liverpool

  46. While I can see why some Liverpudlians may have feel as though they were being unfairly labelled by the editorial, on other points I can not but agree.

    Mr Bigley, although a tragic case, made a decision to work in an area which the Foreign Office advises against. Because of his greed, he decided to take a risk which obviously could lead to his demise. I really can not understand why so much grief should be shown over one fairly insignificant man. Are we going to grieve over the loss of each of our armed forces in a similar way?

    Furthermore, if the terrorists had been susceptible to a “pay off”, then this would have paved the way for yet more terrorist abductions.

    History teaches us that if you pay off terrorists, you will be rewarded with yet more terrorist activities, funded by the very money which was paid as ransom. Isn’t this exactly what happened in the 70s under a previous Labour government? At least “New Labour” (sic) appear to have learned one lesson from their illustrious past.

    PS: Boris, keep up the good work.

  47. You know its nice for once to see a pice of journalism get up some ones nose. Its a shame that Liverpool could not responed in a level headed manner.

  48. I support you for the comments you made, and am glad you haven’t retracted your views on the sickly sentimentality which is demeaning and undermining the true Britishness of our country. When did it start? Diana? well it certainly gained momentum at that time but it has been creeping in for years – bunches of flowers left wherever there has been a fatality – be in accidental or otherwise (perhaps one ought to buy shares in the florist-trade?) but also in the same category are birthday-balloons; in fact, birthdays – every one ending in a 0 or a 5 has to be acknowledged publicly. Hen-nights, stag-nights – it is all getting out of control. I am not condemning it all foot, line and sinker – just the over-the-top nature it has all assumed. Let’s have fun, but do it the British way; let us sympathise and mourn but not forgetting the British stiff upper lip.

    Back to Diana: we were lead to believe the whole country was mourning – it wasn’t true and many of us had to keep our views to ourselves. History has revealed the truth. It is the same exercise with you, now; most of us agree with you but it would not be PC to support you – we would be branded as National Front!

    However, the Brits still maintain their capacity to accept an apology; it will be noted that you have done this, just as it has been noted that Mr Blur (sorry, I meant Blair) missed his opportunity to do so. Mr Blunder (sorry, I meant Blunkett) is another who doesn’t say sorry. May they get their come-uppance at election-time, and may you get your reward,

  49. Talk about a fart in a tea cup, there was some legitimacy to the statements made, although it was a little untactful. However its wrong to make Boris a scapegoat given the wrath should be directed towards the islamic killers of Mr Bigley, as for hilsborough well should the railings have been there? are the hooligans to blame or the clubs for installing them or the politicians for not tackling hooliganism?. To be fair the death of princess diana would have been a more apt example and replacing liverpool with the uk to avoid locally percived discrimination, everyone knows that scousers dont have the thickest of skins, brains maybe but skins nooooo.

    I sincerely hope that this incident goes away and a decent person is not ostracised for free speech.

    Good luck boris, i still hate you for being conservative though.

  50. I have been pleased recently to see that the Conservative Party is at last re-growing the spine that it lost in November 1990 when Maggie left, with something resembling the right noises coming out re immigration and race for instance. However, Michael Howard’s reaction shows that the party still has a little way to go yet. Let’s just hope they get there sooner rather than later.

    I wonder how many votes were lost by MH’s orders to Boris as opposed to the votes lost or won by the original article?

  51. Paul Bigley, stfu, with all due respect to your brother, had he not been in iraq then you would not be in the news, why was he in iraq? Gambling with his life for the greed of extra riches, he didnt deserve to die but he knew the risk and took the gamble but lost and paid with his life. I am sickened by the way you seem to have become a self styled martyr for your brother. Boris isnt the face of islam, Islam is where you must direct your anger and hate.

  52. I think it is very sad that Borris would be seen to be an educated man, would still try to turn his trip to Liverpool into a PR stunt. What you have said is disgraceful and certainly many people who may of listened to you views would now disregard anything you may have to say. You have embarrassed yourself.

  53. Surely we live in a (sufficiently) free country wherein opinions and views can be expressed? I think it is perfectly OK and even commendable to apologise for any offence an opinion might give rise to and certainly for factual errors, but can it be right to apologise for printing a widely held view?

    I fear that you are the victim of a political party struggling to find popular appeal. Please cease the apologies and take pride in having the courage to air a valid point at a time when we risk becoming a media-driven country, with all of our popular views dictated by our politically correct TV producers and press editors.

    Incidentally, just after Ken Bigley was murdered, a 14-year-old girl was shot in Nottingham. Both cases are equally tragic and I appreciate that the experience of Ken Bigley was a good deal more drawn out so, to some extent, we all lived with it for several weeks, but where now is the media hype over Danielle Beccan? Were there televised church services and did the country mourn publicly, or was it a just a couple of days worth of sad news?

    Much as every reasonable person must feel genuine sympathy for the Bigley family, we all have as much reason to send flowers and wear armbands for Danielle Beccan, but perhaps we do not because her case has not been selected as sufficiently politically sensitive.

  54. Boris,

    As our future prime minister you are absolutley correct in what was published..

    Liverpool was deeply distressed over the death of Diana. Deeply distressed that she didnt die in Liverpool and try as they might had no connection with the city.

    Remember, the only reason the Mersey runs through Liverpool is that if it doidnt someone would steal it.

    Its time that people stopped these pathetic public outpourings of grief and got on with life in the real world. Like you we all have the utmost sympathy for the Bigley family. But were there similar outpourings for the IRA victims? ( surely the victoms of Bliars new best freinds Adams and Mc Guiness?) I dont recall the USA attemtping to invade Northern Ireland in the war agaist terrorism.

    Boris, you have the nations full support. i know we can rely on you to keep up the good work. The nation needs a coup led by you and Brian Sewell to bring some credibility back to the country.

    Even the naturally stupid Americans are taking notice of you.

    NIGE

    Normandy

    France ( like so many others who couldnt stand Bliar and his destruction of Britain any longer and fled abroad)

    PS I worked in Henley for years just before you got the seat. Hope the Angel on the Bridge is still a good boozer.

  55. James

    I liked your balanced thinking on this whole embroglio!

    Surely the storm will calm soon.

    Great comments, thank you.

  56. Boris,

    Agreed whole-heartedly with the sentiments of your magazine’s article. I wish I could move so I could have you as my MP instead of David Drew!

    Andy

  57. I hope that Jimmy, above, is not seriously advocating aiming hatred at Islam for the death of Paul Bigley.

    If he is, I suggest he keeps his comments to himself in future, as this is not a brush anyone needs to be tarred with.

    PS – Boris, you were spot on, but a lesson learned – the truth is easier to swallow when not accompanied by what ammounts to a personal attack on an entire community. The reaction to the article validates, to a large extent, the ideas put forward by it; which makes it all the more likely that you should have seen this coming. Still, weather it out. All the best.

  58. If only everyone in Liverpool could go to Eton, then maybe they wouldn’t be quite so embarrassing to you Boris!

    How can you hope to represent our City of Culture??

    ps. can I have a refund on my copy of ‘Jottings from the Stump’??

