Boris Johnson, mayor of London, took advantage of Mitt Romney's “gaffe” regarding the London Olympics to self-aggrandize. At a concert in Hyde Park that attracted 60,000 people to celebrate the end of the Olympic Torch relay, Johnson bellowed, “There are some people coming from around the world who don't yet know if we are ready. There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!”
Johnson has always played to the crowd, changing his tune to accommodate the political vicissitudes of the British public. As a prime example of his oleaginous behavior, just take a look at his “evolution” with regard to Islam over the years.
Ironically, our story starts July 7, 2005, 24 hours after London was selected to host the 2012 Olympics. That day, a series of bombs targeting civilians were set off by four Muslim terrorists from London, killing 52 civilians and injuring more than 700.
Soon after that, Johnson wrote this:
“The Islamicists last week horribly and irrefutably asserted the supreme importance of [their] faith, overriding all worldly considerations, and it will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain. That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.
To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia – fear of Islam – seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers....
It is time that we started to insist that the Muslim Council of Great Britain, and all the preachers in all the mosques, extremist or moderate, began to acculturate themselves more closely to what we think of as British values.”
So at the time when British fury at Muslims was at a record high, Johnson played along, saying Islam was incompatible with British loyalty.
Flash forward three years to a Politics Show debate in 2008, as he ran for mayor, and things had calmed down:
“The problem is people who wrench out of context quotes from the holy book of Islam, the Koran, and use it to inspire evil in men's hearts. That is a fact that few serious people would deny and we need to tackle the extremists.”
Now it was just the Islamic “extremists” who needed to be dealt with.
Flash forward one more year, to September of 2009, and Johnson was saying this:
“I urge people, particularly during Ramadan, to find out more about Islam, increase your understanding and learning, even fast for a day with your Muslim neighbour and break your fast at the local mosque. I would be very surprised if you didn't find that you share more in common than you thought.”
Mitt Romney’s comments may have hurt some feelings, but they were simply stating the facts, and Johnson, who is nothing if not a demagogue of the first order, is simply using a cheap political stunt to advance his career.