/ Boris and Sirte

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
krikoman - on 04 Oct 2017
Blimey, WTF!?!?

Is this what we should expect for our Foreign Minister?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41490174

"They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai.
The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away," he said, before laughing.
4
drunken monkey - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Maybe he could help clear the bodies away then?

An absolute fud of the highest order - and that's some going by Tory standards
5
john arran - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

He's not winning so far in his attempts to get fired. Trying hard though.
2
Trevers - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

As I've said numerous times, he truly is a piece of shit.
6
GrahamD - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Trevers:

I'd be surprised if anyone with any integrity would want his job right now.
Trevers - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to john arran:

> He's not winning so far in his attempts to get fired. Trying hard though.

I don't understand why she doesn't just move him to a less senior position in the cabinet. That way he doesn't get what he wants and can't be a martyr, but also we don't have this child embarrassing us internationally on a daily basis?

The other option might be to put out a hit on him.
2
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

OK, so it's a somewhat flamboyant use of language, but what actually is wrong with it? Is it wrong to say that economic development in Libya is being held back by all the fighting?
26
Nevis-the-cat - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

To be a Foreign Secretary you need to fully understand the impact of what you say and the subtleties of international diplomacy

Much as a Phd candidate should know the difference between a theory and a hypothesis I suppose.
7
Robert Durran - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so it's a somewhat flamboyant use of language, but what actually is wrong with it? Is it wrong to say that economic development in Libya is being held back by all the fighting?

Yes, on this occasion I would be generous to Boris. All he seemed to be saying is "stop killing each other and you could have peace and prosperity" which is a good message for any part of the world plagued by war or terror.

I think that people have got to the point where they are just looking to criticise anything he says. But that is not to say that his behaviour has not sometimes been unforgivable

MG - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so it's a somewhat flamboyant use of language, but what actually is wrong with it?

The tone, language, and casual dismissal of those who have died. The effect on the UK's diplomatic reputation etc.
4
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Nevis-the-cat:

> Much as a Phd candidate should know the difference between a theory and a hypothesis I suppose.

No-one in science ever cares about the difference between a theory and a hypothesis, and I would not make any issue of it in a PhD viva.
1
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to MG:

> The tone, language, and casual dismissal of those who have died.

Why is it a casual dismissal of those who have died? It's flippant wording about a serious subject, yes, but British humour is often like that.
8
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> How many scientists do you know?

Hmm, not sure, but it would be getting up to four figures.
Trevers - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Hmm, not sure, but it would be getting up to four figures.

You caught me before I deleted my comment - I forgot you are one!

How often do such questions tend to come up in vivas? I'd have thought it would be regarded as fairly important for students to understand the context of their work.
Post edited at 17:29
3
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> How often do such questions tend to come up in vivas? I'd have thought it would be regarded as fairly important for students to understand the context of their work.

Yes, they should understand the context of their work, but the issue of "theory" versus "hypothesis" is mere labelling and semantics and I have never found scientists making an issue of it (it's only non-scientists who think the distinction is important).

[I once wrote a blog post on that: https://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/once-more-on-theory-and-law-in-science/ ]
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Here's a bit more context of Boris's sentence:

"Incredible place. It's got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech. There's a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed as some of you may have seen. They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away".

Context: "The coastal city of Sirte is the former stronghold of so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, and recently the scene of fierce fighting".

Thus, overall message, Libya has real potential if it could only return to peace (but stated in Boris's usual Boris-like way).

7
elsewhere on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why is it a casual dismissal of those who have died? It's flippant wording about a serious subject, yes, but British humour is often like that.

A Foreign Secretary's intended audience are...

... Foreign. They're not British.

We (or some) would be pretty pissed off if the French/German/US/etc Foreign Ministers were joking about Hillsborough/Aberfan/Dunblane and strangely enough other Foreign Ministers don't have a problem using better judgement to avoid unnecessary offence. In fact, they're diplomatic.
5
elsewhere on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Thus, overall message, Libya has real potential if it could only return to peace (but stated in Boris's usual Boris-like way).

So the overall message is lost in Boris's usual Boris-like way. That's not competent diplomacy.