  59. Boris, you have nothing to apologise for, your comments are not mis-placed, you were only confirming what the vast majority of us already thought. Keep up the good work! Finally – What’s Michael Horward got do to with anything except dragging the conservatives further into oblivion?

  60. Frankly I was appaled at the media coverage of Bigley befor Boris made his statement, the media blew the whole thing out of all proportion. The media dont give that much coverage when a soldier gets killed.

    I agree with what Boris said, I dont see why he should apologise, it was similar when that stupid woman princess Diana died, sure it was a shame but the media just went berserk over it and so did the public.

    I think the people who rubbish what Boris said should get a grip on reality, at the end of the day Boris was right.

  61. Boris,
    While I doubt I will ever vote conservative, I feel your article in the spectator was spot on but published a little too soon after the event. In this country we have seen this outpouring of grief time and time again and something needed to be said. When Diana died the country was shocked. It annoyed me to see people who didnt know her and had never met her crying. They’d lost a public figure, somebody to read about in the Sunday papers, Princes William and Harry had lost a mother and, to their credit, remained composed throughout. What struck me most about the Diana situation was the way it seemed the grief rose exponentially in the week after her death. By Friday the whole country was so consumed with sadness that there were huge crowds outside Buckingham Palace. Looking back at the funeral and subsequent release of an Elton John song it all seems so ridiculous. One thing I would like say is that I feel the people of Liverpool have been on the recieving end of a lot of criticism over the years and are sensitive to any criticisms made in the media. What you said about Hillsborough was wrong. We are forgetting that it was the worst disaster in our football history. But I do see a point to be made about the level of grief. It is disproportionate. If you compare what happened after Hillsborough where 99 people died during a recreation activity to what happened after the death of Ken Bigley who went to work in a warzone against the advice of the foreign office, there definitely something wrong. Either we’re being unfair the victims of Hillsborough for not grieving enough or we are overdoing it, as your article states, with Ken Bigley.

  62. Congratulations to Boris Johnson for standing up and saying what I suspect many were thinking but were afraid to say in public.
    The killing of Ken Bigley is, of course, a tragic event, but let’s not forget why he was in Iraq – to earn a large amount of money in a short time, the money paid to him reflecting the fact that the job carried considerable risks. Mr Bigley was not, as far as I am aware, giving his time and effort in a charitable way and thus does not afford from me at least the same respect that I have for the latest kidnap victim, Margaret Hassan. Some might even regard Mr Bigley as having been “cashing in” on Iraq’s misfortune.
    The mass hysteria surrounding the death of Mr Bigley is something we are seeing increasingly in the UK, and percolates down through our society to the point where we now commonly see floral tributes left at the scenes of fatal road crashes (and where they all too often provide a distraction that could easily result in further loss of life). I rather suspect that this is yet another example of our British culture being permeated by transatlantic influences.

  63. Only the media went over the top over Ken Bigley’s death, not the people of Liverpool. I keep on saying on this blog, but the reaction in Liverpool was low key. All that happened was a thinly attended church service and a council organised two minutes silence, not the only one or two minutes silence organised around the country. Anyone who spend time in the city around this period knows that Bigley’s death was a big media event, but not one that had much effort on the people of the city, other than the unfortunate man’s family.

    Until the Spectator writer wrote the leading article no one, even including the press had claimed that the response to Bigley’s death in Liverpool was anything other as sober and limited in its extent as it was. The media (of which the Specator is a part may have made too much of Bigley’s murder, not the people of Liverpool).

    In writing an article that made a some reasonable points about the larger issues, the writer spoilt it by assuming that Liverpool in particular had over reacted when it had not and then proceeding to attack the city based on this assumption.

    Now, the obvious thing for those in the city to do following this attack would be to ignore it as, indeed, complaining about it would play into the hands of those who would accuse Liverpool of over reaction. So far, so easy. However, by also including a false accusation about the Hillsborough disaster where 96 people lost their lives and by praising Kelvin McKenzies frankly disgusting Sun article that closely followed it, the article guaranteed and, in fact, necessitated a response.

    Boris Johnson has apologised for the false statements in the article about Hillsborough and stated that Liverpool should not have been singled out for hyping up Bigley’s death so that those parts of the article that were offensive to Liverpool (not just because the were hurtful, they were also wrong) have now been effectively withdrawn.

    Liverpool should now accept the apology (and I believe that most in the city will). However, that fact that it is so easy to tease out nasty and bigotted comments about Liverpool such as a few in the blog above is perhaps a reason why people in Liverpool might have a reason to feel a bit touchy. The are some stupid and prejudiced people out the with unpleasant and inaccurate views about Liverpool (hello Nige). But Liverpool should ignore them as it usually does.

    The more open-minded and intelligent people who do not know Liverpool as a city and then spend some time there usually come away with nice things to say about the place. After all, it is a city that despite its downsides like many other places has a lot going for it in terms of its wonderful architecture, museums, great art galleries and museums and not least a majority of fiendly people and the second lowest crime levels of any large city in England.

  64. Dear Boris,
    I am sorry that you had to apologise, but I am glad that you kept the points that you consider important. I listened to part of the phone in, and I was shocked by some of the people that phoned. I don’t think they realised how serious the things they said were. A journalist has the duty to say things that he thinks are right, and he needn?t be sent into exile for what he writes. If you don’t agree with what is written, you read the article and demolish it point by point, nobody has done this, and at the most they just insult you. Is this the way the country is going? Incapacity of reasoning? Just relying on sound bites for information and being influenced by the media without searching for different points of view to make up one’s own decision? Without going to the source of the debate? I buy the Spectator every week, it can irritate me, especially a couple of journalists (that shall remain un named), but I can make up an argument against them, it’s not difficult with some of them. If my blood pressure jumps up, I write to the editor (but only once I have been published). I also buy the New Statesman, but that can irritate me even more… I think you should write a new article on the decline of the art of reasoning in the UK, probably too late, but if this is the level of the majority of voters in the UK, we will have another 4 years of Bleargh. I think I shall stay in Italy for the time being…

  65. Re: Josh, yes i see no problem of tarring people with the same brush when their beliefs are that all non muslims must die. If they insist standing by a 1500 year old doctrine written over 20 years by one man who thought a jihad should be inplace for all non-muslims devalues any credance it may have had. People have always been imaginative, even in the first millenia post the birth of jesus, perhaps more so. Why did Ken Bigley die? because of islam, fact.

    I hope Boris doesnt get railroaded by this archaic unjustified witch hunt. Its the 21st century for pete’s sake.

  66. I concur with most of the above replies. I read DT and agree with a good many of your articles.Keep up the politics we need more like you:You are a future PM if you dont make any more blunders.

  67. Boris, an excellent clarification of your views. I agree totally. I am a great fan of yours personally and after 21 years have finally made a political alligence this year. I hope this business isn’t effecting you, may i suggest you look at the bbc website, it would seem the quiet majority agree with you. keep up the good work.

