Boris Johnson, on his bike in the streets of London.
They set off for the world’s financial capital in search of a better life and ended up living on the streets and being used as an example to illustrate a eurosceptic’s ferocious attack on the euro. This is what apparently happened to a Malaga family whose case has been held up by London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson as an example of the disaster of the common currency.
The outspoken and controversial mayor referred to this unidentified family’s plight in a speech delivered at the Institute of Directors Conference last week. He used this prestigious financial forum to launch an aggressive attack on the policies of the European Monetary Union.
“I was going along the canal the other day on my bike and I came across a family from Spain,” he told the conference. “I’d never seen in all my time as mayor a Spanish family destitute and homeless in London before.”
According to statistics, of the 730 people from western European countries living rough in London last year, 62 were Spanish.
Johnson told his audience that the man he came across on his bike ride was from Malaga, could barely speak English and had worked in the construction industry.
“He had absolutely lost hope of finding anything. Unemployment there is about 40 per cent. And he’d washed up in Hackney and I felt it was a real tragedy,” said Johnson, according to a report published in the Daily Telegraph.
“The guy could barely speak English. You wouldn’t have had that ten years ago before the euro began. The politicians of Europe do not have the answer,” he added.
Johnson admitted that the family in question had every right to go and seek work in the UK but their situation, he said, “brought home the disaster of the euro”.
However despite the concern he said he felt for the Malaga family’s plight, Johnson does not appear to have done anything to try to help their situation. SUR contacted the mayor’s press office where they confirmed the story told by Boris Johnson, but stated that the City Hall did not know the identities of the people the mayor claimed he spoke to by the canal.
When consulted by SUR, the office was unable to say whether the local authority had initiated any standard procedures to improve their situation or provide shelter. Neither were they able to identify the exact spot where the Malaga family were apparently found living rough.
An unorthodox member of the BritishConservative party who has not hidden his ambitions to reach number 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson is a staunch defender of the most intense euroscepticism.
He is known for controversial measures such as banning drinking alcohol on public transport and has a reputation for being imaginative. He was a journalist before he became a politician and worked at The Times, where, in an article about the alleged homosexuality of Edward II, he invented a quote from a nonexistent historical study. He was sacked.
That lie closed the doors to journalism, but not to politics, where he has since triumphed.