BORIS JOHNSON was accused of talking about human beings like “dogs” by former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in 2013, unearthed reports reveal.
Less than three weeks after leaving the intensive care unit of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work in Downing Street on Monday. This week and the next are particularly crucial for him, as he will have to make a series of decisions that will arguably define both his premiership and the nations future. Boris Johnson has to decide when, and how, to ease the lockdown restrictions that he imposed over a month ago.
One Cabinet Minister told The Times: “Its the political calculus of life and death.
“The work is going on about how we transition from pandemic to epidemic.
“The question is how many cases of coronavirus – and deaths – are you willing to live with in exchange for reopening the economy?”
As pressure piles on on Boris Johnson, who became a father again on Wednesday when his partner Carrie Symonds gave birth to a healthy baby boy, one of his most controversial speeches has resurfaced.
In 2013, the then Mayor of London delivered the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture – staged by the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies think-tank – and used the speech to argue that tackling economic inequality was “futile” because some peoples IQ is too low for them to compete.
Boris Johnson hailed what he called the “spirit of envy”, and said inequality was “essential” for economic growth.
He also called for the creation of a new generation of grammar schools to help the brightest children from poor homes.
But he insisted he did not want the economic recovery to breed a new generation of “heartless” bankers.
Boris Johnson said: “I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth.
“Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 percent have an IQ above 130.
“The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top. And for one reason or another – boardroom greed or, as I am assured, the natural and God-given talent of boardroom inhabitants – the income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever.
“I stress I dont believe that economic equality is possible. Indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.”
Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg condemned the remarks and accused the former Mayor of treating human beings like “dogs”.
He told his LBC phone-in: “I dont agree with Boris Johnson on this.
“Much as he is a funny and engaging guy, I have to say these comments reveal a fairly unpleasant, careless elitism that somehow suggests that we should give up on a whole swath of our fellow citizens.
“To talk about us as if we are a breed of dog, a species he called it… I think the danger is if you start taking such a deterministic view of people and start saying theyve got a number attached to them, in this case an IQ number, somehow theyre not really going to rise to the top of the cornflake packet…
“That is complete anathema to everything Ive always stood for in politics, which is, yes of course, you shouldn’t aspire – and as an old-fashioned Liberal I dont aspire to a perfectly homogenous society where everyone has the same kind of outcomes but youve got to try and do more to instil greater opportunity in society.”
Downing Street refused to be drawn into the row at the time.
David Cameron‘s official spokesman said: “I don’t know whether he has read Boris’s speech but what I do know is the Prime Minister’s view about the importance of equality of opportunity.”
Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings also appears to have controversial opinions about genetics.
Mr Cummings suggested in his own writings that the NHS should cover the cost of selecting babies to have higher IQs.
In a blogpost covering his views on the future of “designer babies” published in 2014, the Brexit guru said he believed rich would-be parents would inevitably select embryos with “the highest prediction for IQ” and floated the idea that “a national health system should fund everybody to do this” to avoid an unfair advantage for the wealthy.
Experts criticised Mr Cummings theories about genetics, saying they were “unworkable, unethical and amounted to eugenics”.