The news that Boris Johnson is going to have to appear in a court of law to defend himself against the serious charge – brought by a member of the public – of ‘misconduct in public office’, is cheering. It arises out of that by now notorious slogan on the side of the ‘Brexit Bus’ in June 2016, claiming that the ‘£350 million’ that Britain is supposed to give to the EU each week could, after Brexit, be spent on the NHS. That was apparently effective in persuading many people to vote for Brexit in the referendum, but was suspected at the time to be a flagrant lie, and was later confirmed as such by the (Government) Office for Budget Responsibility. We’ve been warned not to prejudge the outcome of Johnson’s trial in print, which I presume includes the social media; but there can’t be much harm in referring to his already notorious reputation as a serial liar, squirmingly revealed in this telling TV interview:
The squirming starts at about 8 mins 30 seconds. The ‘nasty piece of work’ quote comes a couple of minutes later.
What is particularly delightful is the timing of this latest announcement, at the very moment Boris is reckoned to be the favourite in the upcoming election of a Tory leader to succeed May, and consequently our new Prime Minister. Boris, as a classical scholar, will recognise the terms hubris and nemesis. Of course, it might not end like that, with his most adoring supporters, rather like Trump’s, seeming not to care how immoral he is.
What would be splendid would be if this acted as a precedent, so putting a curb on the deliberate deception – ‘fake news’ – that is part of the Right’s armoury just now.