24 November 2005
Boris Johnson, official secrets & yet another government memo
When I knew him some people were still calling him Alex, if memory serves me right, but to most of us he was Boris. Where the nickname came from I have no idea, but it seems to have stuck to him. He was an old Etonian who went up to Baliol and he could drink the gang of miners, factory workers and a certain cinema projectionist that made up the junior common room at Ruskin College, Oxford, into the ground. We liked him, and we helped get him elected to the presidency of the Oxford Union. Boris Johnson may have been a toff, but in a strange sort of way he was one of us.
I have sought of followed his career over the decades, but I haven't spoken to the man in over 25 years. He is now a Tory MP and the editor of The Spectator. He has also just published what is probably the most defiant call that any journalist has penned in recent memory.
On Monday The Daily Mirror broke the story that the Chimp had planned to bomb the al-Jazeera television station in Doha, the capital of Qatar. He was talked out of this by Tony Blair and a five page memorandum exists of that conversation.
This memo was leaked to a certain Tony Clarke, who was then the NewLab MP for Northampton until the recent election. For some reason this fool gave the document back to the government, and the only good thing that I can say about Tony Clarke is that he is now the ex-MP for Northampton, as he lost his seat back in May. The point is that the story was out. . .
It looks as if The Daily Mirror has managed to get hold of a copy of the actual memorandum, because Tiny Tony has threatened them with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if they publish further details from it. The Daily Mirror has backed down and agreed not to say any more.
This is where Boris Johnson comes in. For Boris has just announce that if anyone will send him the memo, he will publish it in full in The Spectator, and the Blairites can prosecute away.
He could end up doing some bird for this. He knows it, but he thinks that it is worth it. What can we humble British bloggers do to support this stand? I suggest that we post the memorandum on our sites if and when it sees the light of day. The more people who publish it, the less chance there is that anyone will end up as a guest of Her Majesty.
I feel utterly ashamed that it is a Tory MP that has taken this stand. I repeat what I posted earlier: I want my party back!
Update at 2.30am: This article gives more details about the attitude that the Chimp had towards al-Jazeera. The Battle of Fallujah was taking place and the station was running footage of the slaughter.