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Mon Apr 26, 2021, 10:07 AM

Boris Johnson said bodies 'could pile high' during lockdown discussion

Prime Minister Boris Johnson did make remarks suggesting that "bodies could pile high" during a heated discussion about lockdown in Downing Street in the autumn, the BBC has been told.

On Monday, the Daily Mail reported that Mr Johnson had said "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" rather than order a third lockdown.

The PM denied making the remarks, adding that lockdowns had worked.
...
The comments are said to have been made at the end of October when England went into its second lockdown following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says, at the time, the prime minister was reported to have had big concerns about the implications of another lockdown on the economy and non-Covid related health issues.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56890714


The Mail story was well trailed on social media over the weekend. The BBC - and Kuenssberg (who's in the past served as a public mouthpiece for Cummings's thoughts and revelations) - belatedly giving the story legs suggests that the corporation's news arm feels it has a reliable source or sources.

I don't like giving the Mail clicks, so I went there so you don't have to unless you really want to:

Boris Johnson: 'Let the bodies pile high in their thousands'. PM's incendiary remark during fight over lockdowns is latest claim in No10 drama - amid spectacular row with Cummings

* Claims that Boris Johnson said he would rather ‘bodies pile high in their thousands’ than order a third lockdown
* Allegedly came after Michael Gove warned soldiers needed to guard hospitals
* Downing Street has strongly denied that the Prime Minister made the comment

...
It allegedly came after Michael Gove warned Mr Johnson that soldiers would be needed to guard hospitals overrun with Covid victims.

He agreed to fresh restrictions but his frustration is said to have boiled over after the crucial meeting at No 10 in October. ‘No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!’ he is alleged to have raged.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9510133/Boris-Johnson-said-bodies-pile-high-order-lockdown-sources-claim.html


The reports of Johnson's intemperate outburst are lent some credence by his "Fuck business!" declaration in 2018, in the hurly-burly of the post-Brexit vote clusterfuck.

Cummings is obviously in bitter arse-covering mode, seeking to distance himself from Johnson and seedy goings-on in the Brexit campaign and government after being displaced from the inner crony clique in government late last year. The Mail, in the past a happy warrior cheerleader for Johnson and the Tory agenda, seems to have it in for Johnson at the moment, and it's not stretching the bounds of plausibility to conclude that Johnson's seen (by specifically whom I couldn't hazard a guess) as having served his purpose and is becoming more of a liability by the day, so the Teflon's wearing thin.

Gove's low public profile in recent months is also noteworthy, and given past bad blood between him and Johnson, Gove's past ties to Cummings, and Gove's thinly disguised ambitions, it's not a stretch to sense his grubby paws at work behind the scenes. I find it hard to cast Gove as some sort of Machiavelli in his own right, so I'm left wondering who's manipulating his strings (other than his equally, or even more, ambitious wife, the fragrant, frothy Mail columnist Sarah Vine).

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Response to Emrys (Original post)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 10:30 AM

1. Seems to me that Johnson and the Royals are set

on destroying the "United" Kingdom, and the British Commonwealth.

Within 5 years Scotland will have left, or be leaving. Northern Ireland will be standing at the door with its bags packed. Many of the remaining Commonwealth nations will decide that after the Elizabeth is gone, they have no desire to deface their stamps and currency with her successor.

It did NOT have to happen this way, but racist, fiscally irresponsible, heartless, and avaricious troglodytes, elected by the reactionary plurality of the populace, decided that is how it had to be.

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Response to Emrys (Original post)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 02:08 PM

2. The Daily Mail is not a reliable news source. But then that doesn't mean they're wrong

here. There's reports on The Guardian regarding governmental spokespersons calling
this "allegations" and "gossip" and so far there's no hard evidence like video or audio
to substantiate any of this. I'll be following this with interest since it does fit the people
who brought the world such "success" in both Brexit and the Covid Response.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 02:20 PM

3. The BBC tends to be very conservative in its coverage of such stories.

In fact, it tends to carry water for Johnson and the Tories, and not cover embarrassing revelations.

If this had just been a Mail story, I wouldn't have posted it. The fact the BBC has chosen to cover it and claims to have sources adds credibility.

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Response to Emrys (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 02:35 PM

4. Of course The BBC receives its funding from the government. That's why I referred to

Last edited Mon Apr 26, 2021, 03:11 PM - Edit history (1)

The Guardian since I find it more credible. In the end it'll be interesting to see how this
and the whole mess turns out. I'm so glad we have a Joe Biden Presidency/government
here in The States. I hope my real cousins in Sussex can achieve a similar result.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 02:54 PM

5. The Guardian has nothing so far except the all too predictable denials from government sources.

The BBC report also quotes such denials, but it's probably of some interest that the subhead on the story now reads (all italics mine):

"Boris Johnson suggested that "bodies could pile high" during a heated discussion in No 10 in the autumn about lockdown, sources familiar with the conversation have told the BBC."

rather than the wording it carried when I first posted it:

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson did make remarks suggesting that "bodies could pile high" during a heated discussion about lockdown in Downing Street in the autumn, the BBC has been told."

That new wording sounds somewhat firmer and implies there's more than one source in corroboration.

Expecting there to be video confirmation is setting an extremely high bar as meetings in Downing Street don't take place under those conditions. There's also unlikely to be a recording for similar reasons, so all we have is the usual "sources".

