How Benjamin Zephaniah repeatedly misquoted Boris Johnson on BBCQT

The outrageously biased BBC is nowhere so biased as on BBC Question Time, which should be renamed Labour Time, so left wing is its Chairman, David Dimbleby and the tone of the entire programme.

Last night was no exception.  Benjamin Zephaniah misquoted and misrepresented Boris by taking his words out of context as follows.

1) He said “Boris says the Chinese have no  culture!”  What Boris actually said was: “Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase… Indeed, high Chinese culture and art are almost all imitative of western forms: Chinese concert pianists are technically brilliant, but brilliant at Schubert and Rachmaninov. Chinese ballerinas dance to the scores of Diaghilev. The number of Chinese Nobel prizes won on home turf is zero, although there are of course legions of bright Chinese trying to escape to Stanford and Caltech… It is hard to think of a single Chinese sport at the Olympics, compared with umpteen invented by Britain, including ping-pong, I’ll have you know, which originated at upper-class dinner tables and was first called whiff-whaff. The Chinese have a script so fiendishly complicated that they cannot produce a proper keyboard for it.” (Have I Got Views For You, page 277) It is neither dangerous nor racist to say Chinese culture is derivative.  That is merely an opinion.

2) Benjamin Zephaniah said Boris calls people “piccaninnies”, an absolute lie.  Boris wrote a satire on the attitude of the British Empire.  He wasn’t actually describing people as piccaninnies with watermelon smiles, he was ridiculing the people who did talk like that.  (D. Tel. article, 10/1/2002). He was using the word to make a point.

3) As for the last remark, Boris was so appalled at the atrocities happening in Africa, he wrote the Africans were more peaceable at the time of the British Empire. (The Spectator, 2/2/2002)

Zephaniah distorted the above to imply that Boris is a racist and a bigot.  If you read what he actually said, in context, that is not the case.  The researchers of BBC QT would have been aware of this, but David Dimbley made no attempt to correct the false impression created.   Mrs. Marina Johnson, Boris’s wife, is of course, half Indian.

ps. If BZ is genuinely concerned that as PM, Boris would not get along with foreign countries, let me reassure him.  Any contact between our Mayor and a foreign country has resulted in rave reviews.  France, Germany, the US, adored him as did the Brazilians.  Dare I say it, their enthusiasm for Boris far exceeded their enthusiasm for David Cameron…….

17 responses to “How Benjamin Zephaniah repeatedly misquoted Boris Johnson on BBCQT

  1. Typical dishonesty from BBC Question Time, as you rightly say a vehicle for left wing propoganda. Didn’t think they would sink this low.

  2. I heard Boris comments first-hand and I can assure you that Mr Zephaniah is 100% correct. Boris naturally “spun” his comments aftr the fact to justify them.

    • It’s odd you say you heard Boris’s comments first hand. Benjamin Zephaniah was quoting from articles written by Boris Johnson, so for you to have “heard them first hand” is not possible. You are as dishonest as Zephaniah, and as hugely dishonest a liar. Now you look like a fool as well, I am afraid.

    • Maybe you would like to tell us exactly where you heard these comments first hand? You know you are lying, Zephaniah rifled through ten year old articles written by the Mayor to twist his meaning to smear him. You are dishonest and just as bad as the appalling two faced Zephaniah.

    • Disgraceful dishonesty from this tweeter, as already explained, these opinions were expressed by Boris in articles, which make it perfectly clear what his meaning is.

      Benjamin Zephaniah has damaged his reputation because of this.


        Zephaniah agreed that Boris Johnson said that Chinese culture is derivative. That’s the point – Johnson’s opinion is factually incorrect and a slur on one of the most ancient, artistically rich cultures in history.

        Funny how you Tories cry that the BBC is left-biased, while lefties in the media (and just those I know personally) moan that it is pro-establishment and old fashioned – is it really such anathema to both groups that the BBC’s programming doesn’t conform exactly to your own political beliefs? Grow up.

      • Everyone is entitled to an opinion on any culture. That is what democracy is all about. He is giving his opinion. There is no “factual” opinion on any artistic endeavour, I am afraid. Many people think Picasso is rubbish. That doesn’t make them racist to Spanish people does it? Many,many people loathe modern art. Does that make them racists? Your remarks are illogical, and you are trying to justify the terrible behaviour of Zephaniah, which I am afraid, is indefensible. Will ignore your childish insults.

    • You heard all those comments first hand? Who are you, Boris’s PA or his Ex-wife?

  3. Cannot believe what I am reading from Are you honestly suggesting that everyone has to like every form of art and culture and it is racist not to do so? We must ALL love the Mona Lisa! we must all love abstract art…. and chinese art – or we are racist? I cannot believe anyone is so silly and ignorant as to state such ludicrous views.

  4. so cowardly won’t even give a proper name. Re. left wing bias of BBC, a BBC journalist, Peter Sissons, wrote this.

    Apology please, google man.



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  10. Benjamin Zephaniah is in fact a rather nasty racist, but as his overt racism is against white people, it is somehow okay.

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