It’s a moral outrage - Boris Johnson on Historical child abuse
In a radio interview about police shortages, the man who has held the positions of Foreign Secretary and Mayor of London and who is a credible contender for Prime Minister, said this:
“I think an awful lot of money… has been spaffed up the wall on some investigation into historic child abuse.”
So, let us examine Johnson’s use of language. I am sure that listeners to Nick Ferrari’s LBC programme knew what he meant – police resources being wasted on historic investigations rather than making the streets safer – and many might have agreed with his populist argument. But spaffed? So I am pleased to shed light. It means the act of male ejaculation.
“So not only does he use a highly inappropriate word he is saying investigations are a waste of time!! Tell that to those who have suffered for a lifetime because of these heinous acts!! “ (Cat Mackay)
What Johnson had stopped himself saying was the more common (in every sense) expression, “spunked up the wall”. Most people would have recognised that, and would have been revulsed by such vulgarity, not even taking into account the extremely inappropriate and highly insensitive use of language when discussing child abuse.
No language for The visual imagery, too. I am not easily shocked, but this is beyond the Bafoon baffling of a plumb mouthed Etonian
It is too easy to employ Theresa May’s famous phrase to excuse this infelicity. “Boris is Boris”, she said in 2017. And so we, the British public, are invited to write this off as the unrehearsed ramblings of a lovable eccentric. We live in a world where offence is taken when none is meant, or on others’ behalf. But this is clearly an offensive turn of phrase, whether you have suffered abuse as a child or not, and I can’t imagine, in this climate, many other politicians getting away with it.
The past is now and that is notwithstanding the sentiment. As a Northern Irish politician said about Bloody Sunday, “the past is now”, and certainly for the victims of child abuse, there is nothing historic about these crimes. The effects are clear and present, and for them are as a real as the threat of knife crime or burglary, or whatever police resources are thrown at. The prosecution of those who are accused may not necessarily end in justice, but, on behalf of the victims, there is a justification in pursuing them. And the casual dismissal by a well-known public figure of their cause is an offence in itself. There are many other reasons to feel angry about the way we are being led by our politicians at the moment, but we shouldn’t let this one escape our attention. Johnson should effectively have his licence to appear in public revoked for this deeply offensive, vulgar, morally repugnant intervention.