On Tuesday (3 April 2022) UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, made a tawdry video-linked dog-of-a-speech to the Kiev parliament (Verkhovna Rada) which BBC Radio 4 News eulogised for its “rhetoric”, likening it to speeches by Winston Churchill. In truth though the product is a poor excuse for a speech and fails miserably to live up to its label. It is totally devoid of substance, fact or authenticity. It is confused, clichéd and poorly-written. In brief it is a childish parody of praise for fascism puffing itself up as democracy.
The speech, as recorded on the UK Government website, has full-stops ending some sentences and not others, commas are frequently missing when they should be there, as though Johnson is attempting to modify the English language in the spirit of Edward Estlin Cummings. For example, this clause:
“And it is precisely because of your valour your courage your sacrifice that Ukrainians now control your own destiny”
hovers between possessive pronouns “your” and “their”, and, to add to the unprovoked attack on grammar, is devoid of commas. To make literary sense it should read:
“And it is precisely because of your valour, your courage and your sacrifice, that you now control your own destiny”.
Seemingly, those with an Etonian education have the same respect towards the English language as the Bullingdon Club has towards private property.
The speech mentions Ukraine’s “finest hour” being reached in pushing back the Russians from Kiev – which of course never happened.
There have been laws penalising owners of dangerous dogs for centuries though it was not enshrined in law until the 1911 Protection of Animals Act which prohibited the “fighting or baiting” of any animal. His metaphor is ill-chosen. It is alarming that Johnson resorts to such terminology as an encouragement to his “dog in the fight” to fight on to the death.
His speech lavishes praise for the false-flag events at Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, which he says were repelled, but fails to mention the more-favoured false-flags of BBC reporting – those at Mariupol – probably because the truth can no longer be hidden that the fascists were behind them – that is the same fascists who are now stuck in Azovstal steel factory catacombs together with – we have to wait and see.
It is an insult to the English literate, with or without a privileged education, for the UK government to publish such a lacklustre item from our Prime Minister’s office. As Russian journalist, Aleksandr Khabarov, points out, Johnson, having failed in domestic policies, is trying to divert attention abroad. He mentions the Downing Street parties, Covid-19, the forthcoming local elections, and Johnson’s waning support. There are only so many places a Prime Minister can fall short.
Thinking back a couple of years, Johnson got everyone clapping the overworked NHS heroes, while hospitals lay empty and waiting-lists grew ever longer. Children painted rainbows in support. Now he seems to be calling for everyone to wear ribbons to match the Ukrainian flags flying from our churches.
“Here in the UK, in my country, you will see Ukrainian flags flying from church spires and in shop windows
You see Ukrainian ribbons on the lapels of people up and down the country”
Most of us may not have seen this yet but we might do soon.
This speech of Boris’s is poor. From me it gets C minus at best, and shows that the prime minister’s heart is not really in it. It is necessary to believe in what you are writing to make the content ring true. This is so sad because, when he puts his mind to it, he can write quite well. Must do better, Boris!
Cover image is a frame from the film “The Riot Club” based on the notorious “The Bullingdon Club” itself to which prime ministers, Boris Johnson and David Cameron both belonged.