What is Boris Johnson’s Scotland problem?

He endorsed a poem saying Scots should be exterminated, and that's just the start of it.

Boris Johnson has a Scotland problem.

It dates back to 2004 when in his position as editor at The Spectator he chose to publish a poem calling for the “extermination” of the “verminous Scottish race” written by James Michie.

Michie, who was at the time a staff writer on The Spectator, supposedly wrote “Friendly Fire” in jest, but saying Scots are “polluting our stock” is … not exactly a joke. 

And the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland agreed, with then-director Maureen Fraser describing the poem as “very offensive” and “deeply inflammatory”. 

“It does nothing to promote race relations and undermines relations between Scotland and the rest of Britain, and our relationship with other countries,” Fraser said. 

Johnson’s problem is rooted in much more than past mistakes.

According to YouGov, nearly three-quarters of Scottish people think Johnson is incompetent – and it doesn’t stop there.

65 percent of people in Scotland think Boris Johnson will make a “poor” or “terrible” Prime Minister. 71 percent think the new PM is untrustworthy. 

  • A quarter of Scots would liken BoJo to a snake
  • 71 percent of people in Scotland think that Boris Johnson is “Britain’s Trump”
  • 68 percent don’t trust him with the NHS
  • 64 percent don’t trust him on the economy
  • 71 percent think Boris Johnson is untrustworthy.
  • 62 percent think he’s putting on an act.
  • 76 percent say he’s out of touch.
  • By 2 to 1 people think he’s racist.

The numbers don’t look great for poor old BoJo, and they’ve even curbed a cabinet meeting that was set to take place in Glasgow on Monday. 

Moreover, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has said that a second Scottish independence referendum may be the only option for the country unless Johnson “changes course” on Brexit.

In her letter congratulating him on his new position, Sturgeon warned that Scotland must have an “alternative option” to leaving the EU without an exit deal, which she said would cause “lasting harm”. 

We all knew that the incoming PM would have a lot on his plate in the lead up to October 31st, but we can’t imagine he wants to have the break-up of the United Kingdom written into his legacy.

Meka Beresford is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter

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18 Responses to “What is Boris Johnson’s Scotland problem?”

  1. Patrick Newman

    Ruth Davidson can’t be too pleased about Johnson becoming Prime Minister and positively horrified at his heavy anti-EU rhetoric. There are 13 Tory M.P’s – more than the DUP. They will be under pressure to oppose a hard Brexit fearing a Scottish backlash against Johnson and by association the Tory Party in Scotland!

  2. steven penn

    I look forward to the new Prime Minister taking a casual walk along Sauchiehall Street engaging with the locals.

  3. Dave Edd

    Not half as bad as Corbyn paying his respects at a memorial to Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

    Or meeting and supporting IRA terrorist murderers.

    Or claiming Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists as his friends.

  4. Chester Draws

    Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has said that a second Scottish independence referendum may be the only option for the country unless …

    Hardly relevant. Sturgeon’s response to everything is Scottish independence.

    And there is almost nothing that any Tory can do that she will agree with. If Johnson was to propose separating Scotland from the UK, Sturgeon would complain that it was being done the wrong way

  5. Will Cotton

    And what about Corbyn & Labour’s anti-semitism problem?

  6. Julia Gibb

    You still don’t get it do you?

    Labour and the LibDems are every bit as bad as the Tories. Do you think Scots have forgotten “Better Together?”
    That Labour and the LibDems will oppose another vote on Independence given the significant change delivered by Brexit (Scots voted 62 percent remain)
    Labour / LibDems work together with the Tories at council level whenever they can to stop the biggest Party (SNP) ruling.

    Scotland elected 3 of the 6 MEPs in the EU from the ranks of the SNP (one a French citizen)

    The Red and Yellow Tories are just as vile as the Blue version in Scotland. We would not current have a Tory Government but for the then Leader of Scottish Labour (Dugdale). She URGED Labour voters to vote Tory to stop the SNP. This delivered 13 MPs to prop up a Tory Government.

