Boris Johnson is a man of principles. We should thank Jennifer Arcuri for exposing them | Catherine Bennett

Boris Johnson is a man of principles. We should thank Jennifer Arcuri for exposing them | Catherine Bennett

The Guardian

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Are we so inured to the PM’s ways that we now just shrug at claims of grave unethical conduct?

‘I shall not say why and how I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven.” If Jennifer Arcuri’s new, extended account of her sexual adventures can’t compete for ambition or polish with the memoirs of Harriette Wilson, which caused a sensation in 1825, her recollections deserved better than to be ignored by the BBC, snubbed by the prime minister’s media supporters and only grudgingly appreciated by his critics. Was there really no political substance in this generous new evidence of behaviour so sleazy, reckless and ethically vacuous?

Maybe, as some have wearily suggested, only the very unsophisticated will still recoil from scenes like the one – detailed by Arcuri – that preceded Boris Johnson’s appearance between his wife and Princess Anne at an Olympics ceremony. “I couldn’t even find his sock.” These sort of things probably happen at the BBC the whole time. Same – yawn – with the panting mayoral requests (“Photo x”) when the lovers were apart. Given his long-advertised affectations, it’s admittedly no surprise the mayor recited Shakespeare with the much younger literature fan he was about to shag on the sofa, minutes before his wife arrived home. Though Macbeth is an unexpected choice. Which bit was it? “‘If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly’ – keep up Jennifer old girl, she’s due back any minute.”

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