Here we go again, another exercise in “We’re talking down to you, Scotland” from the BBC election debate. Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson are going head to head, at least that is if Johnson can be bothered to turn up. Expect more of what we’ve seen from Boris Johnson for the past few weeks, a lot of fnaugh fnaughing, not answering questions, deflections, lies, turning everything into an attack on Corbyn, saying oven ready get Brexit done, some more fnaugh fnaughing, and a lot more lies, while he refuses to tell us how many children he’s got.
We can also expect Johnson to make Scottish independence one of the subjects he’s attacking Corbyn on, and there will be no one there to point out that Scottish independence will not be the unmitigated disaster that both of this pair will compete with one another in painting it to be. Neither will there be anyone there to point out that if the people of Scotland vote for a party promising another referendum, then it’s a democratic outrage for that mandate to be ignored. Scotland gets to be a mere onlooker as its own destiny is decided. Within the UK our role is that same as that of Andrew Ridgeley from Wham!, just a bystander in someone else’s limelight. The much professed love and respect for Scotland that the UK parties have is as authentic as Jo Swinson’s accent. There are those who are treating this evening’s performance from the BBC as though it was an audition for their licence fee. Don’t call us, BBC, we’ll call you.
I’m only watching in the hope that the BBC goes with a last minute change of plans and the presenter of the debate Nick Robinson says, “So let’s take our first question from a member of the audience … Mr Andrew Neil, what would you like to ask the Prime Minister?” And then Andrew Neil walks on to interrogate the fnaughing liar with the deliberately tousled hair. That would be worth it just for the look on Johnson’s face. But we’re unlikely to witness any such drama, certainly not from Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn was sold to us as the man who was going to reinvigorate and reanimate British politics. It turned out to be a bit like hooking up on a dating app with someone who promised you a groovy kind of love and then discovering that you’re stuck on a night out with a guy with a fetish for beige corduroy.
So here we go. Boris Johnson has actually been arsed to turn up. The audience in the studio in Kent is supposedly balanced, you know, in that special BBC kind of way that gave us an audience full of posh Tories in Dundee. Jeremy Corbyn’s starts with his opening statement. At least his glasses aren’t squinty, yet. He talks about poverty and the need to rebuild our public services. He says yes, that does mean making those who can bear the burden pay more in taxes. Boris Johnson says get Brexit done. Give yourself a drink if you’re playing Borisbingo. There’s no prize, just penury. And there he goes going on about the “nightmare of another referendum on Europe and one on Scottish independence. You can see why the Tories introduced the bedroom tax. Nicola Sturgeon lives in the heads for free. This guy is terrified of voting. What do you call a politician who doesn’t like it when the electorate gets to vote? Oh yeah, a dictator.
The first question isn’t from Andrew Neil. It’s from a man in the audience who wants to know why previous Tory leaders and statespersons don’t want people to vote for Boris Johnson. Get Brexit done, have a drink. Oven ready. Have another drink. At this rate the entire UK will be steaming drunk within the next five minutes, which may explain why so many people in the UK still want to vote for this liar.
There’s now a question from a leave voter who wants to know if Johnson can guarantee that Brexit will happen next year. Then a remain voter who wants to know if either leader can demonstrate that we’ll be better off because of Brexit. Get Brexit done. Get Brexit done. Oh dear god make him stop. Johnson want to get Brexit done for the cute ickle animals, and the cheap tampons. Is it politically incorrect to say that I am longing to ram something up him? Probably. But I am past the point of caring already. Get Brexit done. OH SHUT UP!
Now Johnson is trying to mislead people about the nature of the leave agreement with the EU, and trying to conflate it with a trade deal. There he goes again with the done thing. It’s his strong and stable from the last Conservative general election campaign, and we saw how that one turned out.
Corbyn talks about how the document which he released today proves that there will be a customs border down the Irish sea, treating Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK. There’s a lot of fnaughing from Johnson, who can’t explain why it is that the DUP don’t agree with him. So he tries to smear Corbyn with support for the IRA. Deflection is not an answer. Corbyn points out that it was a Labour government which negotiated the peace agreement which brought about an end to the violence in Northern Ireland.
In other news, Britain’s top Brexit envoy in the US has resigned with a massive tirade against UK political leaders, saying she was fed up “peddling half-truths” and is leaving her post after 33 years in the foreign service. Not even the people paid to sell Brexit believe in it.
Corbyn says that the problem is that 52/48 means a divided country, and there has to be a deal that brings people together. Johnson goes on the attack again, saying that Corbyn can’t get a deal if he doesn’t believe in it. The problem is that no one believes a word that Johnson says.
Question about the NHS now, how to deal with the shortage of nurses and how to ensure that the NHS retains them. Johnson lies about how he loves the NHS. Here come the 50,000 imaginary nurses. Tries to deflect by talking about Labour’s plans for a four day week. Corbyn says it was the Tories and Lib Dems who introduced student fees and axed the nurse bursary. He wants to end university fees, like has happened in Scotland, although he doesn’t say that bit. The nurses’ bursary was retained in Scotland too, and is going to be increased to £10,000 next year. He didn’t say that bit either. He details Johnson’s lies about the number of hospitals that are going to be built. There’s quite a bit of fnaughing and waffle from the tousled one. Waffle waffle, planning, architects, plans, seed funding – forty new hospitals! He announces triumphantly as though he’d explained himself. Still, at least he didn’t say get Brexit done. Be grateful for small mercies. The reality is that it’s just the refurbishing of six hospitals. 6 is not 40. Get Brexit done will not get Brexit done. There he goes again.