  68. Chin up Boris, you’re only mistake was saying something that some many quietly agreed with, a little too early and perhaps a little under rehearsed.
    Take comfort from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3749350.stm where so many people have agreed with you.

    And for lol, I understand that in Liverpool WHSmiths only sold 7 copies of The Spectator, before the left decided to ‘out’ these comments.

    It is very amusing the number of phone-in’s (e.g. Radio 5) where outraged caller from Chester who’s mother lives in Liverpool ‘raged’ about the editorial, before politely adding that they haven’t actually read it.
    Re: Culture of Blame – Boris, don’t make the mistake of becoming what the editorial was commenting upon in sack cloth, ashes and apologies.
    And on that thought, I leave you to stir your loins (crikey, yikes!) and prepare for breakfast (as PM of course!)

  69. I agree with little that you say except the broad thrust of your most recent excellently controversial article. Well done.

    Having said all that, you’re a thoroughly amusing character and I wish you all the best.

    PS. Stop brown-nosing Howard. There are plenty in the Tory party who will do this adequately without you joining in. And when Howard leads the Tories into nowhere-land at the next election take some joy in voting his butt away to somewhere from which he will never reappear.

  70. As I saw news reports of the mourning in Liverpool for Kenneth Bigley, my initial reaction was one of disquiet.

    Without belittling the terrible fate of Mr Bigley, this is not the first British casualty in Iraq. This first overt British public outpouring of grief seemed to me a bit of a slap in the face for the British soldiers who have anonymously given their lives already in this war. Let us not forget that Mr Bigley’s primary motive for being in Iraq was financial – he did not give his life out of duty for his counrty.

    Of course Liverpudlians are going to react to The Spectator article as they have – nobody likes an outsider, especially one percieved as ‘elitist’, to tell them how to put their own house in order. This is a universal truth – witness the replies to the Guardian’s ill-conceived letters to American voters stunt in the last week. To extrapolate further, witness the daily response of the Iraqi ‘insurgents’ to those currently bringing them ‘democracy’.

    I was in Brussels when this furore broke. I glanced at the local skyline and couldn’t help thinking that in my experience, whenever the spectre of Hillsborough was raised, Liverpudlians suffered collective amnesia of the tragic 1985 events at Heysel. It is often as hard to admit unpalatable things to ourselves, as it is to be told them by other people.

    In time, and of their own accord, I am sure level-headed, reasonable Liverpudlians will see past the emotion, and recognise some of the wider truths in Mr Johnson’s article without the fog of regionalism clouding their judgement.

  71. Ken Bigley

    No doubt you’ve read about the editorial in The Spectator, editted by Boris Johnson, about the beheading of Ken Bigley. The article, in the issue dated 16 October, says people in Liverpool “cannot accept that they might have made any…

  72. If a chap can’t hold and voice a contraversial opinion, what use is he in politics? I’m glad you apologised for the things you apologised for. I’m gladder that you didn’t apologise for those parts which required no apology.

  73. Boris I read your account of why and how you came to write/approve that editorial, and I accept it, makes sense to me and I won’t question your integrity. But I have to agree with those who say you can’t be a journalist and a politician.

    I’m a writer who, briefly, joined one of the main political parties, I won’t say which. They quickly latched on to me as a good prospect and I was soon pushed into standing as a councillor, with a view to chairing a committee. And by the polls at the time, this was likely to happen.

    At which point I backed out. I had realised by then I could never stand for a platform. By which I mean a whole raft of policies, ANY raft of policies, because I was never going to believe in all of them, and was temperamentally incapable of pretending that I did. Which is why I am a writer, not a politician.

    Wherever you go from here, good luck to you.

    Peter Francis-Mullins

  74. Boris

    Keep your head up, you are one of the best things in the media and polatics. I think with the benefit of hindsight you would ofd generalised more. But at least you have the balls to admit the bits you were inacurate. Which is a lot more then most of the others, the P.M. springs to mind.

  75. There is much truth in the now famous article, but it was probably unfair to single out Liverpool
    when the comments probably apply to the whole country more fairly than to Liverpool alone.

    Boris’s apology is more than adequate – and I am not sure that the whole incident has much to do with the Conservative Party as a whole.

    I hope that he may find the way to continue his editorship of the Spectator , or failing that, that any new editor is at least as good as he is!

  76. Boris – well played to day! Tricky wicket and all that. Must have been awkward and all that. My advice old boy is ignore them – this fuss will blow over and all that and you are far too valuable a part of the political and journalistic world to quit. Your point is essentially right and we will reap the whirlwind for becoming a bunch of emotional ninnies. Still, I guess that is progress…

    As Churchill would have said – Keep Buggering On

    All the best

  77. Boris – well played to day! Tricky wicket and it must have been awkward and all that. My advice old boy is ignore them – this fuss will blow over soon enough, and you are far too valuable a part of the political and journalistic world to quit. Your point is essentially right and we will reap the whirlwind for becoming a bunch of emotional ninnies. Still, I guess that is progress…

    As Churchill would have said, KBO.

    All the best

  78. boris.get urself a better reseacher and i listend to you on local radio today you came across as genuine. mr norman betterson ex police chief of merseyside who was at hillsbrough that day has never appologised for his part and billy connolley made a comment about ken bigley havent seen him at radio merseyside. well done boris you made a mistake and were man enough to come here and put your version across .GOOD LUCK oh and nige by name and nige by nature eh

  79. Don’t listen to those ludicrous individuals who appear to live in a static teletubbie world.
    You have every right to make the point you made, and while it may not have been terribly wise to focus quite so much on Liverpool (miserable bunch), the country needs people like you to call a spade a spade. If the country had historically failed as spectacularly as it currently is to take a balanced and democratic view of events, and of the blame that can and cannot be apportioned to tragedy, we’d all be ruled by Hitler’s grandchildren.

  80. Well done Boris. Whilst like everyone else I was horrified at the recent events leading up to death of Mr Bigley, in general terms I think what you said was more or less correct, and many people I have spoken to have the same views. When discussing the minutes silence held at the England – Wales game most peoples comments were “I couldn’t believe it” meaning “Why was it held?” I believe you addressed the reasons it was held in your article and I agree that they were the wrong reasons.

    Of course, when somebody in public life voices an opinion that may be not “politically correct”, but which nevertheless is akin to what many people are thinking, certain people and sections of the media throw their hands in disgust, and it feels somewhat hypocritical to me.

    What I believe your were referring to with regard to the people of Liverpool is that they sometimes give the impression that the are a breed apart from everyone else. Their working class are not just working class, they are more working class than anyone else; they are not just funny, they are more funny than anyone else.

    It makes a nice change to have a politician put his head above the parapet for once.

  81. Dear Boris,

    Although I am a card carrying and life-long member of the Labour Party, I am none the less a fan a free speech, and hence a fan of yours!

    What your magazine’s article said needed saying – the inclination towards public sentimentality deserves to be attacked, and should lead us to question the process of sensationalisation that leads to this sort of thing.

