Boris Johnson: Yes, I'd debate Cameron. I'd be a wimp if I didn't

In an exclusive interview, the former mayor of London sets out his Brexit battle lines

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

Boris Johnson is nodding along as he reads Karl Marx. To be more precise, he is standing in the Spectator boardroom reading a letter that Marx and Engels wrote to this magazine in 1850 complaining about being pursued by Prussian government spies in London. He then admires a picture of the youthful Taki chatting up Joan Collins at a New York nightclub in 1957. When he was editor of this magazine, he called it ‘the best job in London’. But now he says that being mayor of London was even better. Less fun, perhaps, but more fulfilling. After eight years at City Hall, he is turning his mind to what he will do next.

As we sit down to lunch, he suggests that since he has so much more time on his hands, perhaps he could write the leading article or proofread some pages. But as ever, the truth is that he has far too much to do. He has a book on Shakespeare to finish, a Brexit campaign to win, and, if the bookmakers are to be believed, a Tory leadership campaign to assemble. He’s currently red-hot favourite for the top job.

But Boris’s emergence as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign took many by surprise. To his critics, it was a cynical conversion and an unashamed attempt to woo Eurosceptic Tory members ahead of a leadership bid. In the thousands of articles he had written about Europe before this referendum, he had never advocated leaving. ‘It is unquestionably true that I’ve changed,’ Boris admits. ‘But so has the EU. And of the two of us, it’s the EU that has changed more than me.’

Boris says he’d been mulling over his decision for three years, ever since David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech, in which the PM promised that he would settle for nothing less than ‘fundamental, far-reaching change’ for the EU, and would then hold a referendum.

‘I thought — bloody hell, when that comes round I’m really going to be on the spot,’ Boris says. ‘For many people, the Bloom-berg speech was a moment of hope, a credible programme of change in Europe. Dave spoke of repatriating powers, making the EU more competitive, devolving powers back to people and making it less remote — it was all great stuff. But not a sausage has been produced. Not a bean, not a sausage, not a jot.’

Boris is scathing about how Cameron and his gang handled the renegotiations, pointing out that they began them ‘by basically going round saying: “We’ve got this embarrassing problem of putting membership to the British people, we’re going to need some concessions, what can you give us?” I don’t think that was ever likely to produce substantial and far-reaching reform of the kind that was outlined in the Bloomberg speech.’

He puzzles over why Cameron was in such a hurry to do a deal: ‘We had until the end of 2017, why didn’t he play it long?’ The Prime Minister lost, he says, because he did not ‘swivel the guns of the Dreadnought’ on Brussels.

Boris says he would have handled the renegotiation very differently: sticking to the original demands and explaining that, without them being met, the government could not recommend a vote to Remain. ‘I would have gone with the Bloomberg text and said: this is what we want, give it to us or the baby gets it.’ But, he argues, ‘Negotiation didn’t produce anything, so there is no alternative — if Vote Leave is not the right answer then what is?’ Or, as he later puts it in one of his less Periclean moments, ‘It’s shit or bust.’

Before he joined The Spectator, Boris was the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent. In that role he developed a deep suspicion of how British politicians tried to cover up the extent to which the ‘German colossus’ was ‘effectively fig-leafed with 12 European stars’.

He admits that he has his work cut out persuading people to vote for Brexit. ‘My side is urging a change and a change is a radical thing to do. For many people, change is loss. And people think, “Oh my God, what is it going to mean for me?” But in this case, change would be a massive gain. Staying in means less security and further erosion of our independent self-governing status.’ He goes on: ‘We can’t vote for the status quo. If you vote to stay in, you vote to be part of a project that is changing the whole time.’

He is buoyed by the polls showing no decisive shift to Remain despite Downing Street issuing almost daily warnings about the supposedly dire consequences of Brexit. We meet just after the Prime Minister’s speech warning that peace in Europe might be threatened if Britain votes to leave. ‘They have tried everything now: world war three, the bubonic plague… And people aren’t buying it, you can tell that from the polls.’

The Prime Minister, Boris says, took a ‘punt’ in calling the referendum without securing a substantial deal. ‘I think that was a mistake. I think the British public are looking at all this and thinking: “Take back £20 billion? Take back control of the borders? Run the country? Democracy? You know, it might be a good idea.”’

So what kind of relationship does Boris want with the EU after Brexit? He knows what he doesn’t want: ‘the so-called single market’, which he says is a problem rather than the solution. ‘People think the single market is a great wonderful European souk or bazaar in which you will find absolutely everything humanity could possibly desire: aubergines, derivatives, trucks, ballistic missiles…’ But, unfortunately, the single market is ‘a gigantic system’ that imposes ‘extremely detailed and onerous rules on a territory of 500 million’.

‘The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is supreme in every matter,’ he warns. ‘It’s now a colossal body of law and comprises everything — including human rights. That’s why I’m for Out.’

The Westminster rumour mill has it that the newly knighted Lynton Crosby, his former mayoral campaign manager, converted Boris to Brexit. When we ask him about this, Boris tries to bat away the question: ‘All I will say is that Lynton Crosby is a very great man and I owe a great deal to him and I listen to his advice on everything. But on this particular case I can categorically say that his advice was not decisive.’ When pressed about whether Crosby had encouraged him to back Brexit, he replies, pleadingly: ‘Lynton is too good, he’s too nice, to be dragged into this.’

Boris’s attempt to protect Sir Lynton’s neutrality may be part of an effort to minimise fallout in the Tory party after the referendum. But Boris does not conceal his irritation with George Osborne. The Chancellor recently spoke of the need for ‘sober, serious, principled’ leadership in the Conservative party, which was seen as a swipe at Boris.

‘I am delighted to hear that he’s principled,’ Boris shoots back. ‘That is a major, major development.’ When we ask him what qualities the leader of the Tory party needs, he loyally replies that he should be ‘smartly turned out, about six foot tall and faintly rubicund with brown hair swept back off his forehead’. Should Britain vote to leave, he adds, ‘I hope very much that the Prime Minister will stay on and negotiate the terms of our exit. By nature, and by inclination, he is an extremely good dealmaker, but he just didn’t give himself enough time.’

