Seen the roasting given to Mayor of London Boris Johnson by BBC journalist Eddie Mair? It’s definitely worth a watch!
Mair’s questioning of Boris reminded me of the late great Bruce Lee’s famous, one-inch punch. It didn't look much at the time, but the effect was devastating. Mair was questioning Boris as a trailer for the BBC 2 programme: “Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise”, to be aired at 9pm tonight.
Boris normally, the consummate media operator, slick funny irreverent was reduced to a bumbling wreck.
He was asked a series of questions relating to his integrity as a potential British Prime Minister.
The first question was about Johnson being sacked as a trainee reporter for The Times for making up a quote from his own godfather, Colin Lucas.
Clearly shaken, Boris ummmed and ahhhed, so Mair moved on and asked about the fact that when, he was Tory leader; Michael Howard had asked Johnson if he was having an affair. He denied it. However it later transpired he was lying and Howard sacked him. “Why did you lie?” pressed Mair. Boris looked ashen and could not respond.
Next was a question relating to the now famous telephone conversation Johnson had in 1990 with his buddy Darius Guppy. He asked Boris to supply him the address of a fellow journalist, so he could dispatch some goons to go and beat him up.
As Boris flustered, Mair bludgeoned him further, "You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?"
Mair’s final hammer blow came in the form of a statement rather than a question, “even your friend Conrad Black, a convicted fraudster, says he doesn't trust you completely.”
This morning on LBC radio Johnson’s father, in a nice paternal touch, came out swinging in an attempt to defend his beloved son.
“I thought Eddie Mair's interview was about the most disgusting piece of journalism I've listened to for a very long time,” Mr Johnson said. “The BBC sank about as low as it could.
He then went on, in a statement of simply breathtaking hypocrisy, to add,
“If grilling people about their private lives, accusing them of guilt by association and openly abusing them is a legitimate interview, then frankly, I don't know where we are coming.”
Chutzpah indeed, particularly when one recalls the campaign run by the Evening Standard during the Mayor of London elections of 2008 led by the then editor Veronica Wadley and Andrew Gilligan, of which I was the principal victim.
Smear, innuendo, massive intrusions into my own private life were all characteristics of that campaign orchestrated by Boris’s campaign manager Lynton Crosby (now running Cameron’s 2015 election team).
Of course despite an intensive and grossly intrusive five-month onslaught, I was eventually completely exonerated of the 143 specific charges leveled against me by Gilligan and Wadley. As you can imagine the personal cost to my family, and me has been immense.
So it was with a wry smile that I saw these events unfold over the weekend. It was the late Rev Martin Luther King who said,
“The moral arch of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
As an additional slice of irony, the guardians of the sacrosanct right of the “freedom of the press” are today, denouncing the Mair Johnson interview as unfair.
This is laughable almost surreal.
Boris should know by now, that there is an immutable law of karma in politics as there is in life, what goes around, comes around baby.
NB: Both Veronica Wadley and Andrew Gilligan are today employed by Boris Johnson.