    I believe the article has served this purpose, and is also causing some people to think also about the way in which military casualties are, by contrast, ignored in comparison to the public “grief” demonstrated in respect of the unfortunate adventurer Ken Bigley. He did not deserve to die – but he was there of his own volition, whereas the squaddies are there to do their duty.

    Of course we all feel very sorry for Mr Bigley and his family on a personal level, but I don’t think in a free and fair society we can afford to let some subjects become “out of bounds” simply because of the populist response to the death of a man that most of them did not know.

    You were however right to apologise for the generalisations that lumped all Liverpudlians together as one; of course there are people who may choose to join in public expressions of grief all over the country, and I am sure there are also people in Liverpool who feel as you do (but probably not about to admit this in public at present!). But please do not apologise for what is right!

    Andy

    p.s. please resign from the Tories and come and join us in New Labour 🙂

  82. Glad to see you didn’t retract the whole article, the basis of it was totally valid and it would have been utterly sickening for you to have taken it all back.

    I notice a lack of uproar at the comments made by Mr Howard (“I have nothing but the greatest admiration and affection for Liverpool and its people.” – what you’ve met them all?) and Phil Hammond of The Hillsborough Family Support Group (“We don’t see ourselves as victims. We’re a friendly city and we stand by each other when one of us gets hurt or killed.”). So I guess the rule is – stereotyping and generalising are ok as long as you are saying nice things. What an intelligent nation we are.

  83. Boris,

    Whatever you do, take no notice of those people who seek to decry valid viewpoints and arguments.

    Don’t let them get you down. The world of politics would be vastly more grey and uninteresting were you to bow out.

    Good luck!

  84. Ken Jones, Ken Bigley’s nephew, said today that “The comments Boris Johnson made about my uncle and the Hillsborough situation are unforgivable…”
    If he believes that the comments were about his uncle and Hillsborough, rather than the reaction to them, then I strongly suggest he actually reads said piece.

    Anyone got his e-mail address? I’d be only happy to send him a copy. Maybe he can make an intelligent, informed comment then.

  85. James Higgins wrote “Incidentally, just after Ken Bigley was murdered, a 14-year-old girl was shot in Nottingham. Both cases are equally tragic and I appreciate that the experience of Ken Bigley was a good deal more drawn out so, to some extent, we all lived with it for several weeks, but where now is the media hype over Danielle Beccan? Were there televised church services and did the country mourn publicly, or was it a just a couple of days worth of sad news?

    Much as every reasonable person must feel genuine sympathy for the Bigley family, we all have as much reason to send flowers and wear armbands for Danielle Beccan, but perhaps we do not because her case has not been selected as sufficiently politically sensitive.”

    This is a perfect example of the hypocrisy going on here. One one hand he bemoans the fact that there is not enough of an outpouring of grief on the part of people about Danielle Beccan, then criticizes the outpouring of grief over Ken Bigley. You can’t have it both ways.

    He claims that it’s because the Beccan case isn’t ‘politically sensitive’ enough, whatever that means. He conveniently forgets that we were subjected to weeks of media speculation about Bigley, videotaped pleas for his life, and the anguish of his family. How could one fail to be moved by the fact that we literally watched this man die? Or at least, when I say ‘we’, I mean those of us who actually read the news and try to stay in touch with current events. The reason why there was such a strange reaction to the moment of silence at the England game Boris refers to, is that those people probably didn’t know who Bigley was, and additionally probably couldn’t tell you the name of the President of the United States, or what continent Iraq is located on.

    Neither the editorial nor the apology make a single valid point, in my opinion, and I’ve never been to Liverpool.

  86. Well done. There are so few people these days who have the courage to say out loud what most of us truly feel. Sadly you have been assaulted by the baying press, particularly the dreadful BBC,not to mention your ineffectual leader.
    Keep up the good work, and, incidentally, our spirits!!

  87. I still stand by what I said above, but I just heard Paul Bigley’s attack on Boris and did think it was a bit much. I’m sure that he’s still in shock, so I don’t blame him for reacting the way he did, but it was wrong for the radio station to let that happen. I think that’s a pretty good example of how it’s the media and not the people of Liverpool who are keeping this story going…

  88. I’ve read the whole editorial properly at last, and unless Boris has some devious PR agenda or something (not impossible) it’s really rather disappointing.

    Without the parts that have since been withdrawn and apologised for, it doesn’t say anything that others (notably recently Mark Steyn on his website and Alice Miles in the Times) haven’t already said. I don’t associate warmed-over thinking with Boris’ work.

    The factual inaccuracies and unsupportable slurs on Liverpool really ought to have been picked up by the most superficial checking. That’s disappointing in so talented a journalist. Given the experiences of “The Sun” since 1989, he can hardly have been unable to predict the likely outcome of publishing hurtful untruths about those clannish and emotional Scousers (oops!)

    I think it’s right for people to have been critical of the singling out of Liverpool and the crass references to Hillsborough, and proper for Boris to have apologised for that. I don’t think the circus of the pilgrimage to Merseyside was appropriate, but maybe that served some political purpose? However, the argument about excessive sentimentality in British society is well made and I hope it won’t be lost in all this fuss. It is a trend that has been apparent at a local as well as a national level for some years and deserves to be discussed.

  89. Boris, I agree. Liverpudlians are wallowers in self pity and they love nothing more than to hold a grudge. Look at how poor Wayne Rooney was treated when he left their precious team and sold a story to the ‘enemy’ press – national hero to local zero in one swift move! They just cannot let things lie even after 20 years.

    However, even though you know all these things about Liverpool you still decided to publish that article – sadly this is probably going to have aftershocks for you for a few decades and you probably won’t be able to return for the rest of your life… no loss there then.

  90. Keep your pecker up, Boris, and do tell that ineffectual Welsh Romanian, Mikhial Hecht, where to get off.

    No 10 is not good enough for you.

    ‘Boris For Queen’!

  91. I think that the ungracious response by Mr. Paul Bigley to Mr. Johnson’s olive branch vindicates Mr. Johnson. Okay, so perhaps things could have been dealt with differently…..anybody else perfect, then? Time to move on.

  92. Although there are already many messages in support I thought I would just join in to add my contribution to the numbers, Boris. I know it is easy for me to say and I would be the last person to be able to take my own advice, but ignore the silly, over sensitive buggers. From what I have read, they themselves have gone over the bounds of decency in their reporting & comments.
    I just hope that concerns from the PC brigade will not stop you from chairing ‘Have I Got News for You’ again!
    Keep up the good work.

  93. I think that the ungracious response by Mr. Paul Bigley to Mr. Johnson’s olive branch vindicates Mr. Johnson. Okay, so perhaps things could have been dealt with differently…..anybody else perfect, then? Time to move on.

  94. Dear Mr Johnson
    As a Sheffielder I thought your comment was correct, the only problem was that it was in print. Mistakes were made on all sides in the Hillsborough disaster, but the event was caused by late coming fans many of them from Liverpool who tried to push their way into the ground. Unfortunately innocent people were killed. I hope you are able to weather this storm successfully

  95. Boris you are damned right about mawkishness, emotional correctness and I will take your (and thousands of others) word for it on Liverpool too!