All the same, when asked if he will debate David Cameron on the EU referendum, Boris replies ‘I will’ — despite the fact that No. 10 has made it clear that neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor intends to debate him. The BBC is staging a debate in Wembley stadium, so this is a sore point. ‘I’m not privy to any of these conversations,’ Boris claims. ‘What I’ve said is — you point me and I’ll march, I’ll do whatever I’m told to do… Somehow or other, we’ve got to have debates and they have to elucidate the issues to the public.’ He insists, ‘I wouldn’t do it with any great joy because I don’t want to be opposing my Prime Minister.’

Would he like to debate Cameron?

‘Put it this way,’ he says, ‘I think I’d look a bit of a wimp if I said no… For me to recuse myself from the debates would be wet.’ So the message to Cameron is clear: come and have a go.

Boris’s main concern today, though, is with the people to whom he devoted an earlier eight years of his life. The readers of this magazine. He leans into the microphone and makes his appeal directly. ‘Dear Spectator reader: do you see Britain’s future as an open, global, free trading, dynamic economy based on confidence in tried and tested British institutions? Or do you believe that in order to survive we need to remain embedded in something that fundamentally takes away our powers? Something that, over the past 15 years or so, has been a powerful depressor of jobs and growth in our historic European home?’

Boris is normally the happiest of political warriors. But there is one part of this debate that he finds painful: ‘I hate that sudden look of hurt in the face of an Italian friend when they think this means that you are turning your back on them.’ He is at pains to stress that he is ‘naturally, temperamentally, emotionally a very pro-European person with a big E… I love Europe, I really do.’

He is confident that his two great historical heroes would be on his side in this struggle. Churchill would not have wanted ‘parliamentary sovereignty to have been so compromised. I think he believed in that above all else. He would have felt it had gone too far.’ And he contends that Pericles, the great Athenian statesman he so often cites, would also have been an Outer. Boris argues that ‘to stick up for democracy is entirely Periclean’ and that the referendum ultimately comes down to whether you believe in ‘rule by the many, not the few’.

If the referendum goes against Boris, he thinks that the next Conservative party manifesto should admit that EU immigration into Britain cannot be controlled: ‘They should be honest.’ He goes on: ‘One of the most corrosive things is that government won’t level with us about it.’

Still, he remains hopeful that he can help Vote Leave win this referendum. ‘We are asking the British people to be brave, to be confident in themselves and to believe in Britain,’ he says with his trademark enthusiasm. ‘We have a very good chance.’

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Kipper Williams has just published a collection of his cartoons about Europe, In or Out?, which includes several that first appeared in The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • Jojje 3000

    Boris is sacrificing Europe for gains in his career, and to a large extent sacrificing his fellow English, of course we in the EU look hurt in the face. If he had remained as mayor of London I am convinced he would have promoted Remain.

    • WFC

      If you are happy living under an anti-democratic, illiberal oligarchy, who think that reality can be changed by a triumph of the will, and who can and do unilaterally replace the democratically accountable governments of member states, that’s up to you.

      If you are happy living under a system which allows this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/11/italy-must-chose-between-the-euro-and-its-own-economic-survival/

      … but gives no means to those affected to change that state of affairs, or get rid of those imposing it, short of violent revolution, then that too is up to you.

      But it is not our tradition or custom to endure such governance for long, and I hope it never will be.

      • Jojje 3000

        Well, really not much difference to Westminster and Whitehall.

        • WFC

          Which comment acknowledges that reform of the EU is impossible. Because you genuinely don’t understand what is wrong with it.

          • Jojje 3000

            The EU will gradually improve and move forward, as will Westminster, but neither is inferior in any way. Westminster with it’s semi-federal structure has it’s problems with democracy, and also some other beliefs.

          • CRSM

            I have a problem with “democracy”, when it turns out that it is just “dictatorship of the majority”.

          • Jojje 3000

            Totally agree, but that’s what democracy is, really not that beautiful.

          • polidorisghost

            Democracy is still the best looking chick on the block.

          • Jojje 3000

            Meritocracy has its’ virtues.

          • polidorisghost

            Only for the meritocrats, not for the rest of us.
            I see the far right is on the march across Europe – Well done the meritocrats!

          • Jojje 3000

            A meritocracy has an advantage in focusing on the results delivered, and not so much on emotions.

            But far right is not meritocracy.

          • polidorisghost

            “But far right is not meritocracy.”
            I didn’t say it was. But government by meritocracy is a denial of popular sovereignty and will lead inevitably to rebellion. It’s already happening and I doubt that the EU will last as long as the Soviet Union.

          • Jojje 3000

            But the only sovereign in the UK is Her Majesty, which constitutes is some incarnation of meritocracy. And the Brits are very supportive.

          • polidorisghost

            The Monarch has no power – she’s a figurehead.
            Sovereign power is exercised by Parliament.
            You stick to your unelected meritocrats and I’ll stick to my elected parliament.

          • Jojje 3000

            If Her Majesty doesn’t sign there is no law, she is more than a figurehead. And another successful meritocracy is the BOE.

          • polidorisghost

            She has to sign.

  • Bob3

    Boris should know all about the EU, hasn’t he been tasked with fulfilling EU targets for the last eight years.

  • Freddythreepwood

    Boris makes an excellent point when he says that it is not Europe we have an issue with. The European Union, with its persistent interference in our politics and relentless issuing of directives which we oppose but are unable to reject, is the pain in our wisdom tooth. We want it out of our politics and out of our Law. We will not be dictated to by people we cannot sack. Brussels has made it clear that reform is out of the question. Extraction is the only answer.

  • Sir Johnny Foreigner

    Vote OUT

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Today’s immigration stats. Is it a poll of Poles?

