BORIS Johnson is making a big speech today – all Valentine’s hearts and flowers for Brexit.
Maybe it’s just me, but the thought of Boris Johnson backing something or other never exactly fills me with confidence. Cynical, I know, but every time he opens his mouth, I worry that lies will come tumbling out.
According to the trailers – spoiler alert: Boris thinks Brexit is great – today’s speech will attempt to reassure Remain voters by setting out the liberal case for Brexit. He will also say that the 17.4 million people who voted Leave face a disastrous betrayal if the referendum vote were overturned – “we cannot and will not let it happen”.
Ah, yes, cake and eat it time again. Having baked sweet goodies and gobbling them down is Boris’s favourite pastime. It looks like his latest Brexit speech will set out to do two things – no, make that three things: reassure Remain voters; reassure Leavers voters; and push his own agenda (the subtext to a Boris speech is always, ‘What’s in it for Boris?’ And the answer to that question today is connected to subtly undermining Theresa May and putting himself in the limelight again).
Anyway, in the name of balance, here is a contrary view from an ardent pro-Europe type. The writer of these words will be revealed in a moment…
“This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?”
And what ardent pro-European wrote those wise words? Boris Johnson, of course. Eighteen months ago, the Sunday Times discovered that Boris had written two columns for the Daily Telegraph: one in favour of Brexit, the other against.
When confronted on Sky News about his two-faced views, Johnson did a typical bit of bluff and bluster, saying that he was “making the alternative case” for himself by writing “a sort of semi-parodic article in the opposite sense”.
He blamed the appearance in the Sunday Times of the previously unpublished anti-Brexit article on the fact that he thought “he might have sent it to a friend”. Some friend, eh?
Will Boris speak the truth today? Oh, you decide. It’s an either-or thing. But I’d be tempted to tick the box marked: “His mouth is moving so it’s probably a lie.”
Perhaps they should get the Foreign Secretary as a guest on the entertaining BBC1 panel show, Would I Lie To You? The trouble is, with Boris Johnson the answer to the question at the heart of the show is nearly always, ‘yes’.
As for the bigger Brexit picture, Boris’s speech is said to be the first from various Cabinet ministers laying out the “Road to Brexit”. Spoiler alert number two: I’m sure that one’s a repeat.