Boris Johnson accused of “deeply racist” comments after old article unearthed

An old column from Boris Johnson is kicking up a new racism storm about the Prime Minister.

The Guardian has this morning revealed an article, written by Johnson in 1999, in which he said young people had “an almost Nigerian interest in money”.


Writing for the Independent, in his capacity as editor of The Spectator, Johnson said that Tony Blair had made people feel good about getting rich.

He added: “All the young people I know – ie those under 30 – are just as avaricious as we flinty Thatcherite yuppies of the 1980s in fact, they have an almost Nigerian interest in money and gadgets of all kinds.”

Weyman Bennett, the co-convenor of Stand Up to Racism, told the Guardian that Johnson’s words were “deeply racist and offensive”.

In the past, Johnson has published a number of comments that have been deemed racist. These include:

  • Calling Africans “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
  • Comparing Muslim women wearing the burka to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.
  • Questioning the loyalty of British Muslims – insisting that the country must accept that “Islam is the problem.”

In July, the chairman of a multi billion-euro Irish bank said that Johnson’s history of “questionably racist language” would stop him from being hired in the industry. Why, then, are we considering him for the most powerful job in the country?