  • Shieldsman

    Both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are concerned about fall out for the Conservative Party after Brexit. This is demonstrated in their saying Cameron can continue as PM. This is a nonsense, the two sides of the Party have already fallen out. It is the older more sage Backbenchers and Grassroots members who are tired of being ruled from Brussels, they can remember the freedom we had prior to Maastricht and Lisbon which Gordon Brown signed up to without consulting the Electorate. The Irish had a referendum but were told to vote again.

    With David Cameron and the no.10 back-office cooking up ever bigger porkies on the doom and disaster that will befall us when we leave the EU, he can not be trusted to manage a successful exit. Aided and abetted by the BBC, strange how the migrant invasion, and speeches by the Commission President are buried.

    The orchestrated scaremongering aimed at the young and feckless is hardly befitting of a British Prime Minister, but then career politicians are in charge.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Beneath or behind his chaotic bonhomie BJ can be forthright and pithy, so when he says, “By nature, and by inclination, [the PM] is an extremely good dealmaker,” he surely carries discretion & politeness too far. He cannot surely believe what he says: Cameron’s negotiating skills, as displayed consistently in his dealings with the EU, are pitifully inadequate. Even allowing for the key fact that his heart was never in it, he demanded nothing, merely requested far too little, and got hardly anything.

    • Ivan Ewan

      Perhaps the PM is an extremely good dealmaker – who simply decided not to make a good deal this time.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        That’s plausible, I agree, and since he climbed to the top of the pole he clearly has political skills. At the same time, he always struck me as shallow, flighty, insubstantial and insincere, given to momentary enthusiasms, lacking entirely in gravitas. Such qualities were undoubtedly ok in the PR role he held as his only extra-political job, but statesmen require far more. I don’t think Cameron is up to serious deal-making at all.

        • Andrew Cole

          He got the job by pretending to be sceptic against the arch euro Clarke and once in the seat gave up the charade.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Prior to the 2010 GE many Tory loyalists were saying that though Cameron seemed strangely reluctant to make clear policy statements or evidence of strong, identifiable principles & allegiances, he was undoubtedly one of the right sort, “Eurosceptic”, and would come good after the election… This strand of self-deception was very evident on ConHome, for instance. Hah…

          • Andrew Cole

            I latched on to him early on. When he didn’t push forward with his charade of challenging the Lisbon Treaty.

            I guess once he was in and found to his delight lots of other Lefty infiltrators had succeeded to get in as well that he could drop the act.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Me too – though I’d already stopped voting Tory some years previously.

          • SaraRosenthalGB

            If even the Spymasters are pro staying in, then at this stage, Cameron probably doesn’t even have a choice to speak his own mind.

            £9 million booklet

            It’s like Scotland all over again. Who’s next, The Queen?

      • goodsoldier

        The fact that he won’t debate proves that he is unfit for anything important.

    • Pretty_Polly

      David Cameron’s negotiating skills suit you rather well presumably because you voted for ‘Brussels’ in a referendum and therefore you must like sharing sovereignty just like Dave.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Your parrotted lies, fantasies and clichés suit your nom de plume rather well, though I imagine the average parrot is not quite so stupid.

        • Pretty_Polly

          Now hang on a moment.

          You voted for ‘Brussels’ apparently according to what you said elsewhere.

          So you must have known about sharing competence aka sovereignty in such areas as ‘free movement’ of people and fisheries, to name but two.

          Consequently it seems perfectly reasonable to say that you must like ‘Brussels’ and sharing sovereignty.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Logic is, to say the least, not your strongpoint. Go and watch some daytime TV, more your level. Squawk! Who’s a pretty boy, then…

          • Pretty_Polly

            Well you must like ‘Brussels’ because you voted ‘Brussels’.

            Maybe you made a mistake and thought you were voting for sprouts?

            Anything is possible I suppose..

          • Malcolm Stevas

            One wonders idly what your assessment of your own intelligence might be. You display the stubbornness of a donkey, together with autistic levels of repetition of stock phrases and an associated refusal to deviate from the same idiotic path you’ve always trodden.
            I’ve tried to encourage you to do a teeny bit of reading – wasted, obviously. Let’s try something else: do you think that the 67% who voted to stay in the EEC/Common Market, from a respectable turnout of 65%, were, ah, “voting for Brussels”? Really? Were they/we all stupid, eh? You are clearly in the lowest quartile of intelligence, but that 67% spans a very much broader range than the merely stupid.
            I suspect you’re one of the usual idiots who posts here, but using a different name. Stop mixing it with the grownups and go back to your comics.

          • Pretty_Polly

            Obviously you liked ‘Brussels’, the Common Market, EEC etc, call it what you will because otherwise you would not have voted for it.

            You must have known that membership of ‘the club’ involved sharing sovereignty which at that time apparently included former British fisheries and borders.

            So if you liked the idea of sharing British fisheries with the other member states and letting fisheries be controlled by ‘Brussels’, as well as borders, it seems logical that you like sharing sovereignty.

            Some people do like sharing sovereignty. It’s a personal decision you made and nothing to be ashamed about in particular.

          • Andrew Cole

            Go have a read of the memos between those who were in government when the original referendum was held.

            Read about how they discuss how to sell the “common market” idea because the public wouldn’t go for what was really on the table.

            It is in the public domain. The government colluded in selling the British People the idea that it was just a trade deal, a common market because they knew that the British Public would not vote for the idea of the European union.

            Therefore quite obviously your statement is incorrect. We did not vote for Brussels. The government knew we wouldn’t and so misled the public into believing this was just about trade.

            Do you really think the British Public………….in the 70s………..would vote for……..a policy that allowed any EU worker to come to the UK?

            It is a touchy subject these days. Back in the mid 70s that would have sunk the referendum entirely without even looking at any other detail.

          • Pretty_Polly

            Britain entered the EEC in 1972 so it is not exactly as if those voting in 1975 did not know what they were getting.

            They had three years practical experience so they must have known about the sharing of sovereignty on borders, fisheries and agriculture.

            So I don’t think your argument has any merit at all I’m afraid.

