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Sir Alan Duncan's Diaries (pt 1)Boris Johnson - A Clown

(28 Posts)
Dinahmo Mon 05-Apr-21 15:43:40

Extracts of Sir Alan Duncan's diaries are being serialised in the Daily Mail. I'm not a Mail reader but the Guardian have published some extracts, which make interesting reading. I'm showing the first below.

"Boris Johnson’s former deputy at the Foreign Office has described him as an “embarrassing buffoon” in a new book.

Sir Alan Duncan, the MP for Rutland and Melton from 1992 until the last election, said the prime minister was “a clown, a self-centred ego, an embarrassing buffoon, with an untidy mind and sub-zero diplomatic judgment”.

“He is an international stain on our reputation,” Duncan added, in diaries that have been serialised in the Daily Mail.

The diaries, made into a book titled The Thick of It, cover his final four years in parliament during Brexit and Johnson’s move to Downing Street. Duncan served on the Conservative frontbenches for 18 years and was a former minister for international development.

In the diaries, Duncan also quotes the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s criticism of Johnson. In an entry on 29 March 2017, Duncan wrote that he had run into Kwarteng in New Palace Yard in Westminster.

“He says Boris doesn’t appreciate that diplomacy is not about having nice conversations with your friends; it’s about how you engage with those who are awkward,” he wrote."

Later, after Johnson quit as foreign secretary in July 2018, Duncan wrote that Johnson needed publicity like a drug addict needs cocaine. He also told the Spectator in September that year that Johnson “needs a regular fix” of headlines and equates it with political power.

In an entry made in September 2017, Duncan claimed that Johnson “despises” the former prime minister Theresa May and had accused her of disloyalty.

Duncan also claimed he had had a row with Johnson over a press report about diplomats treating him as an “international joke”.
'Boris Johnson's lustre has faded': European media dissect painful Brexit talks
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Johnson is said to have asked: “Why don’t they take me seriously?” Duncan claims he replied: “Look in the f***ing mirror!”

Johnson is not the only politician to come under fire.

May is also criticised in the diaries, with Duncan noting she has an apparent lack of personality on the campaign trail, and describing her as “a frightened rabbit, a cardboard cut-out, her social skills are sub-zero”.

He calls the home secretary, Priti Patel, “a nothing person, a complete and utter nightmare, the Wicked Witch of Witham”.

"He also accuses another former prime minister, David Cameron, of being “glib”, and of making too many appointments from a “narrow” group of close associates."

Ilovecheese Mon 05-Apr-21 15:49:53

Interesting that the diaries are in the Daily Mail. Does this mean they no longer support Boris Johnson I wonder.

Dinahmo Mon 05-Apr-21 16:06:29

I was wondering that. This extract was published in the Mail on Friday but no one has mentioned the diaries on here.

Pantglas2 Mon 05-Apr-21 16:47:24

He’s not a patch on Alan Clarke is he!

lemongrove Mon 05-Apr-21 19:14:22

So, he didn’t like Boris then?🤣

lemongrove Mon 05-Apr-21 19:16:10

Pantglas... now you’re talking! Alan Clarke 😱😄 his life was certainly ‘interesting’ wasn’t it?

MaizieD Mon 05-Apr-21 19:27:00

Alan Clarke. Another serial sh*gger as I recall...

Classy lot, those tories...

Pantglas2 Mon 05-Apr-21 19:49:48

I agree MaizieD but his diaries really were well written, witty and entertaining (the apple didn’t fall far from the tree) whereas Duncan’s seem petty and stodgy!

M0nica Mon 05-Apr-21 20:22:57

The one thing these diaries have revealed is what a nasty piece of work Alan Duncan is.

Do you think he deliberately wrote his diaries with publication in mind? I am sure all this concentrated nastiness is earning him a big load of dosh.

Some posters surprise that the DM would publish diaries as excoriating as it is about Conservative MPs just shows how little those who continually slag the DM off actually read the paper or know anything about it.

It is nearly 3 years since that extreme right winger Paul Dacre ceased editing the Mail and since he left the current editor has moved the paper significantly towards the political centre and has been at times quite critical of the Conservative government.

Still hating the Daily Mail is a great trope for the left to rally round and they are certainly not going to let the fact that the DM is no longer what they liked to think it was, get in their way

MaizieD Mon 05-Apr-21 21:12:01

Goodness, you do sound indignant, MOnica.

They're ALL nasty pieces of work, from the PM downwards. I'm sure you don't need a rehearsal of their individual nastinesses. Duncan is just one among many.

And who, on this thread, has said anything about 'hating the Daily Mail'?

Dinahmo Mon 05-Apr-21 22:56:09

MaizieD It's often surprising how people read things that haven't been written.

Mamardoit Tue 06-Apr-21 07:06:09

Well he's got to do something to make a crust hasn't he.

I'm sure Sir Alan would have hoped to have his nose in the EU trough by now. All those lovely expenses he's missing out on. Sour grapes maybe.

kittylester Tue 06-Apr-21 08:04:12

I'm slightly bewildered why extracts from a diary are acceptable in the Guardian but not from the Mail.

