Thursday, 30 June 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: Bashing Boris: What fellow journalists think of the man who wanted to be PM plus a bit of gloating from the Daily Mail

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian on Boris Johnson:  "What’s plain is that Boris Johnson and the rest never had a plan. It was derelict of the media – broadcasters in particular – not to force the leavers to define what leaving meant. Instead they got away with airy generalities, hiding multiple contradictions and dishonesties...He had no plan because he never thought Brexit would win: it was a jolly jape to nearly win and tickle Tory party members into electing him. They probably will and now this sociopath with no concern for country, economy or citizens will be our prime minister."

Tina Brown on Boris Johnson on the DailyBeast: "Johnson’s fake disarray—his bonhomous tanker of beer and Falstaffian spilling gut, his genial, jokey façade concealing a deeply opportunistic nature—allowed him alliances with such odious figures as UKIP’s xenophobic leader Nigel Farage, whose rat poison salesman persona would never have won Brexit without the fig leaf of Boris’s charm. His other powerful alliance was with the Voldemort of Middle England, Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail—with whom, I am told, Boris was closeted on June 9th over lunch in a private room at Marks club, in a conversation so confidential in content they put a chair in front of the door."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The media do not damn themselves, so I am speaking out of turn when I say that if you think rule by professional politicians is bad wait until journalist politicians take over. Johnson and Gove are the worst journalist politicians you can imagine: pundits who have prospered by treating public life as a game."

Martin Wolf in the Financial Times: "David Cameron took a huge gamble and lost. The fearmongering and outright lies of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, The Sun and the Daily Mail have won. The UK, Europe, the west and the world are damaged. The UK is diminished and seems likely soon to be divided. Europe has lost its second-biggest and most outward-looking power. The hinge between the EU and the English-speaking powers has been snapped. This is probably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war."

Rachel Sylvester in The Times [£]: "Mr Johnson is undeniably a rock star politician with the charisma to put a smile on voters’ faces. For his most audacious act yet, he wants to morph from showman to statesman, as a valiant Henry V. The danger for him is that as reality hits and he is forced to make difficult choices, Boris the Buffoon, who turned himself into Boris the Brave Brexiteer, may find that many Leave voters begin to see him as Boris the Betrayer."

Rafael Behr in the Guardian on Boris Johnson: "There is nothing cuddly about voracity for power, allergy to responsibility and infidelity to any cause besides personal advancement. Yet that is the constellation of traits that forms the former London mayor’s character, exerting such narcissistic gravity that no passing truth escapes unbent."

Jenni Russell in The Times [£]: "His gravest flaw is that even he doesn’t know what he stands for, as we saw this week. A former aide says he changes position constantly because his focus is always on pleasing the audience of the moment, whether it’s billionaire property developers, campaigners for affordable housing or Eurosceptics who might make him PM. Boris could get away with this as a figurehead mayor. But now all our futures may depend on this evasive, crowd-pleasing clown. To govern is to choose, a responsibility he is psychologically and practically unfitted to bear. The Tory party will be fools if they now choose him to govern."

Old quote of the week

Max Hastings in the Daily Mail in October 2012: "If the day ever comes that Boris Johnson becomes tenant of Downing Street, I shall be among those packing my bags for a new life in Buenos Aires or suchlike, because it means that Britain has abandoned its last pretensions to be a serious country... He is not a man to believe in, to trust or respect save as a superlative exhibitionist. He is bereft of judgment, loyalty and discretion. Only in the star-crazed, frivolous Britain of the 21st century could such a man have risen so high, and he is utterly unfit to go higher still."

Mail columnist Sarah Vine in an email to her husband Michael Gove, leaked to Sky News: "One simple message you MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage. Crucially the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre / Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris / Gove ticket."

Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdochon Twitter: "Congratulations Michael Gove. Friends always knew his principles would overcome his personal friendships."

Sun editor Tony Gallagher to the Guardian after the Brexit victory: “So much for the waning power of the print media.”

Daily Mail in a leader: "As for those of our readers who decided to vote Remain, judging that the dangers of Brexit were too great, this paper has enormous respect for their conscientious concern for our country. But we firmly trust and believe that their fears will prove unfounded."

Peter Preston in the Observer"It wasn’t the baleful ogres of newspaper proprietorship that swung this vote. Lord Rothermere prefers the Mail on Sunday Remainers to the manic Leavers in the next office. Rupert Murdoch didn’t have tell Tony Gallagher which way to swing: the Sun’s editor did what came naturally to him. No: the foundations of this leaving have been laid for 40 years in a persistent reluctance to report what the EU is all about – a failure to explain."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail:  "This is not a time for gloating, but what the hell. To paraphrase that manic Norwegian football commentator: Call Me Dave, Boy George, Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker, Up Yours Delors, Barack Obama, Mark Carney, Goldman Sachs, Polly Toynbee, J.K. Rowling, Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock . . . your boys took one hell of a beating!"


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