          • Andrew Cole

            Laughable response. If people did know then why did Heath in 72 feel the need to say

            “There are some in this country who fear that going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.”

            and why when the Brexiters of the day dubbed “Anti-Marketeers” started to break through with their argument did Heath and then Wilson conceal the truth

            In order to give the illusion of support Heath used the Information and Research Department of the Foreign Office in a campaign of misinformation. A programme of only pro-European letters were published in The Times. Only favourable European stories were presented in the ‘Today’ programme, ‘World at One’, ITN news and ‘News at Ten’. It is alleged that Jack Di Manio, a popular presenter on the ‘Today’ programme, was sacked because he disagreed with this propaganda campaign.

            Sir Crispin Tickle, one of Heath’s negotiators, has admitted that the Government covered up the full implications of membership, saying the policy governed by the rule ‘Don’t talk about this in public’.

            Realising that public opinion was against Common Market membership, Heath decided not to allow the British people a referendum and pushed the acceptance of the European Communities Act, through Parliament in 1972 with a tiny majority in favour.

            In a BBC interview in 1990 Heath was asked if he had known all along that Britain was signing up to a federal European state, he replied, ‘Of course, yes’. Also hidden from the electorate was the fact that Heath gave away British sovereignty of its territorial fishing waters. Up to that point fishing had not been included in any treaties (it was not even mentioned in the Treaty of Rome). In the final weeks leading up to Britain becoming a signatory to the Treaty of Rome Heath used the fishing industry as a bargaining tool regardless of the consequences.

            Cabinet papers (Scottish Office Memo – 9.11.70) eventually released in January 2001 revealed that ‘as the horrific implications of handing over our waters dawned on our MPs, Ministers and civil servants adopted a systematic policy of concealing what was happening. [Ministers considered] it vital not to get drawn into an explanation of what was going on or to admit what a disaster was in store for Britain’s fishermen [who] in the wider context must be regarded as expendable.’

            What you are suggesting is that people of the day read through everything and understood it. You also imply that people would notice changes in those 3 years prior to the referendum.

            The reality is that people tend to believe what they are told and Heath and Wilson did exactly the same as Cameron is doing now. they lied and sold the idea of something completely different to what they will receive. Just as Cameron paints his deal as binding, those within the EU have already laughed that off and said it isn’t.

            Difference these days is that there is much more scrutiny over such things and so people that aren’t on the BBC preferred list can present the other side and people of neither side can present the truth.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Given my experience recently you are wasting your time in attempting to offer evidence or reasoned suggestions to this character, who seems stuck in a strange groove indicative of a worrying mental condition. I advise you not to spend any of your time responding to it/him/her. Nothing sinks in…

          • Pretty_Polly

            Certainly it has sunk in that you voted to maintain Britain’s place in the EEC after three years experience of membership so you must have known what you were voting for.

          • Pretty_Polly

            I’m sorry but the ‘laughable response’ is entirely yours.

            Those who voted in 1975 had three years experience of Britain’s EEC membership so they must have known the facts and of course Britain’s fishermen cannot possibly have remained silent.

            Edward Heath of course referred to ‘essential sovereignty’ not just ‘sovereignty’ and that was true because at any time parliament could revoke Britain’s EEC membership which was not set in stone forever.

            Of course it must have been obvious to everyone that sovereignty was to be shared with regard to borders because British people gained the right to travel and work in member countries without restriction.

            So despite your expostulations, your argument really has no basis at all.

          • big

            …..but people like Thatcher most have known what we were getting into , she must have understood the significance of what Benn and Powell were saying.so she was definitely not an ordinary voter, and yet she too supported it.

          • Andrew Cole

            Quite probably. We are already seeing that the eilte are quite happy with the prospect.

          • big

            …there’s no quite probably about it,it was discussed publicly what would happen,yet its taken 40 years to sink in.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I described you as “autistic” for rhetorical effect but I’m wondering if in fact you suffer from this condition. You repeat yourself to a disturbing degree, and seem genuinely incapable of progressing beyond a sort of mental fugue. Or perhaps you’re just one of the most stupid people I’ve encountered on web forums. Attempting to offer you rational suggestions is a waste of time.

          • Pretty_Polly

            The most rational suggestion of all of course is mine.

            That you knew what you were voting for in 1975 when you helped cement Britain’s place in the EEC and consequently you must approve of sharing sovereignty in such areas as borders, fisheries and agriculture.

            After all, Britain entered the EEC in 1972 so you had three years experience of how it all worked before you voted, so clearly you approved.

          • Itinerant

            Arrogance, vilification of others and self-declared intelligence- with another ‘brilliant’ argument, which seems to be from the Guy Verhofstadt school of ad hominem- you are so convincing…not.

  • James Chilton

    Boris often cites Pericles, apparently.

    According to Pericles: “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”

    According to Boris: “We are asking the British people to be brave, to be confident in themselves and to believe in Britain.”

    Both these spirited requirements are enacted in leaving the EU.

    • davidofkent

      Boris should beware of taking the analogy of Pericles too readily. Pericles was a great speaker who refused to indulge in histrionics. He was able to carry the argument by quiet sensible debate and an un-flustered demeanour at all times. Sadly, Pericles almost certainly chose the wrong strategy at the start of the Peloponnesian Wars. By deserting the countryside and bringing the villagers into Athens, behind the Long Walls, he allowed the Spartans to ravage the countryside destroying their farms and all their annual crops and probably set the city up for the plague which dealt the Athenians such a dreadful blow. The Spartans were frightened of the sea whereas the Athenians were masters of it. The correct strategy was always to have forced the Spartans to fight at sea and never on land. Boris must choose a platform that attacks Cameron’s weakness. That is of course to use truth not spin. Boris must use facts that are incontestable.

      • milford

        Hindsight is a great thing 🙂

      • James Chilton

        Have you been reading Thucydides?

        Boris is bound to make rhetorical arguments when he can, because people are moved by emotions rather than reason; and he’s got to get the floating voters on his side.

