BUMPTIOUS Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has once again shown that he only opens his mouth to change feet by inadvertently exposing the shameful relationship between Britain and Saudi Arabia.
Ironically his latest gaffe, at an international conference in Rome, was caused by the most unlikely of occurrences — him actually telling the truth.
Something of a novel departure for the Cabinet’s clown in chief and not one he will be likely to repeat, one would imagine.
It also explains why the civil servants at the Foreign Office rushed to deny everything. You can’t go around telling the truth if you’re in government for God’s sake.
You see Johnson used his conference address to lament politicians “twisting and abusing religion” to further their political aims before (accurately) accusing that Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular of “puppeteering” and “playing proxy wars” in the Middle East.
Something of a bold gambit for a British Foreign Secretary. I mean we practically invented the concept and have been gleefully employing it for centuries. Not least in the Middle East.
His comments must have gone down like a lead balloon at No 10 emerging as they did at almost the precise moment Prime Minister Theresa May arrived back from a visit to the Gulf where she had been wined and dined by the leaders of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and, er, Saudi Arabia.
A shindig where she had just assured the Saudi ruler King Salman of “her commitment and that of her government to enhancing and strengthening this relationship.”
May’s official spokeswoman told reporters that Johnson’s comments “were his own
personal view and did not reflect government policy.”
No, government policy is to flog weapons of mass destruction to any despotic regime with enough cash, oil and disregard for human rights to want to buy them.
The blatant hypocrisy was succinctly summed up by Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade, who said: “Boris Johnson’s comments are a clear contrast from his public position, which has been to consistently praise the Saudi regime, despite it being one of the most abusive dictatorships in the world.
“If he believes them to be puppeteers for proxy wars, then why is he continuing to arm and support them?”
Probably because even Boris doesn’t believe a word he says and is probably mildly surprised if anyone else does.