In the hours after Boris Johnson was confirmed as the new Prime Minister in the UK last week, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr (and the coolest person in that band by a large distance) tweeted the following:
“I wish people would stop referring to ‘Boris’ like he’s some cuddly fun character. They should refer to him by his full name; ‘That Wanker Boris Johnson’.”
He has a strong point. Because to some degree, Johnson has managed to position himself as a bungling but harmless rich oaf. The human equivalent of a Saint Bernard dog — clumsy, covered in slobber and food, but ultimately well meaning and loveable.
But that notion ignores the fact that Johnson once said that burqa-wearing women look like post boxes (mail boxes to Americans) and bank robbers. If you’re not seething at that, and you fucking should be because it’s a statement that leaps over “ignorant” and lands in “vile” territory, then strap yourself in.
He once referred to Africans as “flag waving piccaninnies,” a racial slur so outdated that many of his own klan had to google it. For reference, the slur refers to a “dark skinned child of African descent”. Not quite done, he added that they had “watermelon smiles.”
In 1998, he referred to gay men as “tank topped bum boys,” and compared homosexuality to polygamy and, more troubling, bestiality.
Frankly, any one of these things should have disqualified him from the leadership race. He has said things which should be tattooed on his forehead, lest any of us forget that he is a giant bigot, racist, and homophobe. A number of British musicians agreed, tweeting this displeasure as the news of Johnson’s appointment came through.
Grime artist, Stormzy knows what’s up. In his hit single “Vossi Bop”, he raps, “I could never die, I’m Chuck Norris, Fuck the government and fuck Boris.”
Johnson tried to claim that Stormzy is saying, “Back Boris,” but we’re not fooled. Meanwhile, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, a proud liberal, tweeted “Fuck you prime minister,” along with a letter sent from Eton to Johnson’s dad, which highlights the man’s failures which have followed him into adulthood.
“Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies . . . Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School for next half): I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”
House duo 99Souls tweeted, “Boris Johnson has been fired from multiple jobs for lying, has made numerous racist and homophobic remarks and we don’t even know how many kids he has. Why did we scrap his water cannons rather than give him an enema with them?”
British comedian David Schneider wrote, “I for one welcome our new lying, racist dog-whistling, incompetent, principle-free, bullshitting, back-stabbing, British-citizen-in-Iran-incarcerating, white-supremacist-befriending, business-fucking, reality-fucking, countrycidal maniac overlord.”
Not everyone was feeling so hopeless. The NME reported that lobbying group UK Music have praised Johnson’s work when he was Mayor of London in establishing the Music Venue Taskforce, paving the way for the London Music Board:
“The Government must stand up for music creators when faced with the likes of Google who continue to make billions of dollars by exploiting the content made by others without paying fair rewards to music creators,” UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said. “The Copyright Directive presents an important potential opportunity to address the value gap and UK Music remains committed to its implementation. Yet we know that with a ‘no deal’ Brexit and without a transitional phase or the withdrawal agreement, implementation of the Copyright Directive won’t happen. That’s why UK Music has called on the Government to set out an urgent roadmap to spell out how it will implement that Directive in the event of a no deal Brexit.”
Dughar concluded with, “My explicit message to our new Government on Brexit is this – you may be prepared to see a ‘no deal’ Brexit at the end of October. You may be happy to leap off the edge of a cliff, but please, please don’t throw the British music industry over there with you.”
But Bristol band Idles’ frontman Joe Talbot referred to Johnson as a “cartoon racist” while recently discussing his new album. “I feel lost and dislocated and I don’t have a voice in the country, but also my own head,” Talbot told NME.
Of course, those in Johnson’s corner will say that these are merely wealthy musicians commenting on things they know nothing about from their privileged vantage point — the same sort of shit that Bette Midler, Tom Morello, etc. get over here. But they serve to illustrate a wider feeling of discontent.
We’ve saved the greatest crime of all for last. Something so heinous that once you realize that it happened, you won’t be able to forget it. Johnson showed up at the tube station in London Bridge armed with an acoustic guitar, under the pretense that he was going to be busking for a while (like ordinary people and all that). But what he clearly didn’t realize was that his capo (that funny little bar that gets strapped across guitar necks) was on, and he was fretting beyond it. In other words, his fingers were doing nothing. We’ve included a picture, for your amusement.
Finally, we have an audio file of him singing “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cos every little thing is gonna be alright,” he coos like a demented goon. Somehow, sir, we doubt it.