        • davidofkent

          Yes and Plutarch!

    • SaraRosenthalGB

      He reckoned Churchill wouldn’t be keen on being IN, but then Soames said recently voting OUT was un-British.

      Who to believe eh?

      • WFB56

        That easy, beyond his lineage what has Soames ever accomplished?

        • Father Todd Unctious

          He ate all the pies.

          • The_Common_Potato

            Wot?! Nicholas Soames is really Wayne Rooney?

  • tenbelly
    • Penny Henry

      Very good 🙂

  • Pretty_Polly


    My name is David Cameron of Brussels and Panama and my aim is to destroy Britain as you know and love it.

    That is why I have admitted over 750,000 migrants and asylum seekers in the last 12 months alone, why I support eastern extension of the EU and why I have done virtually nothing to stop illegals entering the country and remaining forever. I will of course repeat these policies this year and every year during my premiership.

    Up and down the country, I am told that my plans are working perfectly as people find they are becoming ‘Strangers Where They Live’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9831912/I-feel-like-a-stranger-where-I-live.html and I am delighted my Defence Minister, Michael Fallon, has told me that our towns and cities are being enrichingly ‘swamped with immigrants’ http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/26/british-towns-swamped-immigrants-michael-fallon-eu

    As the ‘Heir to Blair’ and Blairmore, I am proud to be continuing the pro immigration policies adopted by my close friends in the Labour Party and to be able to develop such ideas to extinguish ‘Britishness’ wherever it may be found. That is why I have abolished many of the planning rules in order to build huge anonymous new towns and cities in what was the monocultural and unenriched English countryside http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/16/plans-for-thousands-of-new-homes-threaten-green-belt-areas/

    I will soon be holding the long awaited confirmation of my views and opinions that Britain should remain an EU member forever and I will personally ensure that the Remain campaign is full of lies, threats and propaganda to obtain the highly desirable Remain outcome, thereby wiping the floor with a blonde haired mop. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson

    As you will understand from the foregoing, I am extremely excited about the forthcoming abolition of Britain and ‘Britishness’ by my friends in the European Union who have assured me that a new name has already been decided for these very small inconsequential islands..

    Consequently, to further the re-writing of British history and the destruction of British traditions, they have chosen ‘EU Sector North West’ which must now be written below your postcode or your mail will no longer be delivered.

    God Save The President of the EU Commission ! Rule Jean Claude Juncker !

    Yours sincerely

    David Cameron

    Governor General EU NW – Designate.

    • big

      Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    • Penny


  • Sir Johnny Foreigner

    The difference between Neville Chamberlain and David Cameron is that Neville Chamberlain actually came back with something from his negotiations, namely a bit of paper.

    • Prof Raus

      He also had a fine record as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

  • Jojje 3000

    The EU reviews it’s treaties on a cyclic base, you cannot simply pop up and request changes that requires referendums in 28 countries. Next review is bound sometime around 2023. Boris knows that.

    • milford

      You cannot simply do anything in the EU. It’s a complicated matter to tie your shoelaces up. So many countries, so little common sense. The ineptitude constantly gains the upper hand – as a handful of unelected buearocrats try to govern an area covering nearly two million square miles, many of which are post-communist failed states, and the whole thing chock full of people speaking different languages!
      It’s as plain as the nose on your face that they can’t manage it. Look at the shambolic handling of the refugee and related rape crises now engulfing Western Europe.

      • Jojje 3000

        Yes, you’re right about the complicated matter agreeing among 28 nations, but this is much due to the rapid eastern expansion advocated by a certain..cough..member that now is in the mood to leave for this same reason.

        • milford

          That was the idea from the very start, they just kept it quiet. The EU is not to be trusted under any circumstances and neither is Cameron et al.

          • Jojje 3000

            And the US has put up a sign ‘Please take a Q ticket’. Not many there to be trusted friends.

  • Prof Raus

    The ONS is due to explain, today, why there is a discrepancy between immigration and NI numbers for EU citizens. Of course the real pointer is that about 4 million more are registered with an NHS surgery than supposedly live here.

    What’s just as interesting (from the democratic viewpoint) is that Mark Carney is due to pontificate today (The BBC trailed it as – he can’t take sides on BREXIT but it’s his duty to warn – er, you mean take sides?) There is a spat over Farage being given a TV slot with (but not in the same room) with Cameron and, well hold the press – bound to be yet more from project fear and hide bad news. Perhaps a betting firm could run a daily sweepstake on “Today’s scare” and donate the profits to a worthy cause.

  • Fairly Educated Scot

    The televised debates are pretty much going to be Boris, Farage and Gove vs Cameron, Gideon and May. I will be doing 0% of my research through the media of TV.

  • John Carins

    It’s the other Johnson (Alan Johnson) that the Brexit camp needs to fear. He is so far using argument and has for many a likeable personality. This could be a battle of the Johnsons

  • Central power

    Boris the man of total integrity. Boris will bring us freedom and sovereignty. Our 4th July will be the 23rd of June.
    We shall erect statues of Farrage and Johnson and Galloway (the latter one if some money is left after Brexit) in front of the Westminster.
    As for the British “sovereignty”:
    Utilities in foreign hands. Without the French electricity supplies – lights out. Sovereignty to produce overpriced vacuum cleaners abroad (Brexiter Dyson). Sovereignty equals non dom status of the owners of the following: The Daily Mail, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph. Sovereignty to beg Chinese to build an over priced nuclear plant. Sovereignty to build all hospitals via PFI (and thus treble the costs). Sovereignty to have all UK car plants foreign owned. Sovereign to have absolutely no control over how many people are in the country (please note that all EU citizens do have ID cards as opposed to those from the third world and their bona fide can easily be checked).
    Sovereignty that the bulk of our “exports” to Europe are service based and may not be on the table in “re negotiations”.
    Sovereignty to be blown up by home grown terrorists.
    Sovereignty to have own independent Forces should the Yanks pull out of the NATO.
    Sovereignty to hate anyone who is not English.