    This fuss they are making is absolutely ridiculous. A media fed sham using me Ken Bigley’s idiot radical brother as a stooge.

    Shame on Howard for interfering in an editorial and demanding that ridiculous visit.

    What greater proof of the wretchedness of Liverpool is needed than Paul Bigley himself? He exemplifies what you described. Self-pitying, mawkish, aggressive, ruthlessly using whatever he can to his advantage…you could guess where he was from.

    He refused to accept an honest apology (and an unnecessary one at that)! He can stuff the last of my sympathy up his arse. He is a sour, graceless twat and he ought to be deeply ashamed using his brothers murder as an excuse to play politics.

    Oh, and Liverpudlians, he, Bigley living, represents YOU. Shame on you.

  96. Just a comment on what Stuart said above, I agree the media is running this show, and it is a dreadfull show. Paul Bigley is milking this for all he can and the media I suspect are there encouraging it all.

    Remember this Boris, you will be around in the public eye for years to come as a good politician, Paul Bigley is having is two minutes of fame, the media will ditch him soon enough.

  97. I am furious that you are apologising, Boris, and I am even more furious that Michael Howard told you to apologise. If he’s worried about votes, he may well have shot himself in the foot. I’m afraid Paul Bigley has merely demonstrated an ability to be offensive, without an equally appropriate intellectual discipline.

  98. Dear Mr Johnson, Today, it was unavoidable for both of us to ignore the ridiculous media circus that surrounded your visit to our city. We were bombarded with television and radio broadcasts that only indicated to us how

  99. Dear Mr Johnson, Today, it was unavoidable for both of us to ignore the ridiculous media circus that surrounded your visit to our city. We were bombarded with television and radio broadcasts that only indicated to us how

  100. Dear Mr Johnson,
    I have taken time to read your article and the parts you wished to offer apologies for. I just wonder how many in Liverpool have done the same.Having also read the other feed back on this page I can only add my support to you. I am no stranger to grief and sudden deaths in horrific circumstances , having been present at the violent deaths of ‘ ordinary ‘ members of the public including friends. None of us involved would have wanted this public demonstation which comes over as a false emmotion but merely to be left to grieve within our own immediate circle of family and friends. You are to be admired for the honest way you have gone about offering apologies . It is a pity that the leader of the government does not have the same humility and honesty.
    Donald F. Acton G.M.

  101. Just adding my support. Boris you’re right, shame your pathetic leader Howard made you apologise.

    If the mindless idiots, pouring out the grief they have kidded themselves they feel, had any sense then surely they could see the absurdity of it all. Do they advocate the same level of grief for everyone who dies? Do they advocate two minutes silence for every death? If so nothing would be done and everyone would go around in a perpetual state of mourning.

    Get a sense of proportion, grieve for your own losses and not for those people of whom you have no knowledge other than what the press has chosen to tell you. Ken Bigleys death is no more a matter for public grief than the death of my grandmother.

  102. Ken Bigley was only in Iraq to make money. He must have known the risks before he went. If he had made a huge profit would he have shared it with the people of Liverpool?
    Despite this we feel very sad at what happened to Ken Bigley and to his family but we feel very sad as to what has happened to the people in Iraq, partly instigated by our own government.
    We wish all these people with such sadness in their their lives the love of our one God.

  103. Mr Johnson, the article was spot on. All that you got wrong was the timing of its publication in my opinion. Indeed, the resultant public outcry (mainly from Liverpool) simply proves the article’s point.

    Paul Bigley is quite understandably upset about his recent loss, but he is also quite wrong in his attack on you and you should definitely NOT “get out of public life”. In fact, we need more people like you in public life so please, do stay. Kind regards, Mike.

  104. Bonjour Boris!

    Why apologise?

    Ken Bigley went to Iraq of his own fruition to earn a final big paypacket to fund his retirement in Thailand with his wife. The ‘gang’ that carried out his abduction and subsequent murder are to be reviled – this is ‘modern warfare’.

    He knew the risks, he wasn’t a young soldier sent to fight in an illegal invasion of a country, Saddam Hussein was no innocent, he was there because it suited many, the ‘gangs’ are the continuing legacy.

    And to Paul Bigley, I would like to express my deep condolences to a family that has lost a son, husband, father and brother in such a brutal way, they should mourn his passing privately.

    If, as Paul Bigley said on the radio today, you are a ‘pompous twit’ then so am I. There is a minority of people throughout the UK that carry a deep seated longing to be trodden down and seen as martyrs, the media have a field day. In an obtuse way they are sycophants, riding on the despair of someone or something remotely connected with them.

    The majority are reasonable, educated and wise who are able to accept that whilst a tragedy for the family, we all have situations to deal with that are far from ideal.

    The media are happy to report this mass mourning, but as anyone who has truly lost someone close, mourning is done in private. The teenager shown at the church, the books of condolences signed, just send a short note to the family out of the gaze of the press, this would be more genuine.

    Finally if Paul Bigley can utter such a tirade of abuse at you and who you are without apologising, then in a democratic society, you and I can have a differing opinion.

    I am appalled that your boss appears to have insited upon the apology, but maybe politics and showbiz shouldn’t mix? Isn’t your salary as an MP enough? Do you really need to take a second or third job? Give your all to one or the other, either way you’ll be a great performer!

  105. Sorry you had such a bad day Boris,you didn’t deserve it! We did not agree with everything in the article, but vehemently support your right to print it. Long live freedom of speech, it would be a stupid and dangerous world if one could only print opinions guaranteed to offend no-one. It is a pity that you chose to hit a raw nerve of a very touchy tribe. That they are overly sentimental and melodramatic is well known, unfortunately the rest of the country seems to be catching the disease.
    March on Boris !
    You are welcome here any time.
    Ken & Marion Lloyd
    Nunney
    Somerset

  106. Dear Mr Johnson
    I neither have your educational qualification or wealth, but have at least the ability to understand the political and media value of this story. I think that your comment is well worth discussion, unlike that chap related to ken Bigley who in my opinion embarrassed himself and his relatives today. I live in Romford, and should you choose to make comment about the town, I would like to think that I have the mental capability to take an independent view on your comment and decide for myself whether it had any value or not.
    I do not send flowers or sympathy cards to East Enders or Coronation Street type programs when a wedding or bereavement is written in. I live in the real world, and admire your strength and humility.

  107. Like any failing comedian, Boris has yet to get to grips with the concept of timing. The timing of his editiorial was less than impressive.

    As a “woolly-back” scouser from the Wirral I can appreciate that Bozza might be feeling a tad sheepish today. I feel disappointed that he felt the need to join that ranks of the misinformed and play the oh-so-dull, stereotypical, “let’s rubbish Liverpool” routine so beloved by people who have never been there or have some political axe to grind (or both).

