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Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London on July 11. Photo: Reuters

LettersScandal-plagued Boris Johnson leaving as a lying failure of a prime minister

  • Readers discuss the latest scandal around Boris Johnson’s Tories, the health of Guo Feixiong, the lack of leadership in the US and Nato bullying Russia
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A British prime minister has fallen from grace in another sordid chapter of sexual misconduct that engulfed the Tory leadership. What brought down Boris Johnson was a series of scandals, the last straw being his denial of the allegations of sexual misconduct against a senior Conservative Party member.

Johnson thought it could be brushed under the carpet in the time-honoured English manner, but he made the mistake of lying to the House of Commons. It was an open secret that former Conservative Party deputy chief whip Chris Pincher was a serial groper and sex predator.

When it came to light that Johnson was aware as far back as 2019 of the complaints but still appointed him to his post, the resignations of government ministers mounted and Johnson’s days in office were numbered.

Max Hastings, Johnson’s former boss when he was a journalist at The Daily Telegraph, described him as a “gold-medal egomaniac” and “a man of remarkable gifts, flawed by an absence of conscience, principle or scruple”.


Boris Johnson’s rise to power and what led to his downfall as UK prime minister

Boris Johnson’s rise to power and what led to his downfall as UK prime minister
History will remember Johnson as a failure and a liar. His tenure as foreign secretary was a disaster, remembered for his cruel comment about Libyan deaths during the country’s civil war.

But at least in the UK, politicians are shown the door for their wrongdoings, unlike South Africa, where lawbreakers are elevated to demigods.

Farouk Araie, Benoni, South Africa

Guo Feixiong deserving of mercy

Chinese dissident Guo Feixiong is on a hunger strike in a Guangzhou detention centre, his sister Yang Maoping told Radio Free Asia last week. Guo – a human rights lawyer whose real name is Yang Maodong but is better known by his pen name – was stopped from visiting his dying wife, Zhang Qing, in the United States. Guo’s sister is deeply worried about her brother’s health.

In China, prison sentences too often turn out to be death sentences. Should Guo not be allowed a medical parole to grieve the death of his wife and be reunited with his children in the US? Should he not have access to urgently needed medical treatment overseas? He does not deserve to die in prison.

Brian Stuckey, Denver, Colorado

US in dire need of stronger leadership

Democrats in the US face many problems, including rising inflation, high petrol prices, Supreme Court decisions, the war in Ukraine, gun control, the slow take-up of Covid-19 vaccines and high prescription drug prices. The issue with the Democrats is that they promise much but fail to fully deliver.
On the other hand, the Republicans – who are still under the influence of former president Donald Trump – continue with lies, misinformation and “ alternative facts”, thereby creating a politically and emotionally divided nation. Clearly, they favour a dictatorship over a democracy. As an independent voter, I sincerely hope Trump’s backers wake up and vote these miscreants out of office.

Both parties need to come up with programmes to help Americans who are hurting because of weak leadership. I wish US President Joe Biden good health for the rest of his term. Otherwise, the consequences could be disastrous.

Herb Stark, North Carolina, US

Warmongering Nato bullying innocent Russia

I have never seen a more divisive military alliance than Nato. As an extension of US foreign policy, it is encroaching steadily towards the western border of Russia despite protestations from Moscow.

Whenever Russia draws attention to this behaviour, Nato says it is without merit because Nato is peaceful. It wants everyone in Russia’s neighbourhood to become members of Nato. Where’s their benign intention here?

The US is dividing the world into blocs, curtailing globalisation as it was meant to be. Maybe the answer is an aggressive enlargement of BRICS membership to offset the damage to globalisation inflicted by Washington.

Lawrence Makua, Polokwane, South Africa