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Home > Politics

Boris Johnson's dirty love

This week Berlusconi is rumoured to have had colonic irrigation in an attempt to remove the last vestiges of Boris Johnson's tongue from his majestic statuesque multi-billion-dollar arse.

11 September 2003

In case you missed it, last week was Silvio Week in the increasingly rectal Spectator, a magazine edited by Conservative MP for Henley, Boris Johnson. The hagiography took the form of an extended question and answer session, here.

...and an account of Johnson’s trip to the heart and hearth of Berlusconi's empire in Sardinia, here.

Johnson is joined by Nicholas Farrell, who, funnily enough, is also a great fan of Mussolini. He has a thing about tyrants. In Berlusconi's presence, Farrell turns to jelly. But of course, no, no, no. Berlusconi is no tyrant. And here's the proof. Exhibit A, an excerpt from the above interview. Be warned, you may be moved to tears by the words of the great man. Tissues at the ready:

"We are now confronted by a new world situation... I had the occasion to be president of the G8 in Genoa in 2001, and I was the host of the dinner, trying to bring everyone into the conversation, and I was making jokes as usual. I asked Schröder about his experiences with women because he has been married four times, and I made him laugh. And I decided after a while just to push my chair back from the table and let them talk, and I saw Blair joking with Chirac, and Putin joking with Bush, and I was joking with everyone, and suddenly I thought, 'Look, here I am, a man who has felt on his skin the second world war, since I was born in 1936. I saw my father dressed as a soldier', and I thought, 'What a wonderful world'.''


The article is equally hideous. Uninterested in Berlusconi's culpability for his various crimes, Johnson writes: "We have a broader and higher purpose: that is, to establish whether or not we feel that Sig. Berlusconi is on the whole a force for good in Italy, Europe and the world." A broader and higher purpose? That's the kind of feeble moral one-up-manship used by the Spanish Inquisition, and David Koresh. It just doesn't wash.

So off they go to one of his homes and they go riding with him in his buggy and look at his cactus museum and so on and et cetera. And when it's all over, he concludes... and we'll print it in full because, in light of this week's assassination, it deserves to be mulled over:

"Yes, he may have been involved in questionable business practices; he may even yet be found out and pay the price. For the time being, though, it seems reasonable to let him get on with his programme. He may fail. But then, of course - and this is the point that someone should write in block capitals, fold up and stuff in the mouth of Anna Lindh, Swedish foreign minister - he can be rejected by the Italian people.

She may not like it but he was democratically elected and can be removed by the very people Anna Lindh insults. If we are obliged to compare Silvio Berlusconi with Anna Lindh, and other bossy, high-taxing European politicians, I agree with Farrell: as the narrator says of Jay Gatsby, a man Berlusconi to some extent resembles, he is 'better than the whole damn lot of them'.''

The Spectator. Propaganda has never been so clumsy, heavy-handed and ugly.

The Boris Johnson Fan Club:


The Case Against Berlusconi:


More Nuts:


Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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