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Boris Johnson may sound like an intellectual (sometimes) but his #Russia2018 #Berlin1936 comments are those of a clown

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 23 March 2018

He gets a tough question and the man sacked as a journalist for making up a quote but who is now our Foreign Secretary replies in Latin with an apposite quote from Tacitus and we are all supposed to think how jolly clever is Boris. But then he says the dumbest of things...

This week he compared the forthcoming World Cup in Russia to the Nazi Berlin Olympics of 1936. 25 million Russians died fighting the Nazis and without the Russian efforts, after they decided to be on the right side, one suspects the second world war might have seen a different results. So many Russians might find BoJo's comments a tad offensive.

But worse is the fact that they are just so wide of the mark. Maybe the only history Bojo studied was 500 AD and before so he is unaware of how the Nazis created a whole new Germany for visitors to the 1936 games with no sign of persecution of the Jews and with Berlin "cleansed" of anyone not showing the bold new Aryan Germany? There is no evidence at all that anything like that is happening in Moscow right now.

Of course all Cities tart themselves up before major sporting events. Even Athens spent money it could not afford to make everyone believe that it was clean, rich and efficient at the time of the 2004 Olympics. And some folks believed what they saw. NJo doubt the Russians will do their own bit of tarting up this summer.

If you call everyone a Nazi the word loses its meaning and you trivialise the suffering of those millions who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. Boris has not called Putin and the Russian leadership Nazis. Even he is not that stupid. But his comparison of the two sporting circuses is clumsy and oafish. it provokes and offends needlessly without making any serious point at all. It is the act of a man who will not be requoting Socrates "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing."

Incidentally the greatest quote from Tacitus is one that no politician would ever repeat for he or she knows just how much of a truism it is in 2018 Airstrip One. 

"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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