STRANGE as it may seem, Boris Johnson and I have one big thing in common.
We were both sacked from The Times newspaper.
I got my P45 for joining the strike by print workers against Rupert Murdoch during the Wapping dispute of 1986.
He got the boot in 1988 for making up quotes while learning to hate the EU as the Brussels correspondent.
There, the resemblance ends. I have not had cause to take industrial action since then, but he is still at it.
Like his hero Donald Trump, our Prime Minister is an inveterate, unrepentant liar.
Or, to quote (accurately, this time) a former French ambassador to Britain, “a congenital liar”.
I didn’t know you could lie with your genitals, but if you can, he will.
He lied to MPs, in Parliament, during Prime Minister’s Questions last week.
Asked by Hull North MP Dame Diana Johnson about the Government’s 40% cut in funding for Transport for the North (TfN), he blithely retorted: “There is no such cut.”
TfN board papers last month revealed the organisation’s core funding would drop from £10million in the current year to £6m in 2021/2022.
PMQs is a well-rehearsed, choreographed event. He must have known he wasn’t telling the truth.
Dame Diana isn’t the kind of politician to let him get away with it. She wrote to Number 10 asking him to put the record straight.
He didn’t reply.
She’s pursuing him in Parliament. It’s not over yet.
Dame Diana tells me: “In all the time I have been an MP, with five different PMs, he is the first one who has so obviously misled the House.
“And when given the opportunity by the media afterwards to come clean, and accept he got it wrong, refuses to do so.
“The evidence is clear. There has been a 40% cut in the budget of TfN.”
This isn’t an earth-shattering issue, so why did the Prime Minister lie?
Because that’s his nature.
He’s built a meteoric political career on bluffing, fibbing and indulging in what his other hero, Winston Churchill, called “terminological inexactitude”. I just thought you ought to know that.
Penguins don’t look very bright, hopping about on the ice. But they are smarter than meerkats. The infuriating furries who star in telly ads got very excited when visitors returned to Chester Zoo after Lockdown One.
They put on a show, displaying “positive interaction” such as playing and grooming in front of people.
Penguins showed no change in behaviour, just got on with an unpleasant life behind bars with punters gawping on. An argument for doing away with these animal prisons, rather than for more research.
At least the American vamp Wallis Simpson kept her mouth shut after stealing our King Edward from his throne. Meghan is determined to stoke her public war with the Royal Family, accusing “The Firm” of a smear campaign. The Queen would be justified in withdrawing her courtesy title of Duchess of Sussex, on which she trades so lucratively in the USA.
Coronavirus is something we’ll have to learn to live with, said Chancellor Sunak yesterday. Right. Something like austerity, job cuts and wage freezes, then. Teetotal Mr Misery is not in the business of cheering us up.