Boris Johnson's F-Word Rant

By Londonist Last edited 111 months ago
Boris Johnson's F-Word Rant

Photo by Simon-K
Mayor Boris Johnson gave Gordon Ramsey a run for his money in the sweary stakes yesterday after it was alleged that he used the f-word 10 times in a rant against MP Keith Vaz.

The tirade came during a telephone conversation after Vaz told the BBC that Johnson appeared "uncooperative and confused" during a committee hearing into the arrest of a Tory MP. One committee member said it appeared that the Mayor had fallen out of bed 10 minutes before (presumably not a reference to his famously tousled mop of hair).

Johnson maintains that he actually only swore once or twice, though the transcript of the conversation which was circulated to committee members clocks up the swear total at 10. The Mayor has also stated he believed the call to be private and criticised Vaz's involvement of the media as "unfortunate".

Satirists have been quick to leap into the fray and with such appealing subject matter, who can blame them? Dave Hill's London Blog links to a Daily Mash article in which Johnson supposedly unveils a foul-mouthed new Olympic slogan and Tory Troll lampoons Johnson's recycling efforts, with comedy swearing liberally applied. The Boris Johnson quote generator has even been updated to include swearing.

The Times has helpfully published the transcript so we can judge the sweary Mayor's efforts for ourselves, while the Metro contented themselves with gleefully repeating parts of the conversation with the rude bits asterisked out. The Independent didn't shy away from printing the complete Anglo-Saxon words in all their glory but the Guardian and the BBC took a more reserved stance.

A spokesperson for the Mayor has denied claims that a charity swear box is shortly to be installed in Johnson's office.

By Beth Torr

Last Updated 13 February 2009


This is all quite amusing, especially the swear box idea!

Giggles aside, though, the fact that Boris swore a bit in a private conversation, especially one in which he was a bit cheesed off, isn't really big news. Or at least it shouldn't be. God knows I swear all the time in private (and often in public) - do we really expect politicians to behave differently during a private conversation? I hope not.

I think the bigger news story here is the clear illustration of what a shamefully disreputable man Keith Vaz is.

Firstly, he blatantly ran blabbing to the press to try to get as much mileage as possible out of Boris's lack of preparedness for the earlier meeting. The transcript in the Times actually shows how blatant Vaz's earlier smear was.

Secondly, and I suppose you have to admire the man's lack of shame here, when Boris phones him up to complain about the earlier smear, he records the conversation and then leaks it to the press, trying to make some issue out of the swearing! The guy is clearly a class act.


What's perhaps even more interesting about this whole thing is that it seems to mark a definite shift in the Evening Standard's editorial policy towards Boris. New owner = starting to put the boot in? This isn't my original thought - prompted by Darryl @ 853 - and I think it's fairly plausible.