    I take his points about publicity being the oxygen for terrorist causes and that the only ones with blood on their hands were the muderers of poor Ken, but the validity of this message was lost when wrapped up in a sad sideswipe at a great city and its proud people.

  108. Pompous? Self Centred? That’s not the Boris Johnson I knew at the Oxford Union Society. I met a whole army of pompous self centred – I would use the word pricks rather than twits – among the wannabe politicians at Oxford. Boris was most certainly not one of them, and I see no indication he has changed much since.

    Having read the editorial it astonishes me that there has been this reaction, especially when I consider how lightly Billy Connolly has been treated for something far worse for which he refuses to make any statement (let alone apology) other than a string of epithets.

    My advice to Boris in future is that if he has any other ‘challenging’ and ‘provocative’ ideas for an editorial, for heavens sake write it yourself rather than farm it out to some other hack who may bowdlerise it, express certain prejudices (against cities or otherwise), or even regurgitate some half remembered and discredited story from ‘The Sun.’

    Personally I’ve always had a soft spot for Liverpool, with my fond childhood memories of things like the Liver Birds and the Beatles. Also I’ve never thought that the Hillsborough disaster was down to anything other than police incompetence and stupidity. Moreover, I am less concerned with an excess of emotion and ‘caring’ than the complete absence of it and expressions of total callousness, as shown by the incident at a football ground that you were present at and by Mr Connolly’s ‘jokes’ at Kenneth Bigley’s expense.

    Nonetheless I completely accept that such outpourings of grief are highly selective. Where is the concern in any part of the country for the dozens of British soldiers who have been killed in Iraq? I don’t support the occupation myself, but that’s beside the point.

    Also all the coverage has been missing a very essential point. The group that captured Kenneth Bigley were never going to let him go free. If concessions had been made they would simply have demanded more or killed him anyway. They were simply spinning things out, partly to prolong his agony. They are utterly merciless and actually enjoy causing violence and suffering. There might have been a chance of saving him if he had been caught by the Al Sadr group or the Ba’athists. With the Al Zarqawi group there was no chance.

    The pleas of other Muslims to save his life would have been treated with utter contempt. The sect they belong to believe that only their sect will go to heaven and everyone else, both Muslims and non-Muslims will go to hell.

    Boris will quote this story at his peril (he may be forced to apologise to Al Zaqrawi or Bin Laden in person), but when some ‘proto Bin Ladenite’ clerics were captured by the Ottoman troops about 200 years ago, Ismail Pasha (the Ottoman commander) asked them about their beliefs. This included this belief that only members of their sect will go to heaven and everyone else will go to hell.
    Ismail Pasha then exclaimed, “Oh swine! What is your belief about paradise and its breadth?”
    The Sheikh of the sect replied, “It is like the breadth of the sky and the earth and it has been made ready for the virtuous.”
    Ismail Pasha then asked. “If paradise is as spacious as the sky and the earth and you and your followers make the use of the shade of one tree what for is the remaining area and why has Allah created such a big paradise?”
    The leaders of the sect cast down their heads in silence. Ismail Pasha then turned to his guards and said, “Cut off their heads.” A fate they had meted out to many themselves.

    It would be justice indeed, albeit ‘rough justice,’ for Bin Laden and Al Zarqawi to have to face such a situation themselves.

  109. I have supported labour all my life and I was born into a working class east-end family.

    Boris should stand for everything I loathe; but he does not.

    I should be offended by the Spectator article but I am not.

    Boris Johnson strikes me as the sort of man who says what he thinks without trying to offend and says it with conviction, honesty and integrity.

    It is legitimate to query whether all of his views are correct but to make an honest man “apologise” helps no-one but the terrorists.

    I could never agree with Boris Johnsons politics but to drag him to Liverpool to “apologise” strikes me as a ridiculous exercise and one that in an obvious way makes what the kidnappers did an even bigger outrage.

    They set out to terrorise, to frighten and to reduce the effectiveness of an open democracy and whilst I think the people of Liverpool are entitled to feel aggrieved at, to be honest, a poorly argued editorial, it serves no purpose than to drive free speech even further underground and aids only the kidnappers in continuing this farce.

    The mistake was to publish the article as it appeared rather than the excellent explanation given on this site.

    The article raised legitimate issues, the people of Liverpool are entitled to feel aggrieved, but making Boris go to Liverpool and apologise is not the way our democracy should work.

    The ongoing help this is giving to terrorists and the future deaths we will now have because of that as they realise that they are driving wedges between us was avoidable.

    It was poor judgement to publish the article but it was also poor judgement of Michael Howard not to use this incident to raise legitimate issues. It is unforgiveable that we cannot discuss Hillsborough particularly as the same supporters were involved at Heysel.

    There is no doubt that the people who died were innocent of any wrongdoing, at both tragedies, but there were people at both tragedies who were not innocent; and they were not all policemen.

    Like any subject of this type, for example racism, the more people are not allowed to express their views, and have the absurdity of those views challenged, the more the terorists, the racists and the generally unacceptable will eventually win.

  110. Howard was wrong to send you to liverpool to apologise since by doing this he draged the Tory party into the mire. It would have been far better to leave it all to you and say nothing. I hope you will continue to speak your mind especially when telling the unpalitable Truth.

    William Salmon

  111. Boris sets out a perfectly reasonable case and is pilloried, asked to apologise, then told to stick his apology.

    On the other hand, Billy Connolly makes an outrageous remark about the kidnapping of Ken Bigley, and it is barely discussed.

    Who shall the people of Liverpool bash? – a posh Tory making a serious point or a working class lad making a crass remark. Answers on a postcard…..

  112. I just want to say that ‘joey’ above has misenterpreted my remarks. He may “agree the media is running this show, and it is a dreadfull show. Paul Bigley is milking this for all he can and the media I suspect are there encouraging it all.”

    I think Paul Bigley is having an understandable reaction to the loss of his brother and if anyone derves to be over-sensitive it’s him. It’s one thing to critisize a city’s (real or perceived) over-sensitivity, but to critisize a mourning brother for that, shows you to be the sort of lowlife who shouldn’t be commenting on anything.

    My point was that anyone would want to tell someone off who they felt had insulted his recently deceased brother, no matter what the situation. So everyone who agreed to this conversation, including Boris, is at fault. Boris should have never agreed to take the call or do the show if it required taking that call. What did he think? That Paul Bigley was going to ask him for a date? To have expected Paul Bigley to have a rational debate on the ins and outs of the article is absolutely ridiculous after what he’s just been through. As I said in my first statement it’s not just the fact that he was killed, it was the ordeal that led up to his death, which is the kind of thing that would have a lasting effect on his family even if he had been freed.

    Paul Bigley stepped up to insult the man who insulted his brother. I’d do the same. I certainly wouldn’t say ‘well, this guy makes some valid points so I’ll overlook the insult to my brother.’ However, the people involved in making this program (which, I’ll say again, includes Boris,) should have understood this type of confrontation would happen, and, in fact, I’m pretty sure they did.

