Heathcote Williams composed his ‘study in depravity’ more than three years ago, before the 2016 EU referendum, before Johnson’s careless talk condemned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to an Iranian jail cell, before the police were called to a domestic dispute at his girlfriend’s flat, before he said his hobby was making model buses out of old wine boxes. But Williams’s portrait is as true a likeness of its subject now as it was then.
Drawing on biographies by Sonia Purnell and Andrew Gimson, a great many newspaper articles, and Johnson’s own journalism and TV appearances, Williams assembles a blistering charge sheet: climate change denial, dishonesty, hypocrisy, incompetence, racism, violence, ‘remorseless self-promotion’, ‘a ruthless and often cruel ambition together with an elitism and a ferocious temper when challenged’.
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