5
David Riley - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity for statements made in the course of legislative duties.
Nowadays it seems like protection is required from the court of the media as well.
It's got crazy. Politicians are under constant attack by journalists and interviewers, with nothing to lose themselves, trying to provoke or pick out a phrase, claim it's important, and repeat it endlessly. News reporting has just become silly and shallow, parroting messages that play well to their audiences.
1
captain paranoia - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> News reporting has just become silly and shallow

Actually, I think it's just Foreign Ministers who have become silly and shallow.

Who, in a public context, is going to laugh about needing to clear up dead bodies?

Oh yes; Boris.
3
captain paranoia - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"There's a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast"

Now, where have I heard that sort of talk before? Oh, yes:

"Africa has tremendous business potential," Donald Trump said.

"I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money."
3
Trevers - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

At risk of going rather off topic...

I'll read your blog post later, it looks interesting.

I suppose it's a bigger issue for the lay public because they often tend to engage with science that has political context (e.g. climate science, evolutionary theory). In that context issues of scientific truth get exaggerated, especially as it may not be easy for the non-scientist to engage with the content and methods itself.

For scientists, it's obviously not something that matters while going about our day to day business. However, as with questions over uncertainty, it's not something that can be dismissed altogether (although clearly presenting an analysis of uncertainty is a much more pressing issue). In my MScR viva I chose my words very carefully when it came to justifying my work. I think I would have got rightly roasted if I'd presented it as a new theory.
2
David Riley - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

I understood Boris went to Sirte to support the British Army risking their lives clearing up booby trapped dead bodies. He would, and should, want to emphasize that.
2
FactorXXX - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Here's a bit more context of Boris's sentence

Further context:

But Mr Johnson hit back, tweeting: "Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte.
"The reality there is that the clearing of corpses of Daesh fighters has been made much more difficult by IEDs and booby traps.
"That's why Britain is playing a key role in reconstruction and why I have visited Libya twice this year in support."
MG - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

It's not the message but the language and tone.
4
MG - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why is it a casual dismissal of those who have died?

"Cleared away the bodies"!!?
4
sg - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Here's a bit more context of Boris's sentence

> Further context:

Sorry but stop trying to justify it. Of course it's a good thing if British troops are helping clear up the mess. But that's not the point here. That he said it and laughed is not in dispute. He's an embarrassment of a Foreign Secretary because he can't be bothered to do what he's supposed to do and be diplomatic. Or rather, I suspect, he says or does these things wilfully because he thinks it's funny, or he thinks his chums or some nasty-minded part of the electorate who he's still hoping to appeal to will think it's funny. All of which just goes to show what a nasty piece of work he is.

6
FactorXXX - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to MG:

It's not the message but the language and tone.

For speaking literally and factually?
I thought that was the new brand of politics as endorsed by Corbyn...
7
Yanis Nayu - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Here's a bit more context of Boris's sentence:

> "Incredible place. It's got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech. There's a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed as some of you may have seen. They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away".

> Context: "The coastal city of Sirte is the former stronghold of so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, and recently the scene of fierce fighting".

> Thus, overall message, Libya has real potential if it could only return to peace (but stated in Boris's usual Boris-like way).

You missed out the bit where he laughed at the end. Class.
2
MG - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

You can deliver things factually and directly without being grossly distasteful and insensitive.
3
elsewhere on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:
> Here's a bit more context of Boris's sentence

> Further context:

> But Mr Johnson hit back, tweeting: "Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte.

> "The reality there is that the clearing of corpses of Daesh fighters has been made much more difficult by IEDs and booby traps.

> "That's why Britain is playing a key role in reconstruction and why I have visited Libya twice this year in support."

Pity he didn't make that the message of what he said. Perhaps Boris preferred to make Boris the story.
Post edited at 20:21
2
Yanis Nayu - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

Johnson accusing others of playing politics!!! Hypocritical shameless wanker!
3
alastairmac - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Eddie Mair on PM this evening "Do you really want Bernard Manning as Foreign Secretary?". Sad but true.
2
sg - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to alastairmac:
> Eddie Mair on PM this evening "Do you really want Bernard Manning as Foreign Secretary?". Sad but true.

