Boris Johnson is the British prime minister and the world is gone mad.
Johnson has had no shortage of gaffs over the years, and a few of them have been related to sport. The worst one of all were comments he approved about the Hillsborough disaster.
We all know the circumstances around that incident, and the way the people of Liverpool were spoken about in the aftermath. They fought for years to have their names cleared, and it is only in recent times that they have finally won that battle.
An article appeared in right-wing magazine The Spectator in 2004, discussing the death of Liverpool native Ian Bigley in Iraq in 2004. It spoke of the 'victim' mentality of the people of Liverpool, and linked this back to the Hillsborough disaster.
The piece stated:
They ... see themselves, whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status, yet at the same time they wallow in it.
The deaths of more than 50 Liverpool football supporters at Hillsborough in 1989 was undeniably a greater tragedy than the single death, however horrible, of Mr Bigley; but that is no excuse for Liverpool's failure to acknowledge, even to this day, the part played in the disaster by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground that Saturday afternoon.
It also mentioned that the police were used as a 'scapegoat'.
While the article was written by Simon Heffer, Boris Johnson was editor of the magazine at the time. He would have approved the piece, and Heffer later claimed he wrote the article at Johnson's request.
During his recent campaigning for leadership of the Tory party, this article was raised many times. Today, during his first session in parliament as Prime Minister, Liverpool MP Maria Eagle asked him to apologise for the comments.
Unsurprisingly, he glossed over the issue without responding to her request.
PM refuses my request for him to apologise for his Spectator editorial repeating #Hillsborough untruths, accusing Liverpool people of wallowing in self pity. Bluster in response #NotMyPrimeMinister pic.twitter.com/KWi5HlP2Gr
— Maria Eagle MP (@meaglemp) July 25, 2019
In a previous role, the right honourable gentleman has accused my constituents of 'wallowing' in their victim status, repeated offensive and proven untruths about the cause of the Hillsborough disaster, and called Liverpool 'pity city'.
Will he now apologise from that despatch box to the people of Liverpool for the offence that he's caused?
In typical fashion, Johnson's response made little sense.