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Boris Johnson published a poem joking about the 'extermination' of the 'verminous' Scottish people - It described Scots as "tartan dwarves" who were "polluting our stock" and suggested that the country should be turned into a "ghetto" with the inhabitants submitted for "extermination."

" The Scotch – what a verminous race!"; "It’s time Hadrian’s Wall was refortified, to pen them in a ghetto on the other ...

"The Scotch – what a verminous race!"; "It’s time Hadrian’s Wall was refortified, to pen them in a ghetto on the other side"; "The nation deserves not merely isolation, but comprehensive extermination".
Those were some of the lines from a poem published in The Spectator in 2004 which has been recirculating on the web over the past week – but what was Boris Johnson's role in relation to them?
Some of those who have been sharing the quotations online have labelled them as being direct from the pen of the Tory leadership frontrunner ... which isn't quite right. But he certainly approved them

The quotes come from a "satirical" poem by James Michie, titled "Friendly Fire".
It was published in The Spectator magazine in 2004 – and Johnson was editor of the publication at the time.
The full poem reads:
The Scotch – what a verminous race!
Canny, pushy, chippy, they’re all over the place, Battening off us with false bonhomie, Polluting our stock, undermining our economy.
Down with sandy hair and knobbly knees!
Suppress the tartan dwarves and the Wee Frees!
Ban the kilt, the skean-dhu and the sporran
As provocatively, offensively foreign!
It’s time Hadrian’s Wall was refortified
To pen them in a ghetto on the other side.
I would go further. The nation
Deserves not merely isolation
But comprehensive extermination.
We must not flinch from a solution.
(I await legal prosecution.)
The poem is not available to view on The Spectator's website.
It wasn't the only piece published under Johnson’s editorship that attracted controversy that year.
Also in 2004, a leader column in The Spectator with an unspecified author – rumoured not to be Johnson, but under his direction – attacked Liverpudlians.
It criticised Liverpool's alleged "victim status", coming in the wake of criticism in the city of Tony Blair after the murder by terrorists of Ken Bigley in Iraq. It also cites the Hillsborough tragedy, and claims "drunken fans" might have been to blame for it – echoing the debunked claim by The Sun which it has since been forced to apologise for.
The piece read: "The extreme reaction to Mr Bigley’s murder is fed by the fact that he was a Liverpudlian. Liverpool is a handsome city with a tribal sense of community. A combination of economic misfortune — its docks were, fundamentally, on the wrong side of England when Britain entered what is now the European Union — and an excessive predilection for welfarism have created a peculiar, and deeply unattractive, psyche among many Liverpudlians.
"They see themselves whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status; yet at the same time they wallow in it. Part of this flawed psychological state is that they cannot accept that they might have made any contribution to their misfortunes, but seek rather to blame someone else for it, thereby deepening their sense of shared tribal grievance against the rest of society.

"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. The police became a convenient scapegoat, and the Sun newspaper a whipping-boy for daring, albeit in a tasteless fashion, to hint at the wider causes of the incident."

Asked later about the article, Johnson said: "I think the article was too trenchantly expressed but we were trying to make a point about sentimentality. It's a kick in the pants for me."

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