And Amber didn't really have a response. They all know what a shipwreck their party is at the moment with a foul oaf as Foreign Secretary openly goading an utterly hapless and broken PM and none of them able to do anything about it while the rest of us have to put up with it. I'm beginning to feel how the US democrats must have felt when Trump actually won.
Post edited at 21:40
4
jess13 - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> At risk of going rather off topic...

> I'll read your blog post later, it looks interesting.

> I suppose it's a bigger issue for the lay public because they often tend to engage with science that has political context (e.g. climate science, evolutionary theory). In that context issues of scientific truth get exaggerated, especially as it may not be easy for the non-scientist to engage with the content and methods itself.

> For scientists, it's obviously not something that matters while going about our day to day business. However, as with questions over uncertainty, it's not something that can be dismissed altogether (although clearly presenting an analysis of uncertainty is a much more pressing issue). In my MScR viva I chose my words very carefully when it came to justifying my work. I think I would have got rightly roasted if I'd presented it as a new theory.

Ah Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle: You know how fast your question is going but you cant pinpoint where it is or vice versa.

Confused ...so am I. Sorry I couldn't resist.
FactorXXX - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to sg:

That he said it and laughed is not in dispute.

Here's the video of it:

https://twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/915295999140204544

I don't actually think it's him laughing.
Rob Exile Ward on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If he was referring to the raped, tortured and mutilated body of a child of yours, still rotting in the street because their corpse had been booby trapped, would you be quite so casual?
1
elliott92 - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to sg:

For everything Boris is, I don't know how he can be labelled a nasty piece of work.
8
Robert Durran - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to elsewhere:
> Pity he didn't make that the message of what he said. Perhaps Boris preferred to make Boris the story.

Well, if that is what he said, then that is the message. It is others who have made Boris the story. And, for what it's worth, where is the evidence that he laughed - certainly not in that clip above.
Post edited at 22:17
elsewhere on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:
> It is others who have made Boris the story.

A mere victim then. Not good for a Foreign Secretary.
Post edited at 22:43
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> If he was referring to the raped, tortured and mutilated body of a child of yours, still rotting in the street because their corpse had been booby trapped, would you be quite so casual?

If I were in that situation I'd have a lot more to be unhappy about than Boris's style.
9
sg - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to elliott92:

> For everything Boris is, I don't know how he can be labelled a nasty piece of work.

See Eddie Mair interview on Andrew Marr, among other compelling pieces of evidence.

And whether he laughed or not, I'd be fairly confident he played it for laughs. Frankly the whole angle if that little speech is slightly dubious anyway.

He's indefensible, end of.
2
stevieb - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

My 11 year old son would realise that what boris said, and the way it was worded, was insensitive and callous. Boris was fully aware that it was insensitive and callous but he went ahead and said it to appeal to his audience. Totally the opposite of diplomacy from Britain's premier diplomat. He wouldn't have said similar about Las Vegas or Manchester, but who cares, its only Libya.
1
Trevers - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> The foreign secretary was criticised by leading Libyan politicians after the remarks were swiftly reported on local websites and social media. Speaking to the Libyan Herald, Salah Shubi, a member of the country’s House of Representatives, said: “It is cruel and unacceptable that the head of British diplomacy speaks and behaves in such a manner.”

> Shubi, who is regarded as an ally of the UK because he previously worked at the British Council, asked: “Is this a reflection of the British government’s current views on Libya? Because this is not the UK that I know.”

> He added: “Keeping Boris Johnson or sacking him will be the difference between seeking ties and investments in Libya that are built through mutually beneficial partnerships and respectful friendship with Libyans – or built on ‘their dead bodies’ if Boris gets his way!”

> Oliver Miles, a former UK ambassador to Libya and deputy chair of the Libyan British Business Council, told the Middle East Eye that Johnson’s remarks were another example of his “inability to keep his mouth shut”.

> Miles said: “We have already seen reaction in Libya suggesting that these dead bodies are people who had fought Islamic State and they deserve to be honoured. And it’s exaggerated to say there are lots and lots of companies ready to pour in to Libya. It was silly thing to say. Loose lips in diplomacy don’t pay. We are some way from major UK firms investing in Libya.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/04/no-10-rebukes-boris-johnson-over-sirte-dead-bodies-...
Nevis-the-cat - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No-one in science ever cares about the difference between a theory and a hypothesis, and I would not make any issue of it in a PhD viva.