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Response to Emrys (Reply #5)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 03:19 PM

6. That's interesting and I appreciate and trust your input since you're there on the ground,

so to speak. I must admit I have a natural bias against all things Tory so I may
not be an honest broker. Here in The States we place high value on video and
audio recordings since that's what we do oh so well. I certainly hope that this
and all associated problems end to the betterment of all.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 04:10 PM

7. Well, I'm hundreds of miles from Westminster!

I wouldn't pretend to have any great insight into what's going on down there.

You're quite right to be sceptical - in the OP, I tried to skim over some of the briefing and counter-briefing from "sources" that's become too much part of our politics in recent decades.

The overall picture seems to be that some of the tame media are finally - for whatever reason - not cheerleading slavishly for Johnson any more. Quite why that is, we can only speculate.

The stories of relatively minor government scandals are mounting to the extent that there may be some hope that the more major scandals may get some decent coverage and concerted public attention. I don't think anyone's pretending that the demise of Johnson would cure all the country's ills, though.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 05:06 PM

9. The Guardian now has some analysis of the claims in its liveblog:

Why evidence suggests Johnson did say thousands of deaths would be better than third lockdown

It is all very well reporting that Boris Johnson said at a meeting in October, as he reluctantly ordered the second lockdown, that he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown, but is it actually true? Here is an assessment of the Daily Mail story taking into account the relevant factors.

How credible is the reporter?

The story was written by Simon Walters, who has been a political journalist since the 1980s and who is now assistant editor at the Daily Mail. For almost 20 years he was political editor at the Mail on Sunday. No one would describe Walters as a neutral journalist, but he is regarded by colleagues as an outstanding story-getter (he has won four British Press Awards) and the general lobby view is that, if Walters has written a story, it would be wise to take it seriously.

How credible is the source?

Recently Walters broke a series of stories about Boris Johnson wanting Tory donors to pay for the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat. It is widely assumed that these came wholly or partly from Dominic Cummings, who is engaged in a vendetta against Carrie Symonds, the PM’s fiancee and the person held responsible for refurbishment being so expensive, and today’s story also looks like a Cummings operation.
...

Are the denials credible?

As of now, no. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary said this morning that the story has been “categorically denied by practically everyone”. But it hasn’t - at least, on the record. That may change as the day goes on.

Overall verdict

For all these reasons, the claim that Johnson made this remark at a meeting in October is extremely plausible. And it is probably more damaging to Johnson than other claims about the consequences of his lockdown decision making.

The one qualification to this would be that, because Johnson does have a such a well-established reputation for saying outlandish and provocative things, some readers will conclude he probably didn’t mean it.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2021/apr/26/uk-covid-live-news-boris-johnson-bodies-pile-high-lockdown-coronavirus?page=with:block-60868b0d8f08505668d9b9ed#block-60868b0d8f08505668d9b9ed

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Response to Emrys (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 05:12 PM

10. I'm sure glad you and I are on the same side. I have to think back when the tabloids there

were breaking into everyone's cell phone and raising hell and wound up paying
a big price for that. It's time to bring The Big Price to The Sorry Tories.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 05:26 PM

11. I think we're definitely on the same side.

There's a grim irony that a government that's thrived on anonymous briefing to the media is now squirming because of ... anonymous briefing to the media.

It was the first headline of tonight's main BBC News broadcast. The Tories' spin doctors in their panic have forgotten that each denial reinforces the allegation in the public's attention. What was that supposed LBJ quote? - "I just want to hear him deny it."

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Response to Emrys (Original post)

Mon Apr 26, 2021, 04:38 PM

8. Some corroboration from ITV News's Robert Peston: there may be at least three sources

To be clear, Downing Street has issued a straight denial that the prime minister ranted in that extreme way about how there would never be a third lockdown (which of course there has been).

That said, I am told he shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown "in a rage". The doors to the Cabinet room and outer office were allegedly open and supposedly a number of people heard.

I am bothering to repeat this assertion about what the prime minister said because two eyewitnesses - or perhaps I should say "ear witnesses" - have corroborated the Daily Mail's account to me.

Also these sources insist they did not brief the Mail, so that suggests there are three sources.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-04-26/robert-peston-boris-johnson-did-make-bodies-pile-high-in-their-thousands-comment


Peston, like Kuenssberg, is often criticized for being a government stenographer, so his chiming in in these terms is interesting.

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Response to Emrys (Original post)

Tue Apr 27, 2021, 02:30 AM

12. Drowning Pool sue Boris Johnson for ripping off "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor"

https://newsthump.com/2021/04/26/drowning-pool-sue-boris-johnson-for-ripping-off-let-the-bodies-hit-the-floor/

Boris Johnson is facing a lawsuit from early noughties rock band, Drowning Pool.

Following revelations that the Prime Minister may have said “let the bodies pile high” when asked what he thought about a third lockdown, lawyers for the band leapt into action “My clients never thought that their little ditty would form any part of British government policy, but here we are.”

“We are asking the Prime Minister of Great Britain to cease and desist all allusions to letting bodies hit the floor, pile high or to basically do anything at all.”

“I must say, Mr. Johnson is keeping me terribly busy on behalf of my early noughties, nu-metal clients. I am filing similar lawsuits on behalf of Limp Bizkit after the Prime Minister suggested the economy must “keep on rolling”.”

“Furthermore, Disturbed are suing as they feel the early Conservative policy of herd immunity is basically the opening verse of “Down with the Sickness” and Spineshank are confident that the Prime Minister has used the phrase “New Disease” a number of times without their prior consent.”


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