Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Monday, October 18, 2004
 
So what do I think about the notorious leading article in the Spectator that got Boris Johnson into such trouble?

I think it was fine, except for the part about the Hillsborough stadium disaster. Any tendency I might have had to sentimentalise Liverpool football fans as Liverpool football fans was pre-emptively suppressed by events at the Heysel stadium, but it is not sentimentality for a city to grieve at the horrible deaths of so many of its citizens. I doubt whether Johnson knows any more than I do about what part, if any, drunkeness played in the death toll. The Taylor enquiry said very little part. Every decent point Johnson had to make could have been made without that.

This post from Drake at The Edge of England's Sword and the accompanying angry comments from "Alex" present both sides of the debate.

What strikes me about the whole idea of Boris going to Liverpool to engage in "sincere self-criticism" in the Chinese fashion is that nobody gets what they want out of it. The people of Liverpool do not get either an apology they can believe or a net increase of respect, since half the country is now saying, "true with knobs on, you Scouse whingers." Michael Howard looks less like a potential Prime Minister than he did yesterday. So would Boris Johnson if that were possible. More to the point is that he looks less like a credible MP or a credible journalist. A weathervane is not admired in either profession.