Thanks for clearing that up, but the point remains - if you're going to be the foreign Secretary, you need to have a fundamental understanding of international diplomacy.
birdie num num - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

In general, we are now so far down the PC road that saying anything outrageous or ironic, that might pluck at the truth will have you pilloried.
These days, they even want Mark Twain’s head on a spike.
There are some blinkered viewpoints about other’s viewpoints.
8
krikoman - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so it's a somewhat flamboyant use of language, but what actually is wrong with it? Is it wrong to say that economic development in Libya is being held back by all the fighting?

It's not flamboyant, it's flippant and uncaring, which is fine for down the pub with you mates, or even on UKC as a bit of "fun", but he's the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain and he should curb his "flamboyant" language and represent Britain as we should be with respect and some humility.
3
MG - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> If I were in that situation I'd have a lot more to be unhappy about than Boris's style.

Well I see the Libyan authorities have complained about his speech. So rather than the business opportunities that might have resulted from a similar but carefully delivered message, he has antagonised the government there. Brilliant work by a Foreign Secretary.
Post edited at 20:00
1
Bogwalloper - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to MG:

> Well I see the Libyan authorities have complained about his speech.

They're just jumping on the bandwaggon like everyone else.

W

2
Pete Pozman - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so it's a somewhat flamboyant use of language, but what actually is wrong with it? Is it wrong to say that economic development in Libya is being held back by all the fighting?

Nothing wrong with saying that.
sg - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Pete Pozman:

Some of you people just don't get it. This situation is not about the language per se (distasteful though it is), it's about the fact that he's the Foreign Secretary. None of the diplomats around him have been happy about such utterances (AFAIK), ergo he's not doing his job properly and whether the Libyan government are bandwaggoning or not, they wouldn't be taking umbrage if Joe Public said it. This particular situation is not about snowflakes, it's about the reality of international diplomacy. He's doing an indefensibly bad job.
2
Eric9Points - on 07 Oct 2017
reply to birdie num num:

> In general, we are now so far down the PC road that saying anything outrageous or ironic, that might pluck at the truth will have you pilloried.

> These days, they even want Mark Twain’s head on a spike.

> There are some blinkered viewpoints about other’s viewpoints.

Quite.

We live in the age of the micro offence.

He may be an arse but not because he was blunt about the prospects of a Libyan city.
5
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to birdie num num:
You should stick to your cartoon image. He's the Foreign Secretary and being careful in what he says is important and in that he should have never been appointed to such a role (and given that he was, and hasn't behaved, should have been sacked long ago). That some idiots are making out his words are evil doesn't make what he said less damaging for someone who is supposed to be diplomatic on behalf of the UK.
Post edited at 15:41
3
krikoman - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

> We live in the age of the micro offence.

> He may be an arse but not because he was blunt about the prospects of a Libyan city.

Blunt, isn't really the word is it? He's supposed to be a diplomat, and he's supposed to represent the country, which includes me!

So when I travel to Libya, I'd like to think people might think more highly of me than, "the bloke who comes from the country that thinks dead people are a bit of a nuisance".
2
johncoxmysteriously - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to krikoman:

It'd be nice if the useless, selfish, lazy f****r could even learn how to pronounce Sirte probably.

Doing his job properly is obviously beyond him - nobody ever thought it wouldn't be (presumably that was the entire point of making him Foreign Secretary, wasn't it?) - but thirty seconds on wikipedia shouldn't be.

jcm
2
johncoxmysteriously - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why is it a casual dismissal of those who have died? It's flippant wording about a serious subject, yes, but British humour is often like that.

I may be wrong, but I suspect Libyan humour on this point is different from ours.

jcm
2
johncoxmysteriously - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

>We live in the age of the micro offence.

Not to disagree, but actually I think this particular observation would have been considered a little crass even in Castlereagh's day.

jcm
2
Ridge - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> If he was referring to the raped, tortured and mutilated body of a child of yours, still rotting in the street because their corpse had been booby trapped, would you be quite so casual?

^^^ This.

What worries me is how people can actually think what this clown said was remotely acceptable. He is a complete and utter liability.
2

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.