Monday 12 December 2016

When words speak louder than actions ...

There are different explanations for why Boris Johnson somehow ended up telling the truth about Saudi Arabia abusing Islam and promoting terrorism and war throughout the middle east.

One obvious reaction is to shrug the shoulders and say "even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day". The problem with this response is that it doesn't actually provide an explanation of what motivated Johnson to so blatantly contradict the official policy of the Tory government (that Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United Kingdom, and therefore basically beyond reproach).

One thing that we can be quite sure of is that Boris Johnson had a reason for blatantly contradicting his own government's stance on Saudi Arabia, because he's a cynical political opportunist. 
This is a man who wrote two different newspaper columns, one arguing in favour of Brexit and the other arguing against it, before deciding which position would best suit his future political career prospects.

The cynicism of the man is astounding. 
The idea that he's just a blabber-mouth who just accidentally told the truth about Saudi Arabia plays into the stereotype that he's carefully manufactured for himself as the "amiable and harmless tousle-haired buffoon".

When I addressed the subject of Boris Johnson getting slapped down by Theresa May for telling the truth about Saudi Arabia I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Lots of people who clearly identified as social liberals tried to claim that Boris Johnson deserves credit for telling the truth.

In my view Johnson deserves severe condemnation for admitting the truth about Saudi Arabia just a few weeks after voting down an opposition motion to cease UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia. One of the most appalling of Johnson's contributions during that parliamentary debate was his claim that the UK should continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia because other western countries would happily continue supplying them with arms

The argument that the UK should continue selling weapons to a country that stands accused of grave human rights violations in Yemen because "if we don't cash in, someone else will" is disgusting enough in its own right, but in light of Johnson's subsequent critical comments about Saudi Arabia, such an attitude is utterly abominable.

The fact that Johnson has managed to win plaudits from liberally minded people for criticising Saudi Arabia just weeks after he colluded with his fellow Tories to continue supplying them weapons is a demonstration that empty words speak a lot more loudly than actions in the modern political word.

If any politicians deserve credit for standing up to Saudi Arabia then it's the Labour, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Lib-Dem and Green MPs who voted in favour of the motion to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. Definitely not the guy who actually led the successful Tory fightback in favour of allowing British arms companies to continue arming Saudi Arabia.

Boris Johnson knows perfectly well that empty but
well-reported words speak a hell of a lot louder than
under-reported actions.
The modern political world is an absolute mess if the guy who did the most to protect arms sales to Saudi Arabia gets such plaudits for spouting a bit of tough-talking hot air, while the efforts of the politicians who actually tried to hold Saudi Arabia to account flew completely under the news radar. Essentially Boris Johnson has managed to steal the plaudits that should have gone to the people him and his fellow Tories just defeated!

Johnson is a deeply cynical political operator who understands how the modern media works. He knew perfectly well that he'd get more praise for being "tough on Saudi Arabia" by getting slapped down by Theresa May for a bit of empty tough-talking rhetoric than the plaudits afforded to any of the opposition MPs who actually made an effort to be tough on Saudi Arabia.

Johnson knows that widely-reported but empty words speak a hell of a lot louder than unreported actions, and now thanks to the mainstream media
 he can actually pose as the guy who dares tell a bit of truth to power rather than of being thought of as the guy who helped keep Saudi Arabia stocked up with British weapons as they bomb the daylights out of Yemen.

It's a really sad indictment of British politics that so many people have been prepared to judge Boris Johnson's comments in isolation from his actual actions 
just a few weeks previously. If he genuinely believed what he said about Saudi Arabia being a threat to peace in the middle east then he clearly deserves absolute condemnation for his actions to help keep them supplied with British weapons.

Boris is clearly playing the long game. He's confident that people will judge him on his words rather than his actions because that's how the mainstream media works these days, and he suspects that he'll be able to continue posing as the straight-talking harmless buffoon until he can nip in as the next Tory leader and Prime Minister after Theresa May has suffered all the reputation damage caused when his Brexit mess causes another significant declines in living standards for millions of British people.

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