    • 100

      do you feel better now?, maybe go and and lie down and sleep it off

      • Central power

        Please call me a wimp. It will make you sound Prime Ministerial.Like your standard bearer – not so long ago s true European Boris Johnson.

        • 100

          keep editing its still sounds daft

          • big

            ……….all true.

        • polidorisghost

          “Please call me a wimp.”

          You’re a wimp, and I’m being pretty generous.

      • big

        it’s true.

    • big

      Great i love it.

    • Nick

      I enjoyed reading your post but I can’t work it out.

      Are you a Remainer or Leaver?

    • CRSM

      You are Nick Cohen and I claim my $100.

    • Dukeofplazatoro

      “Utilities in foreign hands. Without the French electricity supplies – lights out. Sovereignty to produce overpriced vacuum cleaners abroad (Brexiter Dyson). Sovereignty equals non dom status of the owners of the following: The Daily Mail, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph. Sovereignty to beg Chinese to build an over priced nuclear plant. Sovereignty to build all hospitals via PFI (and thus treble the costs). Sovereignty to have all UK car plants foreign owned. Sovereign to have absolutely no control over how many people are in the country”

      Have not these things already happened? In other words while we have been in the EU, so would they not be arguments for Brexit? Add to it sovereignty to opt out of TTIP and negotiate something more advantageous, or one better, vote Brexit as then the EU may realise we are serious and offer us a better deal before telling us to vote again

  • Central power

    Johnson’s suggestion to debate Cameron is no different than Brutus suggesting a debate with Caesar.

  • Pip

    Those still undecided are ignoramuses however I suspect most people are decided and have been for many years and this undecided element is merely an invention of the Corporate Media in order to justify the daily litany of propaganda and spin.

  • Penny Henry

    Go Boris!

  • SeaNote

    How can somebody replaced by a Muslim hope to have any credibility?

    • SaraRosenthalGB

      He will have all the credibility he needs when Cameron is replaced soon.

  • Central power

    I do not think it should be difficult to debate Johnson – the independence fighter.
    The latest from him.
    Today Express headline screams: Now EU wants to ban our kettles.
    Johnson’s reaction: “Typical petty interference from the EU”
    The truth (an inconvenience for both Johnson and Express) – EU wants to use less powerful kettles.Not to save energy – the amount of used electricity is basically the same regardless of wattage but to prevent huge surges in electricity demand.
    Johnson may not like it but there is no British electricity grid but European.Perhaps Johnson will want to ban immigration of electrons from France.

    • Thats not true, the UK grid is independent and this has nothing to do with the EU.

      • Central power

        From the horse’s mouth:
        Are there any links to countries outside Great Britain?
        Our transmission system is linked by interconnectors to transmission systems in France, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. This means that ‘spare’ electricity generated in those countries can be used to meet demand in Great Britain, and vice versa.
        The next you will say that Europe has nothing to do with the EU.

        • CRSM

          Yes, but these are point-to-point links. You do know what a “grid” is I assume?

        • Having links is not the same as a central EU grid, for a start our grid runs at different rates to the EU. Those connections you talk of should be thought off as external power stations as that’s what they are.

          • CRSM

            We are all at 50Hz. The actual voltages on the undersea cables don’t matter. I doubt very much if the mains frequencies all across Europe are phase-locked however. (I’d be interested if anyone knows if the whole of Europe’s mains supplies are in phase synchronisation).

          • but the sub sea connections dont make the grid one, National Grid view the sub sea connections as remote power stations when we need power but they have no control over when these remote stations can supply our grid power.

    • polidorisghost

      In that case I’d better vote Remain hadn’t I?
      You euroweenies are such awesome dudes.

      • veryveryoldfella

        You are so right, here I was stupidly trying to weigh up such mundane issues such as sovereignty, trade, a creaking infrastructure and all I needed to think about was putting the kettle on.

        • polidorisghost

          The kettle won it for me.

  • MCD

    “Yes, I’d debate WITH Cameron.”
    This is not the USA. We know how to use prepositions.

  • Central power

    Johnson: “Yes, I’d debate King Kong if gets me elected as the next Prime Minister of South East England.

  • witchend

    I doubt Johnson would like being Editor of the Spectator any more.

    Judging by the comments its full of poor frustrated immigrants from the Guardian, which won’t let the simpletons comment on important matters there any more.

    Poor saps.

  • Penny Henry

    Brexit – The Movie


  • sebastian2

    “Take back £20 billion? Take back control of the borders? Run the country? Democracy? You know, it might be a good idea.”’

    Indeed. We’ve noticed. Recent ONS figures only help us to notice more.

    Richer. Safer. Self determined. “Up yours!” to Brussels.

    Sounds good to me.

  • Torybushhug

    I’VE GOT THE ULTIMATE ARGUMENT – can someone give this to key Leave personalities;

    What would Cameron’s speech to the British people be like if we vote leave? Negative or positive?
    A doom laden confirmation of past prophecy, or a positive can-do stirring narrative that confirms his determination to work close with our friends in the EU to ensure a smooth transition, in the interest of ALL parties (EU unemployment is huge, they will do nothing that could make it worse)?.

    A speech to remind everyone we are central to EU security, members of the G7 and G20, NATO and the UN, and new members of the WTO etc

    • veryveryoldfella

      It only needs to be a short speech starting something like this…”Following the referendum result which confirmed the peoples decision to leave the EU, I have today resigned as leader”….etc etc. Then perhaps we would have a Conservative PM, one who would stand up for this country.

      I believe Remain or Leave, he has lost his credibility and will be forced out sooner rather than later.

  • John Andrews

    I’d like to know Cameron’s answer to this question: ‘If the EU had not given you your paltry deal, would you REALLY have campaigned to Leave? Or are you claiming that your deal will save us from all the horrors you keep going on about now?’