  113. Tories looking for publicity. Boris the buffoon your future leader? great, we hope so. A great deal of tory Ignorance is displayed on this site.Re Hillsborough Trevor Hicks was one person who lost two teenage daughters at a football match, this has nothing to do with Heysel, or indeed has Heysel the mis management of PC Dukenfield. I question if Boris has anything better to offer in his writings.We (scousers) don’t feel sorry for ourselves, we just DEMAND respect from non-scousers.We didn’t start the media circus,or ask for Mr Bigley to be killed & mutillated the way he was.
    Boris & the rest of the ignorant people in the country should visit the city before making comment. Liverpool people react to being stereotyped repeatedly.I trust our famous names for example Paul McCartney will give BJ a public slamming, especially after allowing him to Visit LIPA today.I have travelled far & wide and I take exception to the 50% of people that I meet who pre judge & repeat the old stereotypical crap.
    Nottigham Gun crime, Oldham riots,Cosmopolotan London complete with the gangs of Eastern europe,Turkey,Jamaica,China to name just a few. I
    Look at your own situation (stereotypically) before you criticise another City

  114. Why was Boris’s Comment on Hilsborough unacceptable? Personally I think it was actually spot on. Those that lost their lives at Hilsborough qualify for the largest joint Darwin award in history. Successfully removing themselves from the genepool by virtue of their own stupidity. The Liverpudlians that are still bickering about feeling victimised by Boris’s editorial have proven Boris right. They do see themselves as victims and they wallow in self pity.

  115. Boris,

    By the postings on here and the BBC comment page, you have a lot of support. There are many who now see you as honest, and not afraid to speak your mind. I felt that your apology was heartfelt, and unlike most politicians, you still stand by your views after apologising only for the inaccuracies.

    Mr Howard has made a serious error by forcing you to apologise in person. In doing this, he has proved to be incapable of leading the party. You have admitted your mistake, apologised for upsetting people, but still have the courage to stand by your comments.

    I for one agree that mass outpouring of grief for a person you never knew is wrong. I was saddened to hear of Ken Bigley’s plight, but felt reaction to it in some quarters was over the top.

    Boris, you have upset a few, but many now feel you are someone honest enough for them to trust. Ride the storm, it will pass and you will come out of it a better person.

    Whatever you do though, please do not stand down. We will have lost a great man, and those baying for your blood will get their own way.

  116. The Fat controller typifies Tory fascist personna. The Hicks girls from Essex Born & bred, perished at hillsborough.
    His views are typical of a in bred tainspotting country bumpkin (Countryside alliance maybe).
    You seem to be of sub human intelligence,Burberry cap wearing soccer hooligan supporting a conference league club

  117. Personally I’ll always prefer politicians who state a view in which they believe rather than telling voters what they want to hear – so good on you!

  118. Darren get real, BJ received a lot of coverage for his being outrageous, paybacktime maybe ? Can we really expect a pleb like this to be a leader. Entertainer yes, politician NO.
    Screaming Lord Sutch would be a better bet.
    I have been a fan for years but only people of low intelligence can take him seriously from now on, it’s a pity.
    Boris will always be able to sell himself, adverts/reality tv etc etc

  119. Re Stuart,

    I was agreeing with you about the media here, I have had a close relative die as I expect many here have and I can tell you without doubt that the last thing I would have wanted was all this publicity. Paul Bigley welcomed the media in on this, he could have issued a statement and left it at that but no. I bet there was even media either tv or press reporters right there on the end of the phone with him. The whole thing is a disgrace and if Paul Bigley had not gone along with the hysteria the media obviously wanted to stir up then I suspect none of this would have happened
    and there would not have been this stupid furore over this and no one would have been forced to apologise for anything.

    I have every sympathy for the Bigley’s loss, but I
    have no sympathy for the what has come after.

    How you can say Paul Bigley is having an understandable reaction to his loss, how many people who lose a relative in tragic circumstances have tv crews and reporters coming round every day
    the whole thing is a media farce and a disgrace.

    If Paul Bigley thought eveyone was going to walk around crying over his loss then he is not living in the real world.

  120. Boris, You put your foot in it at the wrong time and over a very delicate subject. I believe Everybody has done this at some stage or another. As a scouser, I and others in my family accept your appology and hope you don’t resign from your post.

    Question time just would not be the same without you and your input.

    Best wishes

    A scouser.

  121. Fat cotroller, Self pity is monopolised by people like youself.Scousers play a big part in trade unions this is why the Tories attack them. Remember militant, then again you come across as a person who wouldn’t study & familiarise with a subject, questioning an fully before opening your big fat poisonous GOB you low life of nowhere to be proud of (A non person ) you probably dislike Irish scots etc etc

  122. Oh dear ! Is Michael Howard going to lose the next general election and deny us the joy of having a Government with Boris in it?

  123. If this knee jerk reaction from Howard is typical of the man then maybe Howard is not the sort of prime minister we need.

  124. “Paul Bigley tells Johnson to quit”

    “Boris Johnson has been told to quit public life by Ken Bigley’s brother Paul during a visit to Liverpool.”

    Excuse me? Who the hell is Paul Bigley to say that? Why is he so special? He is nothing – the sole reason why he is in the spotlight is because his brother was executed by Iraqi terrorists. What gives him the right to act as if he is some key political figure?

    Boris Johnson is a democratically elected MP. Paul Bigley’s brother died. Spot the difference

  125. Stefan, you are truly an imbecile.

    So a person who hasn’t been elected can’t call for the resignation of someone who has been ‘democratically elected’?

    You [Ed: let’s keep the dialogue free from abusive terms]if you think I’m gonna stop calling for Blair’s resignation. I haven’t been elected to anything and I don’t even have a brother that just died, but I am allowed to say whatever I want in this country, you moronic oaf.

  126. As soon as people start talking about ‘Tory fascist personna’s’ then I’m of the mind that the thread has been taken over by extremist left wing nutters. Afterall, only a member of the SWP or some other Trot would call the conservatives a fascist party.

    Laura

  127. Boris – great work in Liverpool. Mr Bigley’s comments made him look a fool. Chin up – us normal people are rooting for you.

  128. Boris Johnson reveals his soul

    Boris Johnson, Shadow Arts Minister, Conservative MP and editor of The Spectator (London, not Stockholm) helped remind people in Britain last week just what some Middle England Tories really feel about the regions. In a leader criticising the amount of…

  129. Well Mr B J. What happened to free speech in this country ?. You are an editor of a periodical and have the right publish as you see fit, within the law of course. You also as a private citizen have the right to your own views. Even if your views offend people, you still have the right to express them.

    I really don’t particularly ‘enjoy’ Scousers in any case. Almost all those i’ve met seem to have a chip on their shoulder and hang themselves as ‘life and soul, salt of the earth’ types. The problem with scousers in general is that somebody has told them they’re funny – and they’ve believed it !

    Ken Bigley didn’t deserve his fate. Who’s to blame?. Blair, him, islamic fundamentalists? – the Mayor of Liverpool is the most likely candidate ;-).