Corbyn says that he’ll end privatisation in the NHS. He means the NHS in England but he doesn’t say so, because England is Britain. He warns about the risk of a deal with Trump about the price of medicines. Fnaugh fnaugh. There’s something deeply zen about watching a habitual liar accuse others of lying. But he doesn’t actually dispute that US health corporations want greater access to the NHS. Then he blames the problems on the previous Labour government’s fixation on PFI. We managed to go a whole 25 minutes without Johnson blaming a Labour government that hasn’t been in power for almost a decade. I suppose that counts as improvement. There’s some clapping from the gammonesque seals in the audience. Corbyn points out that it’s a fact that the Conservatives have presided over an NHS that is in crisis. If you think the NHS is bad in Scotland, the English one is far worse. BBC Scotland never tells you that. If you don’t believe what Corbyn has to say about the NHS, take it from a former Conservative Prime Minister. John Major said, “The NHS would be as safe as a pet hamster in the presence of a hungry python if Boris Johnson, Michael Gove & Iain Duncan-Smith rose to power following Brexit.”
There’s a programme on Channel 4 about the attractions of beige corduroy. Just sayin’. Johnson has a very peculiar pronunciation of the vowel oo. It’s more like ew. Which is what a lot of women say to him when he spills red wine on their new sofa and won’t give back their laptops. Now he’s banging on about One Nation Conservatism after he’s kicked all the One Nation Tories out of the party. Nick Robinson is letting him get away with all this. They used to be at university together. Just sayin’ that too.
Taxation now. Johnson hasn’t explained how he’ll pay for all these improved public services that he’s promising while at the same time promising to cut taxes. He says he’s going to get Brexit done. Kill me now.
Corbyn says that the Tories always look after the rich, and do so by penalising the poor. He says that his proposals will raise taxes on the rich and big business, and their proposed new corporation tax will still be lower than it is in France or the UK. Johnson says that Corbyn is saying that people who earn £20,000 a year are amongst the rich. I’m scarcely paying attention at this point, but I know he’s not said any such thing. That’s just not true Boris, or even trew. You can’t win an argument on the economy when your policy includes Brexit, so just throw in some random lies, that’ll sort it.
On to sentencing now. Johnson wants prisoners to serve their full sentences. Corbyn quite sensibly points out that all prisoners who are on fixed term sentences will come out eventually, so you can’t get away without addressing the huge problems of rehabilitation and monitoring. Cutting the number of police officer, and trashing the probation service as the Conservatives have done is what causes these problems with released prisoners. Johnson ignores all that and waffles on about making prisoners serve their full sentences. Yet suppose the London Bridge terrorist did indeed serve his full sentence, without proper rehabilitation, supervision, and monitoring that merely delays a terror attack for a few years. But then by that time it won’t be Boris Johnson’s problem. Just ours. And that in a nutshell is Boris Johnson’s approach to everything.
Still no one has asked him how many children he’s got. Where’s the “impartial” fact check from the Conservative campaign HQ twitter account?
Corbyn denying that he wants to disband MI5. Points out that someone in his constituency was murdered by a terrorist – in this instance a far right extremist who attacked a mosque.
Now they’re being asked what they’d do to get the hate out of politics. That’s going to be a hard one. I hate Boris Johnson. It’s wrong to hate people, and Boris Johnson makes me hate him. Every time he opens his mouth and says get Brexit done, I hate him even more. And then I hate him even more still for making me a bad person. He even manages to squeeze get Brexit done into his answer to this question. God I really hate him now.
We get onto anti-semitism. Corbyn says that he has no tolerance for racism in any form and has always condemned it. He says that he’s never used racist language to describe another human being, unlike Johnson. Johnson wants to get Brexit done says that Corbyn is a failure. Failure, says Corbyn, is when you use racist language to describe other people and other countries. You could talk about the mating habits of Galapagos tortoises and Johnson would bring it back to Brexit.
A woman in the audience wants to know what punishment is appropriate for politicians who lie in election campaigns. Johnson says they should be forced to go down on their knees and whip themselves with a copy of their manifesto. We’re waiting Boris. We’re waiting.
Nick Robinson asks Johnson about the diplomat who has resigned saying that she no longer wants to peddle half truths. Johnson says he doesn’t know who Robinson is referring to. Credit where credit is due, that’s not a half truth. It’s a complete lie.
Are we done yet? 30 seconds for a closing statement. Thank god.
Corbyn says that politics can change things. The future is ours to make together. He mentions the climate emergency, the first time it’s figured this evening. Johnson says we can have tew chaotic referendums and then reels off a load of lies. Oh, and he says get Brexit done, the biggest lie of all. Boris Johnson sounds like a broken recor… no, a lying shit. He sounds like a lying shit.
Who won? No one. Everyone in the UK is a loser in this election.
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