    Does no one ever ask why Labour went from 50+ MPs to 1 at one stage. That one spent his time in a Union Flag suit to win Tory votes in his Edinburgh seat.

    Articles trying to suggest the Tories don’t get Scotland are only accurate if you include the Red Tories.

    Think – most SNP voters were once Labour voters – the Party left them.

  7. Julia Gibb

    Chester Draws

    Sigh! Once again. Only TWO countries signed the Act of Union in 1707. Scotland and England – if one leaves the UK ends. Ireland and Wales came under England (conquered)
    In 1603 England accepted the King of Scotland as their King ( Union of the Crowns)
    1706/1707 both the parliaments of Scotland AND England were closed and a new Parliament of the Union was formed.
    Britain is an Island ( Great because it is the biggest in the group of islands)
    The Union was between Scotland and England
    The U.K. was Great Bitain (Island) and Northern Ireland refer 1922 Irish Independence). 6 of the 9 counties of Ulster became part of the UK..

    If only people read History instead of propaganda!

  8. Alasdair Macdonald

    Well said, Julia Gibb, in both comments. (pedantic point ‘King of Scots’, not ‘of Scotland’.

    It is illuminating that apart from Mr Alister Jack’s appointment to the reverted title of Secretary of State for Scotland, not one of the other 12 Conservative MPs elected to Scottish constituencies has been given a government appointment. Mr Jack’s deputy is Mr Nigel Walker, MP for Worcester, with no connections to Scotland (as far as I know), who is also appointed to the Northern Ireland Office.

    Clearly the overrated (and this site did as much drooling as the other smugly self-proclaimed ‘progressive’ media) Ms Ruth Davidson crossed Mr Johnson on too many occasions over the past 3/4 years to be forgiven. Since the Scottish Conservative MPs were elected with literature which proclaimed them RUTH DAVIDSON”S candidates, then most are deemed beyond redemption by the Johnsonites. They all represent constituencies which had clear REMAIN majorities in 2016, although most play that down or ,indeed, ignore it.

  9. Julia Gibb

    Alisdair McDonald

    Thank you for the correction and it is far from pedantic. It is another important point.
    In Scotland the people are sovereign. In England it is the Monarch.
    Many points of procedure often get this wrong and only quote the English interpretation.

  10. Tom Sacold

    I see that the nasty fascistic nationalists have been let out again.

  11. Alasdair Macdonald

    Mr Sacold,

    I assume that you are looking at yourself in a mirror.

  12. Julia Gibb

    What Labour promise in Scotland and what they deliver when in Power (Wales)

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/standard-wales-check-2/comment-page-1/#comment-2476205

  13. Julia Gibb

    Out of curiosity does anyone consider the Irish, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders etc to be nasty fascistic nationalists?
    I thought not.
    Nor the other hundred nations that left the Empire.

  14. Alasdair Macdonald

    … and, Julia, does anyone who claims to be British, ever pause to consider that the exceptionalist views which some, with self unawareness, could be nasty, fascisitic nationalism?

  15. Bill McLearns

    Boris is a wanker.

  16. Bill

    Not quite sure about Mr johnson’s personal habits are, but i care even less . Its his ( and the rest of the right wing rabble in his cabinet ) hold on the English public that i don’t understand. Its either sheer ignorance of anything outside their forelock tugging bubble or their entrenched historical zenophobia .

  17. Bob

    Didn’t Adolf Hitler talk about exterminating a race and didn’t he too look for a [final] solution? Had this been written by anyone else, they would possibly have faced charges of inciting racial hatred. Because it is the English Prime Minister, it is of course perfectly acceptable apparently.

  18. Bob

    Correction. I should have said endorsed, not written as it was not Boris who wrote it. He simply endorsed it.

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