    • Andrew

      If you look into it you’ll find that he was told what he could and couldn’t have by Germany before he even started his “negotiation”

      • John Andrews

        Yes. But in the name of heaven, how can Cameron argue, even if drunk, that in view of the 7 plagues he now speaks of he was telling the truth when telling us he would campaign to leave if he did not get the deal?

  • SeaNote

    London used to be a nice place when England was English.

  • Symptoms of a failing campaign:
    1. Comparing your opponents to Hitler
    2. Claiming the media is biased
    3. Vilification of anyone with a counter view
    4. Claiming the vote will be fiddled

    • Andrew

      1. Quoting war,moronic
      2. Saying we’d be safer not having the option to admit who we like, a line for the most gullable folk in the uk
      3. Saying we’d be better off paying for membership of almost the poorest performing continent on the globe, just marginally outperforming Antartica
      4. Quoting veterans fought for a united europe-utter garbage-they fought to remove a dictatorship, look up the meaning.

      • Going OTT like this actually damages the OUT campaign as the undecided people can smell your desperation. Here is what you should do:

        1. Don’t bother posting on this (or most other) online forums. It is mostly OUTters here and so you are just “preaching to the converted”.
        2. Don’t try to put forward the argument that we will somehow be ruled by Germany in some superstate. The undecided know this is rubbish and just won’t buy it.
        3. Do concentrate on the economy as that is the only issue that will swing undecided voters.
        4. Do write letters to MPs etc.
        5. Do march (peacefully).
        6. Produce leaflets (which avoid esoteric issues of sovereignty or overblown rhetoric) and posts them locally.

        • Andrew

          There’s just as much desperation in your camp, Cameron Canute is failing. Nevertheless my point was to highlight that virtually all the hyberbole is coming from the remain camp. The “I believe their could be war” is just a flat out lie as no one with any sense would believe he believes it.

          • “There’s just as much desperation in your camp,…” I shall be voting OUT (but I expect to lose).

            “The “I believe their could be war” is just a flat out lie…” The words “I believe” means it is an opinion and hence cannot be a lie.

            If you are having trouble with our language then there are some excellent remedial courses at many local colleges.

          • Andrew

            No, I don’t have any problem at all with my language. If you think someone can’t lie about what they believe you have an issue with your thought process, that can’t be cured by any courses I’m afraid.
            For your info . ..


            say goodbye to the union of fiscal suicide 🙂

          • “I don’t have any problem at all with my language.” Then why did you call what was expressed as an opinion a lie. How long have you been in our country?

          • Andrew

            Okay, nice and simple for you. If I look at the moon and then state in my opinion it is square that’s still a lie as I know it is round, you really are struggling with this concept aren’t you ? Maybe it is my mis-interpretation, is your argument that Cameron is far stupider than I could even imagine ?

          • “…in my opinion it is square that’s still a lie…” No – you really do have problems with English don’t you.

          • Andrew

            No, my god, ha ha ! Look you’re far too too thick to debate with. No wonder you’re voting in . Adios

          • …and don’t forget those remedial English courses as you really need them.

          • Pretty_Polly

            Don’t take any notice of the so called ‘Wizard’ who is anything but.

            He recently told us that he had seen ‘with his own eyes the majority of the public laugh at Nigel Farage’.

            When asked where he saw the astonishing sight of about 75 million people gathered together, he goes silent and runs away.

            Some ‘Wizard’, all he does is troll..

    • Itinerant

      That could apply to both camps, although the pro-EU side has used vilification from the very beginning.
      Fifty years (see original conversations about vilifying dissent in FCO 30/1048) of being called xenophobes, liitle Englanders etc for dissenting to rule by an undemocratic and corrupt bureaucracy in Brussels, makes the pro-EU side by far the bigger culprit.

      The BBC according to research and anyone with two brain cells and one good eye has been quite extraordinarily biased in favour of the EU.

      For example “only 3 percent of the Today Programme which invited over 4,200 guests on to talk about EU themes over a decade, just 3.2 percent of whom were identifiably in favour of withdrawing from the EU”


      I would suggest using hugely distorted propaganda is a hallmark of the losing side- not those pointing it out.

      • “That could apply to both camps,…” I hadn’t noticed any comparisons to Hitler or very much vilification from the pro-EU camp

        “…”only 3 percent of the Today Programme which invited over 4,200 guests
        on to talk about EU themes over a decade, just 3.2 percent of whom were
        identifiably in favour of withdrawing from the EU” Stop reading THOSE websites.

        • Itinerant

          You can’t have been looking very hard (or not at all)….and which website are you havering on about?
          I quoted research conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
          Although it is revealing when someone tries to discredit the source, without dealing with the actual substance.

          • You IEA reference is a lazy response as I would have to read the whole document to see whether you were using the stats out of context (as I suspect).

          • Itinerant

            Is that best you can do? cast aspersions…pathetic.

  • Disqus Bolloqus

    The Referendum debate is really funny. So hilarious you couldn’t make it up, except BoJo and call me Dave did. If I vote to leave World War 3 will break out. If I vote to remain, I’ll be ruled by Hitler’s protégés. What a choice. Or is it just complete scaremongering garbage from both camps?

    • Andrew

      Well if you vote to remain you will be ruled by a dictatorship with an ever tightening grip. how many choices did the MEP’s even get for the last leader ?

      Get out while you still can, they’re working on removing the option. ..

  • Shieldsman

    Remind me what was Cameron’s deal? The deal that did not change the Lisbon Treaty to which all 28 member states are subject – there was no Treaty change – honest.
    The best of both worlds, where we cannot veto any EU directive, we are told the maximum wattage for a vacuum cleaner, and shortly that for an electric kettle. Where we are surrounded by sea, yet the fish I buy twice a week is caught by the Icelandic fishing fleet, they are not in the CFP. Funny old World!!!

  • SeaNote

    You must be a wimp if you can be replaced by a Muslim.

    • anonuk

      Muslims aren’t wimpy, far from it. Just ask Daniel Pearl and James Foley (figuratively, of course). Or the Syrian or Egyptian Christians, Parisians, the victims of 9/11, 7/7, etc.

