The Dark Side of Boris Johnson
Now that he is on his way to becoming the new Prime Minister of the U.K., the staff believes this blogpost of Aug. 24, 2016, is worth reposting:
Back in April, before the Brexit vote [on June 23, 2016], Heathcote Williams wrote a merciless pamphlet, subtitled “A Study in Depravity,” about the most notorious cheerleader for the British exit from the European Union. Completely factual, replete with scores of footnotes, it was circulated to friends and then taken up by the London Review of Books, which republished it after the LRB’s bookshop customers began asking for it. Of course it did no good. The “little Englanders” — as Williams says Orwell “would doubtless have called the anxious xenophobes” — won the vote. But the pamphlet and its author, a radical dissenter in the Shelleyean mold, refused to go away. Williams’s extraordinary text, now updated and expanded, is being brought out in a stunning new edition titled Brexit Boris: From Mayor to Nightmare, featuring brilliant cartoons by Andy Davey, Peter Brookes, Martin Rowson, Steve Bell, with illustrations by Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe.
To get an idea of the new edition, have a look at these pages. (Click each of them for enlargement.)
There’s no substitute, though, for the book itself. As great as these pages look on onscreen, even as oversize enlargements, they’re still no match for the impact they make on the printed page. It’s not even close.
The cartoons by the U.K.’s top political cartoonists are gems of satirical wit. But a hundred years from now it’s the text that will be remembered for making clear what the stakes and issues were.