    Let’s just get outta the mess that is Iraq. I’m voting for the LibDems!(sorry Boris)

    Good Luck Boris…. and my heartfelt condolences to Ken Bigley’s family , for their sad loss.

    What about ALL the 1000’s of innocent Iraqis – no different to Ken Bigley who have been blown to bits. Do we hear about their lives and hear about their family taking editors to task – no we don’t. They STILL don’t have a voice and free speech. How Fxxxing lucky we are to be able to indulge in such things…
    Regards,

    Andy Cynic -London

  130. spot on as uasual Boris, please consider moving closer to leadership – I have heard many people around the country saying they would vote for you, including many who’ve never voted tory before.

    Boris for PM

  131. Boris,
    There can be no excuse for your wrong factual information – however there is no doubt that there is a substantial amount of truth in your article. (which so many people have commented on above). I admire you as a politician a vast amount of the public always have and will continue to do so. Please continue to work on your texts which have been so interesting down the years.
    Regards.

  132. So Jim Pearson’s “sick of so many people’s self-enforced victim status”!

    Ken Bigley chose to go to Iraq, but did he choose to act the victim? Would you not, when facing imminent death?

    Were the families, friends and fellows of the 96 people crushed to death at Hillsbourgh

  133. I hope you’ve been able to get some sleep Jeremy, it’s a bit early for hyperbole. It was a blundering piece of journalism, a good point obscured by badly chosen examples, Boris no doubt, with his multiple jobs, did not give enough time to think it over.

    But I believe Boris enjoys support because, unlike many, one cannot see any signs of hate in him, he might be mistaken, but it is not through malice. Add to that being hounded by unsympathetic media coverage and hordes of unforgiving Liverpudlians and you could perhaps see why some might feel sorry for him.

    I’m glad to see some signs of forgiveness from Liverpudlians, I’ve only read them on this site, but no doubt it’s only the ones who want to put their dislike on display who care to make themselves heard elsewhere.

  134. Upon reflection, I feel that Boris honestly showed humility that I didn’t know he had as he sat through Paul Bigley’s personal attack, but I still think Bigley had every right to do it, for exactly the point Boris makes in the letter to the LDP “the point was valid, but that it was tasteless to make it in the context of Ken Bigley’s death.” He is referring specifically to the point about us being authors of our own fate but that really applies to the whole article. Holding Ken Bigley out as an example of anything this shortly after his death would be a personal attack on his family. I think all of the arguments in the article could have been made better with other examples that didn’t insult a family that was going through a personal tragedy.

    But in my opinion, Paul Bigley’s public and stinging insults to Boris should put an end to this matter. I honestly think he was made to feel as bad as his article made the Bigley family feel.

  135. I can see why Paul R & others are not very enthusiastic about the Tory’s prospects at the next general election. Michael Howard’s behaviour in all of this wasn’t very clever, it’s true. But what choice do we have if we want to see Boris in Government. We just have to vote Tory.

  136. Makes me laugh, yesterday’s coverage, ITV news I think it was, a reporter asking a group of women if the apology was enough for them, were they happy with it, and in a scouse chorus, wailed Nooo!…I mean, for gods sake, talking about wallowing…opps sorry

  137. Dear mr Johnson.
    You should not even consider resignation.
    Jack Straw didn’t after he suggested that the people of Merseyside were rogues when he said, “those Scousers are always up to something”.

    Keep up the good work to ensure Tony Tax does not get re elected.
    Thankyou.

    K. G. Kelly

  138. In a TV interview during the recent Labour Party conference, David Milliband said that ALL who failed the old style 11+ went on to “second class schools”. This insult – both to the children and to the schools (my secondary modern, for example, offered a good and happy education) was not picked up. He wasn’t reprimanded, as far as I know, and he certainly wasn’t asked to vist the length and breadth of the country in order to “apologise” to all those of us who learnt or worked in “second class” schools. My point? Double standards – which have already been pointed out here.

    An unfortunate remark by DM but not the end of the world. If you make a daft generalisation, as long as it doesn’t incite to violence etc, then that’s all it is. Most people are grown up enough to shruck their shoulders and say “that’s his view, I’ll stick to mine”.

    That said, I thought a lot about Boris’ article and largely agree. Not long ago my parents died. I can’t always sleep well and get up and cry – alone. The deep longing for a word with them, a glimpse of them is mine alone. I talk to my kids and other family members but the very personal stuff, I wouldn’t share. It would be an imposition too much. My parents’ friends miss them – but they’ve moved on – they have lives to lead. I think that the public displays that we’ve seen over the Ken Bigley death, vile and ghastly though it was, devalues the life lead and the death themselves.

  139. Laura,
    Read some history, tories is tories, socialists r not lefties ,its about being social & not being me,me,me,& only me.
    Boris is a thatcher babe ,silver spoon & all.

  140. Ewan (normal person ?? avin a laff arnt yeh) welsh thicko !!!

    K G Kelly Jack Straw showed his ignorance also!!
    Remember 2 wrongs don’t make a right Thicko !

  141. After reading c 50% of the above (and remain awake)I feel the thread has been lost/mis placed here. BORIS Keep going you know you will survive this issue, the majority of the country realise you are not a bad person,use this sad time as a springboard to push yourself into the forefront of politics where you belong.
    Good luck & forgiveness to you.

  142. Boris, you need to have your people do some groundwork before you write.
    For example you don’t realise that the Wales-Eng game was at old trafford,Manchester ? Mancs & Scousers have a history of confrontation.
    Ken Bigley was a scouser…
    If you need clarification have one of your staff earn his/her money & investigate such issues in this country, before you put pen to paper.
    PS Maybe the people who disrupted the silence were MANCS. (Just a suggestion)

  143. I thought it was stupid how clearly many of the people who critisized the article hadn’t read it. Until I saw the video feed of Boris’s Radio Merseyside interview. All you need to see is that piece to realize that Boris shouldn’t have published the article, because he clearly had no idea of the emnity it would provoke. Also he clearly isn’t the sort of person who can brush that sort of abuse off as easy as many of his ‘fans’ tell him he should. So clearly he was wrong to write the piece if only because he does not have the stomach for the reaction he got. Boris is clearly a lover and not a fighter, as the expression goes, and while I’m sure his wife and kids wouldn’t have it any other way, that’s not the best way for a Tory MP or a writer of incendiary articles to be.

  144. Dear Boris:

    I hope you’re now recovering!

    IF the demands of these atrocious terrorists can only be put across by using the most dramatically terrible means – videos of hostages in real fear for their lives, followed by awful footage of brutal beheadings – then surely it cannot be beyond the House of Commons to collectively apply pressure to the media to deny these people any coverage of any kind anywhere. During or after a kidnapping.

    It may not be feasible, but it might, just, be effective.

    All good wishes.

    Dr John Henderson.

  145. “blame YOURSELF! (Self acceptance) ”

    If you blame yourself there is a danger you begin to self hate. How about not blaming anything and just accepting it?

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