Mum pays for ego of self­ish buf­foon

Daily Mirror - - ALISON PHILLIPS -

I used to have a slight soft spot for Boris John­son.

He’d be seen wan­der­ing around at the end of the day near our of­fice, hair ruf­fled, shirt un­tucked, cy­cle clips askew.

He rep­re­sented a world I’d pre­vi­ously only glimpsed through a child­hood fas­ci­na­tion with Just Wil­liam books out of the li­brary, and an adult fas­ci­na­tion for peo­ple who used long words in plummy ac­cents who left me stut­ter­ing with in­ad­e­quacy. But I’m go­ing back 20 years or so… Now, what I once saw as charis­matic, I can see as con­man.

My fas­ci­na­tion has turned to fury that up­per class buf­foons still run the coun­try al­most a cen­tury af­ter Just Wil­liam was pub­lished.

The in­ad­e­quacy has mor­phed to in­can­des­cence that ar­ro­gance and crass dis­re­gard for oth­ers, for truth and for com­mon courtesy, ru­ins lives ev­ery sin­gle day.

There’s been no bet­ter il­lus­tra­tion of this than the dis­grace­ful case of Nazanin Zaghari-Rat­cliffe.

A young mum is be­ing left to rot in a rat in­fested Ira­nian jail.

She fears she may have breast can­cer and is on the verge of a ner­vous break­down.

Her three-year-old daugh­ter has spent half her lit­tle life away from her mum. The tot dreams mum will be home for Christ­mas so she wakes ev­ery morn­ing ask­ing if it’s Christ­mas Day.

As For­eign Sec­re­tary, Boris John­son had just one job – to get Nazanin home to London.

Not only did he fail in that, his un­in­formed con­tri­bu­tion has made her sit­u­a­tion cat­a­stroph­i­cally worse so she may have to spend an ad­di­tional five years be­hind bars.

By then, her daugh­ter will be eight. The fam­ily’s life will be per­ma­nently scarred.

There was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal about Boris’s blun­der­ing on this is­sue. Just like there was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal about his fail­ure to apol­o­gise prop­erly.

This was an in­evitabil­ity wait­ing to hap­pen.

If it hadn’t been Nazanin who paid the price of John­son’s char­ac­ter – it would have been some­one else.

Be­cause if you swan through life do­ing the min­i­mum work (just ask his staff at the Mayor of London’s of­fice), rarely read briefs, be­lieve it’s OK to busk com­plex is­sues, and never care about the ef­fects of your be­hav­iour, then this kind of thing WILL hap­pen. It’s just a case of when.

In diplo­macy, words are weapons. Boris John­son fires his in­dis­crim­i­nately. Nazanin is his col­lat­eral dam­age.

Of course now he’s say­ing he’ll do what­ever he can to help – be­cause he can see the dam­age he’s done (not to Nazanin of course, but to his own rep­u­ta­tion). And his own rep­u­ta­tion is all that ever mat­ters to BoJo. Along with his ca­reer and his naked am­bi­tion.

Re­mem­ber, this is a man pre­pared right now to bring down the Gov­ern­ment to force through his vi­sion of Brexit Bri­tain. He’s a man con­tent to drive the coun­try to hell on a dou­ble decker bus daubed with the lie that quit­ting the EU will put £350mil­lion back into the NHS. Just so long as he is do­ing the driv­ing.

Boris John­son couldn’t lie straight in bed (be it his or that of one of his mis­tresses). Nazanin’s husband Richard has called on Boris to “solve this mess cre­ated in your name”.

We must all hope and pray the mess is solved. But for sure, if Boris does fi­nally help Nazanin, it will be for his name – and ab­so­lutely no one else’s – that he does it.

All that mat­ters to BoJo is his rep­u­ta­tion

FAIL­URE Couldn’t even say sorry prop­erly

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