As our esteemed foreign secretary was heading to Gambia and Ghana yesterday, Political Scrapbook noted that he had earlier written a highly questionable article with his views on Africa.
It turned out that journalists in Gambia were also interested in knowing whether Boris Johnson still held those views.
This is what Boris Johnson wrote in 2002 in the Spectator:
The continent may be a blot, but it is not a blot upon our conscience. The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more. […]
The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.
The Guardian reported late last night that in fact the foreign secretary refused to answer questions on that article.
Boris Johnson has refused to answer questions about his views on colonialism on his first trip to Africa as British foreign secretary. […]
But at a press conference on Tuesday, the foreign secretary’s press team prevented Gambian journalists from asking questions about this, saying beforehand that their questions were “too aggressive” and “insulting”.
Johnson took just two questions from Gambian journalists, presumably because any more would embarrass him.
To be fair to Boris Johnson, he apologised (healf-heartedly) about the article in 2008.
But aren’t journalists from Africa allowed to ask him about it?
And we thought he was all for press freedom and free speech?