Dinahmo MaizieD, Threads are not isolated and we know how nasty left leaning people can be about Daily Mail readers from other postings so please don't be so disingenuous.

MaizieD Tue 06-Apr-21 08:15:53

Where I live now the locals would say that MOnica was 'working herself* in her post... 😀

M0nica Tue 06-Apr-21 09:11:10

Not remotely indignant, just deeply cynical.

I read the Daily Mail and at the moment the i. In the past I have read the Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph. I read The Independent from Day 1 until its demise.

DH beleives strongly that one should always read at least one newspaper you profoundly disagree with. So we do.

Oscar Wilde said, of diaries^“One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” I quite agree - and a newspaper fills this role as well as any.

BigBertha1 Tue 06-Apr-21 09:56:41

We lived in Alan Duncan's constituency he was famous for never visiting - well only the posh part.

Callistemon Tue 06-Apr-21 10:44:55

For those who are so vehemently anti Tory and don't believe a word any of them say, why would you believe a word that Alan Duncan says?
And reproduce them with such glee?

I did not vote Tory btw, confidently predicted on GN that Boris would never become PM and am not partisan.

Just confused

I'm slightly bewildered why extracts from a diary are acceptable in the Guardian but not from the Mail.

kittylester grin
Somewhere in between The Mail and The Guardian, sensationalist lies transformed themselves into reliable truths!

Dinahmo Tue 06-Apr-21 11:04:06


I'm slightly bewildered why extracts from a diary are acceptable in the Guardian but not from the Mail.

Dinahmo MaizieD, Threads are not isolated and we know how nasty left leaning people can be about Daily Mail readers from other postings so please don't be so disingenuous.

I have been critical of the DM in the past and no doubt will be again in the future. However, in this instance, my quote is from the Guardian, who printed the extracts from the diaries serialised in the DM. Since I rarely read the DM, quoting the Guardian seems to be the next best thing - for all those who don't read either the Guardian or the DM.

M0nica Tue 06-Apr-21 11:11:42

I read the Daily Mail, as I often admit and I have never ever voted for the Conservatives, or Labour for that matter.

At one point I enjoyed reading the Guardian, but in recent years it has become so sanctimonious and humourless. Even its cartoon strips are so heavily laden with leftwing right-on-ness, they could hold their heads up high on any student newspaper.

Give me the unpolotical, just plain amusing( most of the time) cartoons in the DM any day.

Ilovecheese Tue 06-Apr-21 11:20:36

MOnica That is an interesting post of yours about the change in the editorship and the different political position of the Daily Mail in recent years. I was surprised to see these diaries being published in the Daily Mail, and wondered, as I said, whether they were not particularly supportive of Boris Johnson. I don't read the Daily Mail (apart from Liz Jones Diary) so didn't realise they have changed their political position. I do think though, that your post would have been just as interesting if it had been a little less aggressive towards left wing people.

MaizieD Tue 06-Apr-21 12:37:48

Will this trigger MOnica?

Geordie Greg has been DM editor for about 2 years.

GillT57 Tue 06-Apr-21 13:24:40

Irrespective of the petty comments about who does or doesn't admit to reading the dreaded DM, and all those trying to kill the messenger with comments about Alan Duncan, the point remains that he considers Johnson unfit for office, and he is not the only one. Before he managed to fool people and get selected, Johnson's previous employers and colleagues were queueing up to tell everyone just how unsuitable he was. I have said this before, but this man's unsuitability is not a political issue for me, I would be just as concerned were he a Labour PM. He is a complete moral vacuum, a liar, a fraud, a cheat and lazy and I am seriously concerned about the number of people who are prepared to overlook his very obvious faults just because he spouts their political beliefs. It totally baffles me.

M0nica Tue 06-Apr-21 14:09:06

I have no idea who the editor of the DM is, even though I read it most days. I do know that the previous one was Paul Dacre and the paper improved after he left.

I recently read a review of the 42 Prime Ministers this country has had. Almost all those considered the most successfull were deeply flawed from Churchill, Lloyd-George, Disraeli, Palmerston, to name but a few.

Those of impeccable probity like George Brown or Sir Alec Douglas Home seem to disappear without trace

MaizieD Tue 06-Apr-21 14:17:16

As I recall, George Brown was never PM, but was a Foreign Secretary with a penchant for being 'tired and emotional'.

Do you mean Gordon Brown, MOnica?

And I hope that you are in no way equating Johnson with the PMs you mentioned. I would not consider him to be 'successful' if it means leading the country with any degree of competence.

Dinahmo Tue 06-Apr-21 14:50:05

The following s taken from a piece in The Critic, publish May 2020 with Jim Hacker's views on the different types of newspaper readers

"Yet events happen with frightening speed, and the media have sometimes struggled to keep up with developments in a satisfying or authoritative fashion. For decades, the print newspaper was the main way in which the average Englishman read his news, and his choice of which paper to read influenced his politics and worldview. As Jim Hacker put it in Yes, Prime Minister, “The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.” When asked by Sir Humphrey about the role that the Sun plays, the PM’s private secretary Bernard responds “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits" "