      Having said that, even the dear old CofE had fangs once.

  • Tony Buchanan

    Remain will launch a colossal offensive the week of the referendum itself. It will be interesting because we don’t get this ‘do what teacher says’ before a General Election. Interesting too in so called ‘safe seats’ like mine where politics is more or less ‘dead’. With a majority of over 15,000 voting is seen by yocals as a nostalgic hobby not life or death. It should bring politics alive where apathy -along with potholes- have well and truly taken hold.

    The potential for a shock is there because the ordinarily non-political are feeling very motivated.

    • anonuk

      I’m in Tatton (oop North but as blue as Henley or Witney). The last Tory to lose his seat here was Neil Hamilton nearly 20 years ago after Labour and LibDems (remember them?) joined forces. Now we’ve got Mr Oleaginous as MP, the Chancellor himself.

  • amanuenensi

    We’ll just call Tim Peake back before he is kicked off the ESA flight, and be happy that half the banks and bankers and other European manufacturers will leave in the next few years. House prices will correct to more like 1990 values, wages will stagnate probably – sadly, exports will falter probably more than you would have thought, our social services will start to really fail sadly as European nurses and staff dry up, and we will loose about 1.5 million Europeans over the next few years as the economy falters, but London will become more like peaceful Lisbon, and the home counties will be much cheaper to live in. All that natural produce. So wine and BMW’s might be a little more expensive, and Dover Immigration will actually be in Dover, but. BUT. No more bankers, no more Europeans, a quieter, more peaceful, and yes, poorer, but who cares, life. The English want to to go back to that easy ordered life of the 1970’s, when there were not so many ‘Johny Foreigners’ around when houses cost £200,000, when you didn’t have year round raspberries and you drank Pims or beer. The good old days. At least we will be able to keep the frothing mad insane Muslim rapists and murderers out. Phew.

    • The English want to go back to the days when the British, who do not like us, were not able to cede our natural and inalienable right to self-determination to people in Europe who do not like us. Houses cost a good deal less, on average, than £200,000.00 in the 1970s. At the start of the decade (1971) a small terraced house in the south of England could be had for less than £5,000 and at the end (1980) for not much more than three times that.

      You Anglophobic little Britlanders have had your day; your sneers and smears no longer work. You’ll have to find another stick to beat us with, one that isn’t broken and soggy with the sweat of your own fear.

    • anonuk

      “When houses cost £200,000”?

      Was that in lire?

      According to this website:

      In 1975, the average house cost the equivalent of $87K, followed by a long fall because of inflation (stagflation) only “righted” in 1979. The average house price only passed the equivalent of £100K in 1986- and only “really” passed 100K in 2002! Since then, average house prices have doubled, even despite the Great Recession. Why? Do we need another bout of stagflation, perhaps- and what would we sacrifice if that occurred?

      • amanuenensi

        You are quite right. Age has caught up with me.

  • Jojje 3000

    Boris is turning into an embittered isolationist.

  • After eight years at City Hall, he is turning his mind to what he will do next.

    Turn his mind to retirement and obscurity?

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  • anonuk

    He mentioned it once, but he thinks he got away with it alright.

  • goodsoldier

    The paid Trolls are out in force. The Remain campaign has plenty of our taxpayer’s money to spend on Trolls and pamphlets and propaganda to scare us to stay in the EU.

    The Brexit campaign is storming ahead but this is never reported accurately. The Remain campaign will abuse their power to deceive people.

    • John

      Actually last weekend had 1000 Remain Groups out in Towns & Cities handing out 1 million leaflets, many Labour and LibDem (200) also.

      Companies are informing their staff why it is all of their interests to Remain.

      Industry Sector bodies and Journals are coming out for Remain. I’ve seen the Electronics and Music Industry Publications come out big for Remain.

      Academia are organising Student Voting Registration and campaigning for Remain

      Unions are informing their millions of members that they should vote Remain

      Science and R&D networks are big for Remain

      Farming circles don’t even like hearing anyone argue for Leave.

      The one sided advice from International political leaders, diplomatics, military leaders & NATO, Business representatives, all economics organisations, most security chiefs and most politicians and parties are all for Remain.

      This is why it will be Remain.

      • goodsoldier

        Then they will repent at their leisure. I will only hope that the EU collapses on it’s own steam.

  • Central power

    Johnson – Churchill of our age.
    Johnson – Shakespeare of our age

  • Andrew sneddon

    to the slaughter

    of the sheep have escaped from the pen so the establishment elite have organised
    a group of shepherds from around the globe to talk to them and convince them to
    get back in the pen.

    was not that successful because a lot of them where foreign shepherds and had a
    negative effect and the sheep did not listen.

    the head shepherd David decided to bring in two new shepherds Tony and Peter
    who had already got much experience of fooling sheep into moving in the wrong
    direction and they started to follow the Tony Blair handbook on how to control

    1 you scare the sheep with all sorts of stories of doom and gloom like a dodgy
    dossier which says that people have missiles that can hit this country in 45 minutes
    and even though you now it is a load of rubbish you get your friends in the
    media to call it an authoritative document, the sheep will believe it and they
    get very afraid. Then you tell them if they follow you these horrible things
    will not happen, problem solved.

    and Peters fingerprints are all over the remain campaigns methodology and
    yesterday came the final proof. David Cameron unfortunately followed the script
    too closely he called a vote to remain as the moral choice. Surely we can all
    remember Tony Blairs moral case for going to war and how many people have lost
    their lives over his lies . The establishment elite who do not want any change are
    simply trying to fool us again and if we fall for it there is no coming back.

    have lived in this country for over 60 years and been lied to by politicians
    more times than I care to remember. I just ask people to think carefully about
    what we are being told are we going to go quietly back into the pen, or strike
    out in a bold new future of freedom. I know it is scary but past generations of
    British people set out in fragile boats not knowing whether they would fall off
    the edge of the world and it brought them respect and prosperity.