Boris Johnson depicted Jews as controlling the media and being able to “fiddle” elections in a little-known 2004 novel written while he was a Tory MP, it has emerged.
The Conservative leader was branded “unfit to be prime minister” over passages from Seventy Two Virgins, which also includes numerous other questionable portrayals of ethnic minorities.
While telling the story of a fictional terror attack on Westminster Mr Johnson deploys descriptions of Kosovan Muslims as having “hook noses” and describes a mixed-race character as “half-caste”.
The now prime minister also repeatedly uses racial slurs in authorial voice, introducing a group of characters as “pikeys”, an ethnic slur for travellers, and another as a “Chinaman”.
The context of the passage regarding Jews is a part of the story in which all the countries of the world are made to vote country-by-country on whether the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay should be released.
Describing the situation, Mr Johnson wrote: “And the news from the voting was still bad for America, though not as bad as it had seemed at first. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia were reporting almost 100 per cent insistence that the prisoners be sent home. But there were odd pockets of support for the President. He might have thought that Russia, after her humiliation in the Cold War, would take the chance to put her boot on the neck of the old adversary. But no, the Russians had their problems with Islamic terror. Maybe there was some kind of fiddling of the figures by the oligarchs who ran the TV stations (and who were mainly, as some lost no time in pointing out, of Jewish origin), but it seemed that Russia, one of the most populous countries in the world, was voting heavily for America."
The passage is just one of dozens of racially-charged and questionable parts of the novel. In a separate part introducing one of the terrorists, named Jones, Mr Johnson also appears to suggest that having “brown skin” is not compatible with being Welsh.
Mr Johnson wrote: “‘Quickly,’ said the one called Jones, coming back from the toilets. ‘The traffic wardens will be here.’ There was certainly something lilting and eastern about his accent; but if you shut your eyes and ignored his brown skin, there were tonic effects – birdlike variations in pitch – that were positively Welsh.” Notably, Jones’s ethnicity is referred to as an “Arab-type thing” by another character, a vague description that is largely unclarified by the end of the novel.
In 2016 Boris Johnson suggested that “part-Kenyan” US president Barack Obama had an “ancestral dislike” of Britain because of his ethnicity. His novel also makes repeated use of this line of thinking when discussing its ethnic minority characters.
Near the beginning of the book Mr Johnson uses an extended metaphor to depict a traffic warden working in Westminster as a “hunter-gatherer” because he is an African immigrant.
“He went down Horseferry Road, past the obelisks with their odd pineapple finials, past the bearded stone Victorians who had conquered the continent from which he came, and he, the colonial, became to hunt in the former imperial metropolis,” Mr Johnson also wrote of the character.
This theme continues in other parts of the novel. One of the main characters in the book is Roger Barlow, a bicycle-riding tussle-haired Tory MP who saves the day and who reviewers have interpreted as being a transparent cipher for Mr Johnson himself. In one bizarre racialised description of a phone call between the fictional MP and a journalist “with an Asian name”, Mr Johnson wrote:
“The reporter was a woman with an Asian name, and from the minute she introduced herself, Barlow feared her. He feared her as British soldiers on the Northwest Frontier once feared the Afghan daughters, and their knives, and their traditional knowledge of how to cut a live human being.”
Continuing, and apparently trying to approximate a stereotyped South Asian accent in eye dialect, Mr Johnson wrote: “‘I’m reely sorry,’ she said, after his initial evasions, ‘but I reely do feel you are going to be better off talking to me”.
In a separate section describing one mixed-race character’s thoughts about himself, Mr Johnson wrote: “The interesting thing about his half-caste looks, he decided, was that he didn’t look Negroid.” On another occasion Mr Johnson describes the same character as “the faintest coffee colour”.
One of the heroes of Mr Johnson’s book is a former Serbian paramilitary who Johnson introduces as having been a member of “Arkan's Tigers”, a real-life group whose commander was indicted for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing against Muslims. The character is one of the first in the book to realise the terror attack is taking place because of his instinctive distrust of Muslims, who he describes as “sneaky bastards”.
In a scene with the character, Mr Johnson wrote: “As soon as he had gasped ‘Where is the police?’ he saw their burning eyes, hook noses and hairy black eyebrows that joined in the middle. He knew who they were. They were Skiptars. They were Muslims, almost certainly from Pristina. And they knew who he was. He was a Serb.”
One recurring theme of the novel is that the terrorists carrying out the attack repeatedly get away with their attack because of political correctness and a refusal to racially profile them.
In one instance the French ambassador’s partner, described as a “Palestinian Arab” is nearly banned from the event where the terror attack takes place because of racial-profiling, but is ultimately allowed to attend after someone stands up for her – she later turns out to be a terrorist after all.
In another episode, an MP lets a group of terrorists through a locked door because he does not want to be seen as racist. On another occasion, a military sniper hesitates and misses his chance to shoot the terrorists because he is momentarily worried he might be racist.
"If these extracts from this novel are as they appear, this adds to the long list of people that Boris Johnson has insulted,” Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrats’ equalities spokesperson, told The Independent.
“The rise of anti-Jewish hatred must be condemned, wherever and whenever, and in all its forms. Boris Johnson has once again demonstrated that he is not fit to be Prime Minister.”
Approached for comment on this story, Downing Street said the issue was for the Conservative party to address. The Conservative party has been contacted for comment but has not issued a response.
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